Your Guide To A Queenstown Winter Holiday

How to Make The Most of Your Winter Holiday in Queenstown

A few weeks ago, Queenstown had its first dump of snow. What resulted was not only a flurry of white stuff on the mountains but also a flurry of excitement. The town is now abuzz with talk of snowfalls, ski passes and suitable excuses for blagging work on a powder day.

So, if you’re heading to Queenstown for a ski holiday this winter, things are looking good. And if the white stuff doesn’t excite you, you're still in for an amazing time. Queenstown is a stunning destination throughout the winter months with nature putting on an unforgettable show. Here's what to expect if you’re planning to visit Queenstown this winter.


  • Winter in New Zealand is June, July and August. Queenstown experiences cold temperatures right through to October and it has been known to snow in December.
  • The first snowfalls (on-mountain) will start around May. Ski fields in Queenstown and Wanaka are open mid- June to October.
  • Daytime winter temperatures in Queenstown range from 0°C to 8°C (32°F – 47°F)
  • Generally, winter days offer clear, blue skies with very cold, frosty mornings.


Are you ski-fit? Are you planning on making a mad dash to the gym to get your ski legs ready? Go right ahead. But honestly, the best way to get ski-fit, it to just get skiing. Unless you’re an endless winter kind of person, there’s no real way to avoid aching quads and sore buttocks for the first few days. But just think how much fun you will have had to get those aching muscles.

Champagne start to the season


Did you know there are 25 ski fields throughout New Zealand? The majority of these are small club fields and offer an “authentic” experience (think rope tows!). If you're after a major ski resort with all the trimmings, take your pick from Mt Ruapehu in the North Island, or a range of ski fields in the South Island. These include Mt Hutt just out of Christchurch as well as Treble Cone, Cardrona, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak out of Queenstown and Wanaka. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are Queenstown’s closest ski fields.


If you ask us (and people often do), winter is one of the most spectacular times of year to visit Queenstown. The weather is settled most of the time making the crisp, clear days ideal for photography and sightseeing. The permanent snowline through the Southern Alps is around 2,100m (6890ft), but in winter, this snowline is dramatically lowered. Wherever you are throughout the lower part of the South Island, the mighty peaks are snow-covered and look spectacular against blue skies. From central Queenstown, you can take in picturesque views of snow-capped peaks framing the view from the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Make sure you have the camera ready!

Have your camera ready


The secret to keeping warm in the South Island is merino. Kiwis just can’t enough of this lightweight wool clothing. Merino provides a thin layer of warmth that also keeps moisture away from the body when exercising. So, the best way to stay warm and comfortable is to layer up. During the day, you can take off a few layers if needed and at night the layers will keep you warm with a good jacket over the top.


If there's one way to get excited about your upcoming ski holiday, it's to start religiously checking the snow conditions. And it's more fun than doing actual work. So, keep an eye on the ski field websites for the latest updates on snowfall, base snow levels as well as live snow cams.

Another website to add to your favourites is the New Zealand Transport Agency site [link:]. This is where you can stay up to date with the latest road conditions. With road closures and icy roads a common occurrence during winter, it’s important that you know what to expect before you head off. For information on the ski field access roads, you can check the specific ski field sites.

Stay warm, have fun. We’ll see you on the slopes.