Booking a holiday to a new region, state or country can often leave you with a long list of questions about that particular destination.
More often than not, these queries are commonplace, with many other travellers also frantically researching in a quest to find answers. Below we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions about Queenstown, New Zealand to help make your holiday planning that little bit easier.
When is best to visit Queenstown?
Queenstown is a fantastic holiday destination, boasting year round allure that makes it a great place to travel to no matter the season. During the warmer months you’ll find it to be an adventurer’s playground with some of the best jet boating, rafting and hiking experiences on offer. Opt to make the trip in winter however and you’ll be greeted with a number of other like-minded tourists looking to make the most of the world-class skiing and snowboarding conditions. Winter in Queenstown is when the fun really begins to happen – there’s a reason why Queenstown is regarded as one of the best snow sports destinations in the Southern Hemisphere!
In terms of when to visit, the answer to this question is ultimately dependent on your holiday desires. If you’re after warm weather and plenty of outdoor activities, summer (December – February) is your best bet. If you’re looking to hit the slopes however, winter (June – August) is when you should be booking your holiday. Autumn (March – May) and spring (September – November) offer a mixture of weathers. Whilst the skiing and snowboarding has either finished up, or not quite started yet, these two seasons boast the availability of summer activities, minus the heat.
What is the weather like in Queenstown?
The weather in Queenstown is entirely dependent on the season. In brief:
Summer sees average temperatures of between 20 to 30 degrees, and boasts long sunny days. In the peak of the season, you can expect to be blessed with 5am sunrises, and 10pm sunsets, giving you hours of daylight to make the most of all the activities Queenstown has to offer.
Autumn sees temperatures of between approximately 12 and 25 degrees, with often clear, warm days before dropping to cooler temperatures in the evenings. This makes the days perfect for exploring, before cosying up beside a warm fire at night. Autumn sees the leaves begin to fall, and trees take on beautiful red and orange shades – a sight that will not disappoint!
Winter temperatures average between 0 (sometimes colder) and 8 degrees, with frosty mornings before clearing up to blue skies perfect for skiing, snowboarding and enjoying the freshly fallen snow. The region transforms during this time, taking on a beautiful appearance with snow covered mountains and crisp green valleys.
Spring offers visitors daily temperatures of between 8 and 22 degrees, with days gradually getting longer approaching the summer season. Spring weather can be quite unpredictable however, often fitting in all the seasons in to one. Don’t surprise if one day is sunny and the following is cool and rainy. The flora is in its prime, with flowers blooming, and trees thickening up with fresh leaves.
What kind of clothing should I pack?
Depending on which season you choose to travel will be the deciding factor on whether you pack a nice summer dress and walk shorts, or perhaps scarves and beanies.
Summer sees warm temperatures, which mean lighter clothing will be favoured. Pack some summer dresses, swimwear, shorts, singlets and t-shirts. Queenstown sees very strong sunlight; so don’t forget to also bring some sun smart clothing. We can assure you, you will have no regrets when packing sunscreen and hats when you’ve avoided that dreaded sunburn.
Autumn travellers will want to pack a mixture of summer and winter appropriate clothes. T-shirts and shorts will be suitable for the days; however some longer clothing will be more comfortable during the cool evenings. Jeans, jumpers and closed in shoes will definitely be staple items at night.
Winter is relatively obvious when travelling to a destination that sees snow. Layers will be your best friend, so pack thermals, singlets, shirts, jumpers, coats – if you were hoping to make the trip with only carry on luggage you may have to rethink. Fleeces and thick puffer jackets are highly recommended, as are beanies, scarves and gloves. We all know how hard it is to enjoy a moment when you aren’t comfortable and warm.
Spring is unpredictable; therefore your wardrobe will probably be also. Similar to autumn, your best packing a mixture of winter and summer clothing to cover all bases. Ensure you have some t-shirts and shorts, as well as thick jumpers and you should be fine to tackle Queenstown’s spring climate.
How far away is Queenstown from the nearest airport?
Queenstown is a very short 6 kilometres from the nearest airport – Queenstown Airport. Easily reachable by car, taxi or public transport, accessing the airport is not only manageable but also very affordable. A taxi from central Queenstown will set you back approximately NZ$20, or for a cheaper alternative catch the bright yellow Shopper bus from downtown for about NZ$3.50. Leaving every hour (daytime), the journey will take you around 25 minutes – but for such a small cost it’s worth it!
Where is best to stay in Queenstown?
Queenstown is a very popular tourist destination. So hot, that booking accommodation months in advance is often necessary. Of course there will be last minute places available, however on the occasion you will be expected to either pay top dollar, or lessen your quality expectations.
Where to stay is a very tough question to give a simple answer to as it will depend on personal wants, the purpose of your trip and budget of course. If you’re looking to remain in Queenstown, we suggest staying somewhere quite central particularly if you will be relying on public transport. If you do have a car however, the accommodation options open to you are endless. Stay somewhere along the picturesque lake, or opt for somewhere closer to the city – the choice is really up to you!
When is the ski season in Queenstown?
Queenstown’s closest ski field Coronet Peak tends to open the first week of June, however if there hasn’t been sufficient snow fall this can be delayed by a couple of weeks. The season concludes in the final weeks of October dependent on how much snow remains.
If you have booked a snow holiday for early June and the area hasn’t received the desired amount of snow fall, don’t stress; Coronet Peak has made several new improvements to the ski field, and now has the ability to make their own snow!
Where is best for skiing/snowboarding in Queenstown?
Coronet Peak is the closest ski field to Queenstown, situated a short 25 minutes away. With a shuttle service, getting here is made simple for all visitors. The season tends to run from mid June until early October, and offers runs for all abilities from beginner through to advanced. Whilst there is no accommodation offered at Coronet Peak, there is plenty only a short distance away. Unlike all other ski fields located within a 90 minute distance of Queenstown, Coronet Peak offers night skiing, giving your snow trip added magic! With a creche and kids facilities, this ski field is perfect for all ages!
There are three other ski fields located close to Queenstown – The Remarkables (a 45 minute drive away), Cardrona (a 60 minute drive away) and Treble Cone (a 90 minute drive away). All offer shuttle services, with seasons tending to run from mid to end of June until late September to early October. Treble Cone is best for experienced skiers, whilst The Remarkables and Cardrona prove okay for beginners.
What are the restaurants and nightlife like in Queenstown?
Offering more than 120 restaurants and bars in Queenstown, you’d have to be very fussy to not find something you like! Queenstown has a fantastic range of places to wine and dine, all offering diversity. Whether you’re after a cheap eat, something a little fancy, or even just somewhere to relax with others for a couple of drinks, Queenstown has you covered!
You’ll find all the favourites including great Thai, Chinese, and Indian restaurants, fine dining, cafes, family favourites and even fast food. With more than a handful of different styled bars spread throughout the same area of town, trying one, two or even all of these places couldn’t be easier. Whether you’re looking for a quiet night, or even an all nighter, you’ll find a bar in Queenstown that will cater to your desires. For those who turn in to a popstar after a couple of drinks, there’s even a karaoke bar!
Are there shops in Queenstown?
Whether you’re after a designer item, a one off piece, some new snow equipment or simply something to add to your holiday wardrobe, Queenstown offers a number of shops and boutiques perfect for grabbing that missing piece. You’ll also find leading supermarkets, chemists, bakeries and more in Queenstown, so if you’ve left something behind don’t fret; this great town has you covered!
Is there public transport in Queenstown or will I have to hire a vehicle?
Queenstown boasts an excellent public transport system, as well as an abundance of taxis travelling the town’s streets regularly. Depending on what your holiday’s desires are will ultimately decide if you require a car. Queenstown is a very well organised town; with everything you could possibly need a very short distance from each other. If you’re not intending on venturing further than Queenstown, taxis and public transport should more than suffice your trip with both venturing to the Queenstown Airport. There are also ski shuttles that service the hotels, so if a visit to the snow was on the cards then these will have your transport issues covered.
If you really want to explore Queenstown and its surrounding areas, there are several car hire options available to you. A car would also be suitable to those wishing to travel between different ski resorts, or anyone simply wishing to have the freedom to travel to where ever they wish and not rely on public transport or taxis to make it happen.
Do you have some questions about Queenstown, New Zealand that aren’t on this list? Flick us through an email or comment and we’ll try our best to provide you with an answer!
In addition, if you’re looking for all the top things to see and do in and around Queenstown including activities, attractions and more, be sure to check out our Queenstown experiences page.