The Snow in May...

Does the Snow in May Actually Stay?

No. Generally not…. unfortunately! It’s a local saying, ‘The snow in May never stays,’ but as times change and the seasons present us with a new normal, we have hope that maybe this year, or possibly the next, the snow in May will actually stay!

In the meantime, though, this is what you can expect in May in Queenstown, NZ…

The Weather

Temperatures literally plummet - the average temperature during May ranges from 0°C to 10°C (32°F to 50°F), so it's important to pack warm clothes. Characterised by clear skies and often lightly snow-capped peaks, May is a spectacular time to visit and is beautiful for photography and exploring the countryside.


Yes, May is cold enough to snow, and we do normally get our first few snowfalls on the mountains, so make sure you’re prepared with gloves and beanies, thermal layers, rubber seal shoes (anti-slip), and waterproof outta layers. May is normally the month we see a shift in fashion from casually chic to warm and functional!

The Snow in May in Queenstown NZ

Busy Periods

Generally May is a quieter time to visit Queenstown, as it falls outside of the peak tourist season. This means that activities may be more affordable, and there will be fewer crowds to fight for that elusive table at xxx. However, it's important to note that some businesses and attractions may have limited hours or be closed during this time, so it's best to check beforehand.


May also means being smart about travelling.

Check the weather forecasts and your flights before heading out to the airport in case of cancellations or delays. Morning flights may be affected by icing on both the plane and the runway, so be prepared for those delays - normally, you won’t know until you arrive at the airport. So on that note, we always suggest you pack a spare battery for your phone for extended departure lounge waits!

Check with your car rental company that your rental is ‘winterised’. That means either you have winter tyres on or that chains are absolutely included in your price. On arrival, if you’ve never fitted chains before, please ask your rental company to show you how. Don’t rely on the instructions sheet. Often, in case of snowfall or black ice, you’ll be asked to chain up en route to your destination - and knowing how to fit your chains safely and securely while parked on the side of the road is the best way to avoid stress and drama!

Driving in the Snow in May in Queenstown

May does continue to be one of the most favourite months of the year - a chance to watch our golden hills become snow-capped and the excitement of winter just around the corner. We wish all of our travellers a safe journey to Queenstown, and if we can help with any enquires, please just contact us - we would love to hear from you!