Queenstown Winter Festival already gearing up for 2020

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

After a successful 2019 event, organisers of the 45th Queenstown Winter Festival are already looking to 2020 with dates confirmed.

For four days more than 60 events entertained locals and visitors and more can be expected next year over the weekend of June 18 – 21, 2020. 

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 2019 Queenstown Winter Festival and the positive impact on the community and local businesses.

“It was a fitting event to mark the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival's 45th anniversary, and to celebrate this iconic Queenstown event, which is by Queenstown, for Queenstown, showcasing Queenstown,” said Mr Budd.

"It's been four days of fun, madcap antics and amazing live entertainment across Queenstown and our team is already starting work on planning next year's event."

Hotelier Jim Moore, general manager of Novotel Queenstown, said that "the action-packed festival creates a real drive for visitors to come to be part of the event, bringing life to town and a buzz of excitement for visitors and locals alike."

Highlights were the fireworks, stage events and hospitality events, Moore said.

According to market intelligence analysts Qrious, the 2018 festival welcomed 44,800 visitors over the four days with more than 13,000 estimated to have attended the big Real Journeys Friday Fireworks. This brought a direct economic impact of more than NZ$4.4 million to Queenstown.

Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival

Started in 1975 as an excuse for a party, the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival is now in its 46th 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 45 years since then.

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.