Queenstown Winter Festival already gearing up for 2018

Once-a-year, visitors come together to celebrate Queenstown as one of the world’s greatest tourism destinations.

After a successful 2017 event, organisers of the 44th Queenstown Winter Festival are already looking to 2018 with dates confirmed.

For four days more than 60 events entertained locals and visitors and more can be expected next year over the weekend on June 23 – 24, 2018. 

Queenstown Winter Festival annually marks the start of winter and is timed approximately two weeks after the scheduled start to the ski season and just before the New Zealand and Australian school holidays to encourage visitors to come to Queenstown ahead of the busy season.

Destination Queenstown Chief Executive, Graham Budd, said that he is delighted with the 2017 Queenstown Winter Festival and new shortened programme.

“We are very pleased with how the new-look Queenstown Winter Festival has run, all the events went very well and it’s been great to see the local community getting behind the revamped programme too,” said Mr Budd.

Festival director Lisa Buckingham noted that some of the new events and new event formats for 2017 were highlights of the Festival in its 43rd year including the Festival Hub on Earnslaw Park with live entertainment every day featuring many acts from the lower South Island, pop-up food trucks and a bar.

Festival favourites like the annual Birdman competition and Raft Race remained on the programme and will no doubt be back to wow onlookers in the 2018 version of Queenstown Winter Festival. 

Buckingham believes that the energy generated on the streets of Queenstown by the action-packed four-day Festival vindicated organisers’ sense at the end of 2016 that the time had come to reformat the Festival.

More than 80 media were accredited to attend the Festival and their coverage of the four days across all media platforms carried word to the world that Queenstown was the place to be. 

Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival

Started in 1975 as an excuse for a party, the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival is now in its 44th year and is often touted as the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter party.

In its first year the festival featured races up the nearby mountains, great entertainment and an across-town ball with beer for adults and soda for kids. It was such fun that when the town held it again the following year, word-of-mouth drew crowds from further afield that have only ever grown over the 40 years that followed.

The Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival celebrates the start of winter like only Queenstown can, with street parties, music, comedy, family fun and madness up the mountain. 


New Zealand is a land renowned for its natural beauty, and Queenstown is without question one of the brightest jewels in its crown. Nestled deep in the Southern Alps of New Zealand’s South Island and on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is surrounded on all sides by some of the most spectacular scenery to be seen anywhere in the world.

Settled by Europeans in 1860 as a high-country farm, Queenstown is now far better known as one of the world’s première tourism destinations. With spectacular views of nearby mountains including The Remarkables mountain-range, Cecil Peak and Walter Peak, Queenstown is beautiful year-round. 

Located close to the Otago region’s six ski fields and boasting more than 200 adventure tourism activities, Queenstown is definitely the place to go if you’re looking to get the adrenaline pumping through your veins. 

As the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping, Queenstown holds a special place in adventure tourism history, and also plays host to white-water rafting, canyon swings, jet boating through narrow gorges and paragliding from mountaintops (to name just a few of the must-do activities).

If you’re feeling like something a little more relaxing however, Queenstown has an array of beautiful scenic walks, a world-class golf course, local wineries, fine dining establishments and historical attractions including the 103-year-old steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, which takes visitors on regular scenic tours of Lake Wakatipu.

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