Locals guide to 2017 Queenstown Winter Festival
What are locals favourite events at Queenstown Winter Festival?
The Queenstown Winter Festival is a highlight on both visitors and locals calendar. It is a time when everyone mixes together to celebrate the sort of official beginning of the ski season and all things winter. The festival runs for a week with loads of different activities and events - too many to make in one year. So here is our little local guide to the some of our favourite events.
THE DOG DERBY
One of the oldest events on the calendar and still one of the most popular. Dog owners and their pooches from local apartments to high country farms hundreds of miles away gather for the craziest of races from the top of Coronet Peak to the bottom often well fuelled on the sponsors amber nectar. First dog and partner down wins. Kids love the racket of the dogs, the forlorn look of lost owners, and the hilarious crashes.
Another ancient tradition that has seen more than its fair share of locals “bending the rules” in pursuit of community glory. Reinforced suitcases, teflon and ski wax, or any motorised additions are strictly outlawed in this race down the slopes in suitcases. This year the suitcase is matched with the first night of night skiing on Coronet Peak - another local family favourite.
It is less than 10 degrees in Lake Wakatipu as locals and visitors alike in various states of dress launch themselves off Steamer Wharf and into the icy waters. Cardboard planes, bikes and various feather suits are de rigour with prizes for best flights and costumes. This is a hilarious afternoon event for the whole family.
FIREWORKS AND PARTY
This is the one event that all of Queenstown absolutely turns out for. The big stage in Earnslaw Park hosts music and entertainment all night before a massive firework display over Queenstown Bay. Around the big stage is a large collection of local charities, teams and restaurants offering a variety of food options as well as the big beer and mulled wine tent. We love this night!
THE UNDY 500
The Undy 500 has been a Winter Festival tradition for just ever. Boys and girls in their knickers brace the balmy winter weather in Queenstown Bay for a crazy obstacle course and big prizes for Jucy Campers and Milford Sound Cruises. Trust us - it is pretty nipple out there.
The man made ice skating ring on Buttlers Green is an eternal family favourite as is the raft race where many local businesses compete in home made rafts. Also, check out the ice hockey with the local Stampede team playing the Botany Swarm. Although ice hockey is played all winter in town the games during Winter Festival are always raucous affairs and great fun.
New to this years festival and one that is definitely on our radar is carnival-like parade through town. The community is sure to get behinds this years theme of Queenstown Colour and Culture with some interesting floats and fancy dress.