Today we have a guest blog post from Daniel at Destinationless Travel. He’s lucky enough to call Queenstown home (one of our favourite places!) and so today he’s sharing some tips on what to do in this beautiful spot during winter.
5 Reasons to Visit Queenstown in Winter
Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. The small town of 30,000 residents is truly heaven on Earth. Located in the southern region of Otago in New Zealand’s Lake District, Queenstown is as the name suggests – fit for a Queen! And funny enough, that’s actually how it was named!
From the moment visitors fly in over Lake Wakatipu they are welcomed with breathtaking views of the Southern Alps. Once you leave the airport, Queenstown’s backyard is now your favourite playground.
The reasons to visit Queenstown are vast and its most popular season is in fact summer. However, it was Queenstown’s winter that had me on a plane with everything I owned to set up base here.
After moving here it was easy to see why everyone who visited Queenstown loved it. But, just in case you’re not sure why you should add visiting Queenstown in winter to your bucket list, I have detailed the top 5 reasons to visit Queenstown in winter, right here!
1, Mulled wine at your favourite bar
The nightlife in Queenstown in winter is something to get excited about. For most, including me, it’s not the large bars that entice me but instead sitting back in front of a fire enjoying a mulled (or hot) wine. There is even a mulled ginger beer! These delicious drinks are served at almost all the bars and come in all sorts of styles.
Many bars in town offer amazing views of the mountains so finding a spot to enjoy a mulled wine during the day or night is easy! However one of my favourite spots is the Sunset Bar. That place is beautiful!
2. The Hiking
Summer usually brings in hikers from around the world who come to witness some of the stunning hikes on offer in New Zealand. However, why limit all your hiking to summer?
With many amazing day hikes in and around Queenstown, hiking in winter is easy. Some of my favourites include Queenstown Hill, Ben Lomond Peak, Roy’s Peak, Jacks Point and the hikes up the Remarkables ski field!
Of course, in winter it is important to check weather and trail conditions before heading off but with good conditions, the many hikes around Queenstown become and whole new level of beauty in winter!
3. The Winter Scenery
Everything is more beautiful with snow – especially the mountains. I don’t think anyone can argue with that. Queenstown is surrounded by mountain peaks and when a blanket of snow lays upon them, the outcome is stunning. From sunrise to sunset the mountains put on a magnificent show. There is something about being surrounded by mountains that seem to bring joy to every day.
If you’re into photography then the winter scenery will surely get you excited! With endless photo opportunities around getting the perfect snaps is easy! With a short drive to Glenorchy or a hike up to Ben Lomond Peak, you can be truly in a winter wonderland!
4. Star Gazing and the Southern Lights
During the summer months in Queenstown, it doesn’t get dark until around 10 pm, however, in winter the days get much, much shorter. For most this is not ideal, however, with Queenstown’s remote location it is the perfect place to star gaze. With the shorter days mean you won’t have to stay up really late to view them either! By 7 pm in winter, the sky is completely dark and the stars begin to shine down.
From Queenstown, the Milky Way glows through the night sky and the stars feel like they are within an arm’s reach. Another great thing about Queenstown is that it’s south enough to view the southern lights! Yes, that’s right the southern hemisphere has its own amazing light show!
5. The Ski Season
That’s right, while the other popular ski destinations in the world melt away, New Zealand’s is just getting started. With this comes the vibrant and friendly culture the mountains bring as people from all over the world chase the powder. During this time of year, Queenstown is buzzing and a trip up to the mountains is the perfect way to spend the day. Located in the Queenstown area are three ski hills, the Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Cardrona.
With 3 amazing mountains right at your doorstep, you can hit the endless runs and enjoy some powder in July. All the fields are within driving distance of Queenstown and two of them can be seen from town!
Some Extra Bonuses
Last but not least, winter is not only less busy which means fewer lines, wait times at restaurants, and just all around craziness, but this also makes it cheaper! In the winter, there are so many food and drink specials at nearly every restaurant! But not only that, all of those adventure activities that Queenstown is known for such as bungy jumping, skydiving, or riding the jet boat, all go on sale! Winter specials are advertised throughout the streets of Queenstown and some activities go down to 50% off!
In winter, Queenstown becomes an entirely different place than in summer. The true beauty of the Southern Alps comes to life and so does this humble town. Visiting Queenstown in winter is a must, and for those who have been in summer, a new place awaits!
Daniel is an adventure enthusiast who travels the world looking for his next thrill. After just finishing 14 months traveling in Latin America, Daniel now calls Queenstown, New Zealand “home.” Daniel will be on the move again soon to explore the rest of New Zealand followed by India and Canada! Follow him on his adventures on his travel blog, Destinationless Travel or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.