Queenstown’s ski season runs from June to early October. Average winter temperatures (June-August) are between 0°C (or colder) and 8°C, with clear blue skies, frosts and snowfall. In summer, the sun rises as early as 5am and the light fades around 10pm. Summer (December-February) daytime temperatures range between 20C and 30C.
The visitor center can provide details on a vigorous program of special events held in the area throughout the year. Here's a small sampling of what you can expect.
In January, riders from all over the South Island participate in the famous Glenorchy Races, which include bareback riding and attract thousands of spectators. The Queenstown Jazz Festival (tel. 03/442-9516; www.asbjazzfest.co.nz), presents 10 days of top jazz. The Arrowtown Autumn Festival (tel. 03/442-0809; www.arrowtownautumnfestival.org.nz) runs the week after Easter. The festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009, and it features market days and street entertainment celebrating the gold-mining era. The Queenstown American Express Winter Festival (tel. 0800/337-8482; www.winterfestival.co.nz) is the perfect excuse for 9 days of unadulterated madness and mayhem in July. It features a big opening ceremony and Mardi Gras, ski events, and street entertainment, and just about anything goes. The Spring Carnival (tel. 03/442-4615; www.nzski.com), held in mid-September at the Remarkables Ski Resort, presents a feast of snow-related sports and social activities.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.