The Queenstown Winter Festival is back! After the postponement of the 2020 Winter Festival, organisers are delighted to be bringing the Queenstown Winter Festival back, even bigger and better than ever in 2021.

For those who have never heard of the Queenstown Winter Festival (where have you been??!!), it’s one of the biggest festivals on the New Zealand calendar and is a celebration of the start of the winter season. Organisers are promising that “‘Welcome to Winter 2021’ is going to be an action-packed three days, celebrating all there is to love about the snowy season ❄️⛷️”

The festival started out way back in 1975 with a few community events and has since gone on to become a bucket list festival here in NZ. The last time the event was held in 2019, Queenstown welcomed 57,000 visitors to the festival across the three days and this year promises to be even bigger.

Let’s find out more about some of the events taking place at the 2021 Real Journey Queenstown Winter Festival.

Queenstown Winter Festival Dates – 2-4 July 2021

Image of the Opening Party fireworks at the American Express Queenstown WInter Festival
Opening Party fireworks. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

After last year’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in the 2021 Queenstown Winter Festival has never been so high and with only a few weeks to go until the start of the three-day festival, excitement is starting to build in and around Queenstown as they gear up to welcome thousands of locals and visitors alike.

The three-day festival is absolutely jam-packed with events and activities for the whole family and whether you’re a ski or snowboard junkie, or you just enjoy a good festival, Queenstown Winter Festival weekend is one of the best weekends of the year to spend down in Queenstown.

Here are just a few of the things you can get involved with:

Friday 2 July

Image of two young kids on the ice rink at the Audi Quattro Winter Games in Queenstown
Children enjoying the ice rink at the Queenstown Winter Festival. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

The 2021 Queenstown Winter Festival will kick off on Friday 2 July and there are some great events to get involved with from the off. The schedule includes:

Welcome to Winter Skyline Business Lunch
12 pm-2 pm, Skyline Stratosfare Restaurant
Ticketed Event
Mid-Winter Christmas Market
3 pm – 9:30 pm, The Mall
Arts, Crafts, Food & Festivities
TomTom Sound Stage
4 pm – 9 pm, Earnslaw Park
Featuring headline acts Jackie Bristow & Dual
Republic Social Club
4 pm – 9 pm, Earnslaw Park
Food & Bar
NZ Mountain Film Festival
7 pm – 10:30 pm, Queenstown Memorial Centre
Ticketed Event
Cardrona Legends of Steel Rail Jam
4 pm – 9 pm, Ballarat St Car Park
Miss Lucy’s Winter White Out
5 pm – Late, Miss Lucy’s Rooftop Bar
Ticketed Event
FIREWORKS!
7 pm, Queenstown Bay

One of the highlights promises to be the NZ Mountain Film Festival so make sure you grab your tickets early.

Saturday 3 July

Image of Two ladies dressed up in white ball gowns for the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival Ball
Two ladies dressed up in white ball gowns for the Queenstown Winter Festival Ball. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Saturday is another busy day at the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival, kicking off with the Winter Christmas Markets and finishing up with one of the highlights of the entire weekend – the Winter Gala, which this year will be held at the Walter Peak High Country Farm. Here is the current schedule for the Saturday:

✨Queenstown Ice Arena Superhero & Ice Princess Party
10 am – 5 pm, Queenstown Ice Arena
Face Painting, Music, Ice Bumper Cars & Ice Princesses
✨Mid-Winter Christmas Market
10 am – 8 pm, The Mall
Arts, Crafts, Food & Festive Atmosphere
✨TomTom Sound Stage
4 pm – 9 pm, Earnslaw Park
Featuring headline acts Laughton Kora
✨Republic Social Club
2 pm – 9 pm, Earnslaw Park
Food & Bar
✨NZ Mountain Film Festival
7 pm – 10:30 pm, Queenstown Memorial Centre
Ticketed Event
✨Welcome to Winter Gala
7 pm – Late, TSS Earnslaw/Walter Peak High Country Farm
Festivities, Food & Live Entertainment
Ticketed Event
✨Coronet Peak – First Base – A Vintage Après Ski Soiree
4 pm onwards, Coronet Peak Ski Area
Night Ski & Live Entertainment featuring Owl Eyes

Sunday 4 July

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow at the Queenstown Winter Festival. Photo credit: Queenstown Winter Festival
Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow at the Queenstown Winter Festival. Photo credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

It’s definitely a case of Sunday Funday at the Queenstown Winter Festival with the Mountain Fun Day a highlight for many. This crazy event includes the world famous suitcase race, a snowman competition and lots of other family fun activities. Here is a list of the Sunday schedule:

✨Coronet Peak – Mountain Fun Day
11 am – 2 pm, Coronet Peak Ski Area
Suitcase Race, Snowman Competition, Prizes & Family Fun Activities
✨The Remarkables – First Base – A Vintage Après Ski Soiree
12 pm – 4 pm, The Remarkables Ski Area
Apres session at Ice Bar
✨Frank’s Eatery Christmas Dinner in July
5 pm – 9 pm, Franks Eatery, Frankton
Ticketed Event
✨Ladi6 LIVE at Sherwood
9 pm – Late, Sherwood Queenstown
Ticketed Event (SOLD OUT)
Image of The crowd having a laugh at one of the comedy night at the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival
The crowd having a laugh at one of the comedy night. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

We’re super-excited for the return of the Queenstown Winter Festival in 2021 and we hope to see lots of our GO customers down in Queenstown and enjoying one of the highlights of the Queenstown events calendar.

We expect further additions to the schedule as we get closer to the start of the festival, some maker you you keep an eye on the official festival website.

See you there!

Queenstown Complete Guide