Packing List - 3 Winter Days in Queenstown

It’s time to cover up and bunker down for another chilly winter in Queenstown, New Zealand.  For locals, well, we know what this means and how to dress for it – our closets are literally full of seasonal clothes.  However, as a valued customer of Spinnaker Bay Apartments, we'd like to ensure that you are the most prepared you can be for your visit to Queenstown.   

Remember – packing correctly means you’ll not only stay warm, but you’ll be able to get out and about and not miss any of those cool adventures you had planned if the weather is not what you hoped for!   Queenstown has a very relaxed alpine vibe - most days, many locals have grabbed a few runs on the mountain before heading to work.  You'll see people in their ski gear all day.  Those with more structured jobs tend towards comfortable office attire - emphasising comfort!

Dining out will always depend on where you're heading, but even at our top restaurants, it is much more relaxed than what you'd find in the bigger cities.  

 Spinnaker Bay Winter Queenstown 2023

Based on a 3-day long weekend in Queenstown (quick ski trip), we've come up with the following list:

  • Layer up - Pack thermals/long underwear.  1 x thin base layer and 1 x mid layer - top and bottoms.  
  • Replace 3-4 fashion-based tops with two sweaters.
  • Make one of your bottoms a basic pair of black pants.  If the weather ‘turns,’ you’ll want a layer that will keep you warm while perceiving to be relatively clean.  Black can be matched with literally anything, so versatility is important.
  • Choose low-heeled boots as your one shoe. – Think safety and versatility here.  If we get snow, you will need a sturdy pair of shoes that offer protection against the cold and icy streets.  Heels are NOT recommended as daytime attire – keep them for dinner!
  • Bring Rubber-soled shoes.  Leather-soled shoes will slip and slide on cold icy surfaces, so choose a rubber-based shoe over leather when packing.
  • Pack warm, lightweight socks – and a few more pairs than you would normally expect.  You can layer them up or change them throughout the day if they get wet.
  • Protect your body heat and accessorize with hats, gloves, and scarves – these are essential suitcase items!
  • Choose your coat wisely.  Besides looking good, it needs to be sturdy and weatherproof.  This is your first line of defence – which means protection against wind, rain, snow and sub-zero temperatures.  What looks good may end up causing you hypothermia, so be sensible about what works.  Fashion should come second in an alpine environment!
  • Don't forget chapstick, sunscreen and lotion.  We are dry and closer to the sun – that means more sun exposure to the elements, which takes its toll!
  • Leggings are a go-to piece of clothing in Queenstown - ladies are seen out and about all day in the Lululemons.  They are another awesome and versatile piece of clothing that can be lightweight and packed small.


What doesn’t work well:

  • A bulky camera - winter clothes are bulky enough as it is, and adding a large camera can be very painful.  When moving in and out of stores, therefore unzipping and re-zipping throughout the day, the extra bulk of a camera can often become painful!
  • An umbrella - You'll be in and out of shops all day - if your hair isn't that precious, then forego the painful umbrella.

These are just guidelines, but we have lived in Queenstown a long time, and we know what works – so let us help you have the best time on your short winter stay in Queenstown.