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U.S.FTC GUIDELINES PLEASE NOTE: we act as an affiliate for several companies that feature on our website. In some cases we may earn a commission from referrals to those companies. For further information please refer to our Privacy and Disclaimer policies which can be found in the "US" tab.

Important Note

Unfortunately, the Queenstown Winter Festival is no more. In 2023, a decision was made to cancel the festival due to funding issues.

But don't let that stop you from visiting Queenstown. There is so much to see and do here.

The Queenstown Winter Festival has been running in Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of New Zealand since 1975.

Welcome to the 2018 Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival

The 2018 Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival is set to be the biggest and best yet!

Winter Starts Here!

The Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival - fireworks over Lake Wakatipu with the historic steamer TSS Earnslaw in the foreground

Set in and around Queenstown and the Cardrona Alpine Resort, in the stunning Southern Lakes region on New Zealand's South Island, the Winter Festival is the perfect way to experience winter in NZ.

2018 will be the 44th year of this amazing party! The Festival celebrates the beginning of winter with a jam packed 4 day programme featuring some hilarious, possibly outrageous and definitely unique Queenstown events.

Here's all the important stuff

How to get here

Accommodation tips

The festival of fun!

Explore the region

Download your festival Programme

State Highways Map

Getting Here

By Air

Queenstown Airport

Queenstown international airport takes flights from several Australian cities, including Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.

Flights to Queenstown are also available from New Zealand's major international airports, Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

Just click on the links above for more flight information.

By Road

Queenstown is located on New Zealand's South Island, around 6-7 hours drive South of Christchurch.

You can see it's location on our State Highways map.

The festival of fun!

There is plenty to get excited about as the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party, the Queenstown Winter Festival gets into it from Thursday 21st June to Sunday the 24th June 2018.

The Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival gets underway in style on Thursday 21st June with live music from noon, followed in the afternoon by the official Real Journeys welcome.

Queenstown Winter Festival Hits 90.4 Birdman 2017

Fresh local music is the focus, together with loads of hilarious comedy acts, and some longtime favorites like the  Monteith's Dog Derby and Dog Barking extravaganzas.

Up on Cardrona, the Snow Tubing and the Snow Skate Slalom are sure to warm you up, and back in Queenstown the Real Journeys Friday Fireworks display will thrill all ages.

Live music, mulled wine, and plenty of laughs are all part of this fun filled festival, celebrating all that's so great about this magic region.

Come and experience this stunning part of New Zealand. With so much to see and do, there is something for everyone, and fun times are a certainty.

The Remarkables Mountain range and Lake Wakatipu form the perfect backdrop for 4 days of excitement.

Imagine sitting by the lake and watching an awesome fireworks display. Or hit the ice at the in town ice rink.

Queenstown Winter Festival Monteith's Dog Derby

Sample Queenstown's incredible range of eateries, loaded with local and international produce. Watch the street parades, or select from a great mix of internationally acclaimed performers and home-grown acts including comedians, jazz, DJ's and lots more.

Have a game of frisbee golf, watch the ice hockey, or laugh at the antics at the dog barking competition.

Put your dancing shoes on for the SKYCITY Ball, release your inner child at the Old Mout Dodgeball Championships, or be a part of the JUCY Undy 500!

Sign up for the Hits 90.4 Birdman challenge and launch yourself off the wharf into the icy waters of Lake Wakatipu (or, just sit and watch as others do it)!

Up on the mountain you can catch loads of winter action with ski races, Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow, the Monteith's Dog Derby, and the Macpac Tour de Cardies.

With so much to choose from, you're sure to be in party mode.

Download your official programme here

You can download a PDF copy of the day by day programme by clicking here.

Queenstown Winter Festival Jucy Undy 500

Come and experience amazing Queenstown and the Southern Lakes

Since first being staged in 1975 by Queenstowner’s who thought the arrival of snow was a ‘great excuse for a party’, the Festival has evolved to forge a unique identity as New Zealand’s premier celebration of all things winter.

Now an iconic event cemented on New Zealand’s calendar, it attracts tens of thousands of party seekers and injects a whopping $50 million back into the local economy.

And I can tell you from personal experience that the Festival is a wonderful, fun event, that adds to the allure of Queenstown as a great holiday destination.

Known as New Zealand's "Adventure Capital", Queenstown is a place where you can be as "mild" or as "wild" as you want. With an almost endless variety of activities, a huge range of accommodation, jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery, and over 100 bars and restaurants, Queenstown really is a holiday heaven.

Queenstown Winter Festival Mountain Bikes On Snow

Staying in Queenstown

As one of New Zealand's premier tourist hotspots, Queenstown has a HUGE range of accommodation, with everything from camp sites to 5 star luxury lodges.

Luxury at Matakauri Lodge near Queenstown - click to read reviews

But if you are coming here for the Queenstown Winter Festival, you need to be careful where you stay.

Queenstown is a very hilly place. And some of the major hotels and apartments are located a few kilometers from the town center.

So unless you are reasonably fit, the last thing you will want to be doing after a day at the festival, is struggling back up a hillside to your accommodation.

Parking in the main town center is very limited (and is mostly pay as you use), particularly in busy times (like during the Queenstown Winter Festival).

For these reasons, we strongly recommend staying as close to the town center as possible.

We've got a dedicated Queenstown accommodation page, where you can read our tips about the best places to stay. We also tell you about the various accommodation precincts in Queenstown, so that you can get a feel for where everything is.

You can also access those all important customer reviews, search the full range of accommodation, and even make your bookings.

To visit our Queenstown accommodation page just click here.

More information

Click on the following link to learn more about the huge variety of year round Queenstown activities.

Click on the following link to to find out more about the Festival.

Or, why not include your Winter Festival visit in a skiing or snowboarding holiday.

Come and join us.

State Highways Map

Queenstown Winter Festival Top of Page

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