A four season alpine resort renowned for its unbeatable list of activities, après-activities and magnificent natural attributes, Queenstown, New Zealand also offers an astounding range of fun, serious, artistic, sporting and cultural events which should be considered before planning a holiday in the resort.
Destination Queenstown’s website (Websites, Data & Facts) is the first stop for checking out the events that you may hate to miss. The local population, known for their sense of adventure and enthusiasm for a party don’t allow any season to pass without a fitting celebration -- or two.
THE winter party of the southern hemisphere is the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival. This not-to-be missed ten day celebration of winter includes serious ski events running alongside mad-cap races featuring teams of local people and visitors making their way from the top of Coronet Peak to the middle of town in a crazy obstacle-come-impediment race, normally sober town leaders dressing in drag for fun and shepherds lining up to race down the mountain slopes with their dogs – but without the benefit of skis.
Locals rub shoulders with visitors and celebrities at glittering night time parties, arts and fashion extravaganzas, concerts and street parties. Definitely a day and night event requiring true stamina and plenty of advance training required.
Gay Ski Week, held in the last week of August / first week of September celebrates its 8th year in 2010, running for seven days with events on and off the mountain.
Spring Loaded is a roundup of a series of events that celebrate the arrival of spring in the mountains. Traditional events include the Queenstown Jazz Festival which harmoniously welcomes nature’s rejuvenation and The Remarkables Spring Carnival where laid back and competitive activities make the most of sunny, warmer weather and soft snow at The Remarkables ski area.
Long summer days leave more time to celebrate and the Summerdaze Festival incorporates many events ranging from national level sport such as the Rugby Sevens and International one day Cricket through to community concerts and bbq’s. The Glenorchy Races is a local affair with a very special flavour. It’s held on the first Saturday of the year and is generally regarded as reflecting Glenorchy’s true colours as a wild west frontier town. New Year’s Eve is celebrated with parties’ lakeside and in the streets. The Lake Hayes A&P Show celebrates the resorts agricultural origins while the Pinot Noir Celebration brings pinot enthusiasts from around the world to the region to sample what many regard as the best of its style in the world.
In March the Gibbston Harvest Festival attracts gourmands to sample the delicacies produced by local vineyards and many fine food establishments. The family day is a celebration of the spirit of the local Gibbston community, and gives the opportunity for locals and visitors to tastes wines produced by some of the smaller boutique wineries.
Born of gold, the region focuses on its gold mining history and celebrates its heritage in the streets of Arrowtown in the golden autumn. The Arrowtown Autumn Festival provides a superb reason to get out and enjoy the slowing pace of Autumn and the magnificent colours of the season.
Held biannually at Easter is the famous Warbirds over Wanaka. This event brings together the world’s greatest collection of warplanes for a show which is simply stupendous. Organised by the Wanaka Warbird museum, Warbirds is a three-day spectacular which draws special planes and special people from all over the world to be held in 2010.
For those of a more cultural nature, the Festival of Colour is an ambitious undertaking bringing some of New Zealand’s top performers to the stage annually in late autumn in Wanaka.
Queenstown’s surrounding mountains and lakes provide the perfect venue for multisport events. There are triathlons for men, women and children offering all levels of involvement, mountain and valley traverses, peak to peak races, jetboating speed trials and marathons, mountain bike traverses, sailing classics and even horse cavalcades. The arts are well covered with the summer art schools, violin schools, intensive acting and photographic courses, a world renowned violin competition
Golf, skiing and snowboarding are all well represented on the events calendar with a range of different events at different venues. They include a range of ski and snowboard events including the Air New Zealand Southern Cup FIS Races , the New Zealand National Snowboard Association South Island Championships, Forum Young Blood Night Competition, New Zealand Masters Ski Races and the Parklife Invitational Street Jam. Queenstown arts and culture show their colours with the Summerdaze festival, the International Queenstown Jazz Festival and the Queenstown Film Festival.