New Zealand is well known for celebrating everything from wearable arts to wild foods. Many of our celebrations start as small, backyard ideas and grow to international fame.
The American Express Queenstown Winter Festival is one such event. From small beginnings, the festival has grown from a ‘bit of a party’ to boost the flagging winter morale in Queenstown (this was before Queenstown became one of the world’s top winter holiday destinations), to the largest winter event in the southern hemisphere. In the 1970s a couple of Kiwi jokers called Peter and Laurie decided to throw a party to welcome the snow season in. Before long, the whole town was in on the act, and history was in the making.
For over 40 years the festival has brought the town to life for ten days of fun, food and frivolity, setting the scene for the season of snow sports and winter activities for which Queenstown is internationally known.
Set amongst the beautiful southern countryside, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and shimmering lakes, the festival draws crowds in the tens of thousands to participate in a programme of entertaining, challenging and often hilarious activities over ten madcap days.
The festival kicks off with a grand opening party and fireworks display, and then it gets really colourful. Dog derbies, drag races, music and dancing, skiing and skating, and of course lashings of food and drink – all the elements of a fabulous festival!
There is loads of accommodation in Queenstown, but do book early if you want a room as they will fill up.
What: Queenstown Winter Festival
Where: Queenstown, New Zealand
When: 24 June – 3 July 2016
How much: Free (some activities may incur charges)
Why: Because winter starts here!