Looking for the best Queenstown events? You’ve come to the right place! Whilst everyone knows that Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world, what you might not know is that Queenstown is also home to some of New Zealand’s best events. Whilst you can find a list of all these events on great websites like Eventfinda, we wanted to make life easier for you and pull together a comprehensive list of the best Queenstown events for 2021-22 – the ones you really shouldn’t miss if you get the opportunity to spend some time in that awesome city. Think of this as your ultimate Queenstown what’s on guide – the best of the best. Grab your Queenstown car rental and head off to hit some of the best events in Queenstown.

So, without further ado, here is the ultimate list of Queenstown events for 2021-22 – get your planning hat on!

1.      New Zealand Golf Open – 24 February – 27 February 2022

2022 will see the New Zealand Golf Open celebrate its 102nd year and this year promises to be another cracker. Held over four days at the end of February, not only does the NZ Golf Open welcome some of the best golfers from across Australasia, it also offers an opportunity for amateurs to play alongside those professionals across the four days.

Amateurs come from all walks of life, however included in the field are a number of sporting celebrities who love the opportunity to play alongside the professionals. Some of the big names playing this year include former All Blacks Israel Dagg and Beauden Barrett, former Aussie leg spinner Shame Warne, cricketers Stephen Fleming and Sir Ian Botham and NRL superstar Larry Fitzgerald.

If you’re a golfing fan, this is a must-do on your event list for 2022, especially after the 2021 event was cancelled. You can find out more about Golf in New Zealand in our comprehensive Activity Guide.


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2.      Macpac Motatapu – 5-6 March 2022

Each year for one weekend, the pristine trails of the Motatapu welcomes thousands of athletes to experience one of New Zealand’s favourite off-road sporting events.

The Macpac Motatapu race allows exclusive access to the high country that sits between Wanaka and Queenstown as you race through some of the most stunning scenery in New Zealand.

There are four amazing events to choose from, including mountain biking, an ultra run, an off-road marathon and the miners trail.  The mountain biking trail is 47km and can be ridden solo or as a team of two. The ultra run is the ultimate test of endurance and perhaps the most famous of all the Motatapu events as competitors look to complete the legendary 52.5km course. The off-road marathon is another challenging trail that can be walked or ran. It’s a 42km trail through the stunning Motatapu valley. The final event is the shortest of all – a 15km walk or run called the Miners Trail.

Entries open on 1 July 2021.


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3.      Queenstown Adventure Film Festival – March 2022

When you’re known as the adventure capital of the world, it’s no surprise to find an Adventure Film Festival right here in Queenstown. Following the huge success of the 2021 Queenstown Adventure Film Festival, organisers are keen to run the event again in 2022 and dates will be confirmed in due course but it is expected to be in March once again.

Held at Coronet Peak, the 2021 Festival showcased an exclusive preview of Warren Miller’s 70th Anniversary film ‘Timeless’ and also included an all-star line-up of adventure speakers including Olympic Gold Medallist Jonny Moseley, X-Games Medallist Andreu Lacondeguy and Adventure Researcher at Otago University, Patrick Boudreau.

2022 promises to be bigger and better as Coronet Peak is transformed with bean bags, fire pits and drinks tents. This was a free event in 2021 and tickets went like hot cakes so make sure you keep an eye on the website link above and snaffle your ticket for the Queenstown Adventure Film Festival 2022.

4.      Arrowtown Autumn Festival – April 2022

OK so this one is not technically in Queenstown, however just a short 20-minute drive will take you to nearby Arrowtown where you can join in with the spectacular autumn celebrations. In 2022 the festival will celebrate its 37th year and attracts locals and visitors alike to explore this beautiful town at the most colourful time of the year.

Arrowtown is one of the best places in New Zealand to enjoy the stunning autumnal colours and the Autumn Festival is a great opportunity to not only check out the beautiful trees but also get involved in some of the events and activities taking place over the four days including a festival fun run, outdoor movies, a duck race and the ever-popular Pie, Pint and Pinot event.

Find out more and book your trip to see some of the best autumnal colours here in New Zealand.


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5.      Warbirds over Wanaka – 15-17 April 2022

Planning for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Warbirds Airshow is already underway. Following the disappointment of having to cancel the 2020 event due to COVID, organisers are now working towards Easter 2022 (April 15, 16 and 17). Discussions have already been held with various aircraft owners both in New Zealand and overseas with a view to having them on the flight line at what will be the 17th edition of this world-renowned event. All those contacted so far are keen to be at Wanaka with many working on new displays specifically for the big Wanaka crowds.

Warbirds over Wanaka is the largest Warbird Airshow in the Southern hemisphere and provides people with an opportunity to see these amazing flying machines up close and personal. The airshow is a display of some magnificent vintage airplanes coupled with a display of amazing flying skills from all the pilots involved.

As well as a full air programme over the Easter weekend, there is also a ground programme which includes military vehicles including the famous Warhorses.

This is an event not to be missed and well worth the one-hour drive over the Crown Range and down into Wanaka.


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Queenstown City Guide

6.      Queenstown Winter Festival – 2-4 July 2021

One of the biggest events of the year down in Queenstown is the Winter Festival. It’s one that goes in the calendar very early for most people and whether you live in Queenstown or you simply love winter sports – Queenstown is the place to be in late June every year.

Whilst a lot of the festival events and activities take place up the mountain, there is plenty on offer for those who are not into skiing and snowboarding. The Festival Village always has something going on, from live music to dodgeball competitions to winter markets. The Comedy Night is one of the highlights of the festival with great comedians from around New Zealand and beyond.

The Festival highlight for many is the annual Skycity Ball which is held at a secret location every year.

Following the disappointment of 2020 when the event had to be cancelled, event organisers have gone all out in 2021 and ‘Welcome to Winter 2021’ is going to be an action-packed three days celebrating all there is to love about the snowy season.


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7.      New Zealand Mountain Film Festival – 25 June to 3 July 2021

Every year, the Central Otago region welcomes the annual Mountain Film Festival. This was one of the few events to take place during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and organisers have gone all out again in 2021 to ensure this is a film festival to remember. The Festival is on in Wanaka from June 25 to 29 and in Queenstown from July 1 to 3, 2021. It will also be broadcast online in NZ and Australia from June 25 until July 25, 2021.

The books and films on show at the Mountain Film Festival tell stories of adventure sports, foreign cultures, remote travels and environmental issues. It’s an 8-day celebration of adventurous sports and lifestyle and will be in Queenstown for three amazing days at the beginning of July.

Sponsored by The North Face and Lumix, this is a pretty unique event and one that will really appeal to those who love adventure activities. Get inspired this year at the Mountain Film Festival.

8.      Winter Pride – 27 August – 5 September 2021

Winter Pride is a festival that celebrates love, community, diversity, visibility, safety and inclusion. It’s a festival that is jam-packed with amazing events including some of New Zealand and Australia’s best DJs, dance parties, skiing, snowboarding and mountain walks.

Queenstown is the perfect host for this fantastic 10-day festival across two weekends. With more than 4,500 tickets sold every year and thousands more enjoying the free and non-ticketed events, this has become one of the hottest festivals in New Zealand.

The event usually welcomes thousands of visitors from Australia and we hope to see many Australians back this year after they missed out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you missed out on the Queenstown Winter Festival, this is a great alternative and Queenstown is guaranteed to be buzzing throughout the festival.

GO Rentals have been proud sponsors of the event for the past three years and we look forward to supporting the event again in 2021.


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9.      David Reid Homes Peak to Peak –  11 September 2021

The Peak to Peak is New Zealand’s biggest multi-sport one-day challenge, held in Queenstown every year. It’s an event that tests competitors mentally and physically and is the longest running event of its kind in the country.

Competitors can enter the race as an individual, tandem or relay team and all competitors face five amazing stages that begin and end in Queenstown’s famous ski resorts – The Remarkables and Coronet Peak.

The events include skiing or snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, running and the final leg sees you get back on the bike for a gruelling finish to the race, climbing from Arthurs Point to Coronet Peak.

10. Alexandra Blossom Festival – 27-29 September 2021

The historic Alexandra Blossom Festival has marked the arrival of spring for the past 65 years. In 2019, the festival welcomed over 10,000 people to celebrate the start of spring, with the blossoms in full bloom. Sadly, the 2020 festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic so the 2021 event promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Alexandra is located just a short drive from Queenstown and is known for its contribution to both the summer fruits and wool industries. Both of these industries form a central part of the celebrations over the three-day festival period.

Events at the festival are wide-ranging and include live music, mountain races, parades and freestyle motorcross displays. If you can’t make it to the Arrowtown Festival to celebrate autumn, head on down to Queenstown in spring for the Alexandra Blossom Festival.


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11. Queenstown Jazzfest – October 2021

If you’re a fan of jazz music, don’t miss the Queenstown Jazz Festival which features music from Wakatipu High School, Zinco, Queenstown Jazz Orchestra, Beats on Anticipation, Turtle Funk and Sam Manzanza’s Afrobeat Band.

Queenstown JazzFest is a community-owned event which has been running since 1978. It has grown to become one of Queenstown’s premier springtime events providing locals and visitors with a programme of top-quality entertainment from local and national artists.

With over 40 free events to attend over the festival weekend as well as ticketed concerts, there is plenty for everyone to enjoy from smooth blues to big band swing, Dixieland to funk bands, traditional jazz to ground-breaking contemporary concepts.

We are still awaiting confirmation of the 2021 dates, however it has been held in late October every year so we expect to see the same again in 2021.

12. Queenstown Marathon – 20 November 2021

Billing itself as the ‘World’s Most Beautiful Marathon’, Queenstown certainly ticks off a lot of boxes for marathon enthusiasts. Set in the absolutely stunning surrounds of Queenstown, the Queenstown Marathon is set to the backdrop of the renowned Crown and Remarkables mountain ranges. Whilst Queenstown is well-known for its mountainous terrain, this marathon trail is truly flat and takes you on hard packed cycle trails.

November is a great time of the year to visit Queenstown – just as the summer is around the corner but there is still snow on the high peaks making for a truly spectacular course to run a marathon. As you would expect, the Queenstown marathon is about much more than the race itself.  Once your race is run, there are some brilliant social events and activities that will keep your adrenaline going long after you cross the finish line.

It’s not just about the marathon either. There are four distances to choose from including 42.2km, 21km, 10km and 3km. Last year’s event was a complete sell out so make sure you get in early this year and take advantage of some early bird specials.


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13. Rhythm and Alps – 31 December 2021

Rounding off an amazing year of events in Queenstown is Rhythm and Alps – a festival to bring in the New Year and celebrate everything that has been great about 2021. This year will represent the 11th anniversary of Rhythm and Alps and it promises to be bigger and better than ever.

This is a premier music festival which has quickly grown to be one of the best music festivals in the Southern Hemisphere. With crowds of over 10,000 gathering to celebrate the New Year, the festival has some of the best sound and lighting production New Zealand has to offer.

The line-up for 2021 includes Bradley Zero, CC:Disco, Diesel, Paige Julia, Texture and more. Tickets are already selling like hot cakes so don’t miss out on New Zealand’s best New Year’s Eve party.


So, there we have it – 13 of the best Queenstown events for 2021-22 and what a line-up we have for you. With something going on every month, there is never a bad time to visit Queenstown and with a bit of careful planning, you can be attending some of the biggest and best events in New Zealand.

If it’s been a while since your last visit to Queenstown, pick out some of your favourite events from our list above and get planning. If you need advice on where to stay, where to eat and what to do, make sure you check out our Complete Guide to Queenstown with lots of great tips from locals.

Here are some related posts to get you excited about a trip to Queenstown in 2020: