Top 7 Queenstown Winter Activities

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Our guide to the must try winter activities In Queenstown

There's no short supply of winter activities to experience in Queenstown.  The influx of skiiers and snowboarders create a real buzz around the town.  With the breathtaking alpine scenery, four ski resorts within short driving distance and cracking nightlife, Queenstown is the place to be on and off the slopes from June to October.

Given the mind boggling choice of activities to experience, we've picked our 'top 7 winter activities in Queenstown' to try.  The standard Skiing and Snowboarding activities are of course the obvious choices, but we've left them out to offer more inspiration!

1. Heli-Skiing

Those that can handle themselves on the ski slopes, can locate and enjoy the best ski slopes away from the resorts.  A number of Heli-Skiing operators provide professional climbers, skiers and snowboarders that lend their local knowledge and expert advice to tackle the region’s best mountain runs.  Although ideally suited to the advanced skier, you don’t have to the best skills as there is ski terrain to suit everyone from Intermediate and up. 

Harris Mountains HeliSki offer Heli-skiing around Queenstown, Wanaka and Mount Cook/Aoraki.  Exclusive access to hundreds of ski runs.  Take advantage not just of the unique terrain and expert guidance, but also the fantastic gourmet lunches, all catered for, up in your snow-covered, outdoor dining room.

2. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is suitable for all ages and walking abilities.  Once you strap on your hi-tech snowshoes, you’ll be able to glide effortlessly across the snow.  That means you can explore areas including glaciers, ice caves, glaciers and the incredibly pretty back country of this scenic area.

NZ Snowshoe have a team of experienced guides will take you to places only accessible via snowshoeing.  Operating in small groups, they'll educate you with fascinating facts and about the icy world around you and can be adapted for all terrains, fitness and abilities.

3. The Winter Festival

A great time to arrive in Queenstown is when the Winter Festival is on.  Attracting over 45,000 people to the 10 day event, it's the biggest winter party in the southern hemisphere!

The opening night kicks off on a Friday with a huge fireworks display and live music that marks the start of the festival.
The festival programme differs each year, but you can expect a Mardis Gras parade, plenty of live music, dining events, comedy shows and heaps of fun competitions on the slopes.  You can also have a skate on an ice rink smack in the middle of town in the 'village green'.  Check out our ‘Winter Festival Guide’ for more details.

4. Hot Pools

After a long day on the slopes, why not ease yourself into a hot pool whilst enjoying a spectacular view.  This is one activity that requires no effort.   From the comfort of your private hot tub, gaze out at uninterrupted views across the Shotover Canyon.  The Cedar Hot Tubs are a welcoming 39.8C during the winter, with room for up to four adults. 

Onsen Hot Pools is located just outside of town at Arthurs Point, but there is even complimentary transport to and from Queenstown.

5. Night Skiing

Extend your day’s skiing with a ski session under the spotlights.  Coronet Peak Resort offers night-time skiing until 9.00pm, 3 times a week Wednesday, Friday and Saturday).  Take an extra layer of clothing and hit the slopes under the stars.  It’s also a chance to grab a pizza and beer by a fire and listen to the DJ’s on hand, spinning the music.  

6. Helicopter Flight With Snow Landing

Gain unrivalled views of the Queenstown scenery from high above with a helicopter flight.  The Queenstown based trips will let you marvel at the stunning Southern Alps and include a snow landing - even in summer!  Longer trips fly over icy glaciers, lush forest and the incredible Milford Sound.  There are also options to combine with a boat cruise on Milford Sound foe the ultimate morning or afternoon.

The Helicopter Line has a fleet consists predominantly of AS350 Squirrels. They are perfectly suited to scenic flights, the open plan cabin allowing for excellent views from all seats.

7. The Skyline Gondola & Ziptrek

It’s only a five minute walk from the town centre to the ‘you can’t fail to notice’ attraction.  The Skyline Gondola is a combo of activities 400 metres above the town.  Primarily, the views are the reason to ascend to the summit.  But there’s also the family friendly luge, café and restaurant, bike park, paragliding, Maori cultural performances and Stargazing.

Another great reason is to visit Ziptrek Ecotours,  New Zealand's number one ziplining guided tour featuring the steepest tree to tree zipline in the world.  Situated close to the top gondola station, this is a guided tour with two experienced guides that help with your launch and arrival at each tree deck.  Everything is taken care of, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.