Four Seasons in One Town: Queenstown Throughout The Year
Queenstown Has A Season For Everyone
If there’s one thing we love about Queenstown, it’s the distinct change in seasons. While we’re currently in the midst of snowfalls, frosty starts and après-ski, things will shift dramatically when spring approaches. Queenstown boasts four vastly different seasons, each one brings something unique to see, do and enjoy.
While most visitors may think of Queenstown as either a winter or summer destination, each season in Queenstown offers its own special experience. From its position at latitude 45° south, Queenstown offers a markedly different experience depending on what time of year you visit. It’s a poignant reminder that in an environment like this, Mother Nature is running the show!
Here’s how to make the most of each unique season in Queenstown.
JUNE TO AUGUST
Wintertime is all about the snow. The town comes alive with eager skiers, snowboarders and heliskiers in search of fresh powder. With a choice of four amazing ski resorts within easy reach, Queenstown is your ultimate winter holiday destination.
But not every Queenstown visitor is a powder hound. So you will find plenty of activities and options for off-the-mountain fun during the colder months. With some of the driest and clearest days of the year, winter in Queenstown is the best time to get out and explore the breathtaking views with your camera.
But honestly, we reckon one of the best winter past times is to find a cosy fire to sit beside and enjoy a glass of the region’s world-famous Pinot Noir.
SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER
As the cold days of winter ease, spring brings us warm weather, long days and the burst of new life. Spring is a stunning time of year in Queenstown with clichés everywhere you look; newborn lambs, daffodils sprouting from green grass and dazzling displays of cherry blossoms.
The mountains will still have snow, so you should be able to catch a few more weeks of ski action. But as the days get longer and the temperature rises, spring is a great time to make the most of the outdoor activities. Explore the walking tracks, mountain hikes or cycle trails. Just watch out for rising waters as all of the winter’s snow begins to melt away.
The star of the show in spring is the stunning cherry blossoms. As they burst into new life, they put on a dazzling display of colour. On a perfect blue-sky day, the pink and white blossoms are truly striking. You can find cherry blossoms just about anywhere around Queenstown, but one of the best places to catch them is the Queenstown Gardens.
DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY
One of the big benefits of being so far south is the long and lazy days of summer. Although, with the sun not setting until around 10pm at the peak of summer, you may find yourself being anything but lazy. With pleasant daytime temperatures ranging between 20 and 30 degrees, summer is the perfect opportunity for a whole lot of fun and adventure.
There is always something happening in Queenstown during summer. The town is buzzing with visitors from all over the world, many of them embarking on hikes and backcountry expeditions. You'll find a great summer festival line-up, where you can catch live music as well as food and wine.
And of course, summer is the ideal time to indulge in Queenstown’s impressive selection of water activities. Get out on the lake for jet boating, scenic cruises or parasailing. Or take a dip in the raging rivers for white water rafting, canyoning or river surfing.
MARCH TO MAY
While autumn heralds the beginning of shorter days and colder temperatures, it is one of the most spectacular seasons of the Queenstown calendar.
Throughout the district, leaves begin to change colour and turn the hillsides an implausible array of orange, brown, yellow and gold. The changing of the trees is breathtakingly beautiful and one of Queenstown’s most famous shows.
One of the best spots to view the spectacle is Arrowtown. The hillsides are covered in deciduous trees, which put on a final flourish of colour as they shed their leaves for the chilly winter ahead.
While it’s difficult to predict exactly when the trees will turn, it is roughly around the first week of April for two to three weeks. Locations like Lake Wanaka and McKenzie Country are an excellent place to catch such the sight. But it is Arrowtown that draws the biggest crowds for what is one of nature's most beautiful shows.