There are few places in New Zealand compared to Queenstown that offer a wider variety of activities - particularly with an emphasis on the extreme such as skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boating and more - that encapsulate the energy and the raw nature of this popular South Island destination. Queenstown is not just for the thrill seekers however; various opportunities for tours and daily excursions to wineries, 4WD tours and scenic helicopter flights provide a more relaxing alternative for those with laid back personalities.
Serving as one of the main focus points for visiting tourists, both nationally and internationally, Queenstown is known as one of the "adventure capitals" of the world due to its proximity to a wide variety of varying natural landscapes - alpine mountains combine with crystal clear rivers and lakes to form a distinctly New Zealand panorama of views and sightseeing vantage points that will have you reaching for the camera and coming away with pictures that are truly postcard-worthy!
There are numerous ways to see Queenstown and its surrounding areas from different angles; guided walks, scenic flights, relaxing cruises, kayaking and much more - whether you're older, younger, or anything in between, Queenstown is sure to have an experience for you, your friends and your family - simply choose an experience category from the list of options below and dive right in to the marvels that make Queenstown such a popular destination!
Queenstown Weather and Climate Information for Visitors
Being a country that the majority of which exists within a typical alpine climate, Queenstown is a slight exception in the fact that it has four distinct seasons, each of which has its own beauty. As a prime destination for adventure activities, the weather and the seasons can thus have a huge effect on what things there are to do and places to visit during your holiday in Queenstown. Situated in New Zealand's South Island, Queenstown is nestled at a high altitude within the Remarkable's mountain range towards the island's southern end, yet its climate leans more towards the oceanic than the traditional alpine, with longer warm days in Summer and Winters with temperatures that plummet significantly.
Temperatures and Rainfall
As mentioned above, Queenstown's temperatures can reach a surprisingly high level in the warmest times of the year, with 30°C not an uncommon sight on the thermometer. In terms of rainfall, Queenstown lies within the so-called “rain shadow” of New Zealand's Southern Alps in a region named Central Otago, but being closer to the west coast means that the town is more susceptible to heavy-hitting, rain-bearing fronts than other towns nearby.
Queenstown's four distinctive seasons feature long summer twilights that last from the months between December and March, and brilliant autumn colours reflective of the distinctive colours of deciduous trees that make for a beautiful spectacle, some of the world's best skiing and snowboarding conditions in the months from winter to early spring (June-September). Which season you decide to visit Queenstown in will be entirely reflective of your personal tastes and intended activities to participate and locations you intend to visit during your time there.
With the extended daylight that the days of Summer provide, all visitors will have even more opportunities to explore the wonderful areas in and around Queenstown. The huge variety of geographic features including mountains, lakes, rivers and more are highly attractive to holiday makers with plenty more hours of sunlight left to relax, socialise and dine as the sun typically doesn't set during the Summer in Queenstown until around 10pm. The temperature in the day typically averages around 20-30 degrees Celsius while at night, the cool temperatures afforded by the often clear skies make for great sleeping conditions, even in the warmest of months. Swimming, camping, shopping, nightlife as well as the huge arrange of adventure activities on offer including skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boating whitewater rafting and more are all popular pastimes to participate in in Queenstown during the summer.
During Queenstown's autumns, a spectacular change quickly sweeps the region and nature puts on a dazzling display of colours as the numerous deciduous trees change their colours and begin to lose their leaves. One of the most famous areas near Queenstown for stunning displays of coloured leaves is Arrowtown, most of which turn to vibrant yellows and golds and line tracks and roads. Popular activities during Queenstown Autumns include hiking, jet boating, biking, fishing, skydiving and more – yet the snow will have not yet fully kicked in. In general, autumn is a great time for relaxation and indulgence with clear weather and cool evenings. Temperatures in the daytime generally range from around 10-25°C, with the nights being quite cool and frosts being more common at night during the month of May.
The season that many Queenstown adventure-seekers typically eagerly await, winter is a magical time of the year in Queenstown with its amazing spectacle of snow-capped peaks combining with crisp blue days – all of which combine to provide some of the best skiing and snow conditions in the world! The region and its residents love to celebrate winter, and with good reason; there is ample opportunity to hit the mountains for snowboarding and skiing, as well as other events such as scenic cruises and heli-ski options. Adrenaline junkies aren't the only ones who enjoy the Queenstown winter however; the season also tends to attract a whole range of photographers and sightseers from the world over to capture a glimpse of the spectacular scenery. The snow-capped mountains, crystal-clear lakes and blue-sky days combine to form a breathtakingly beautiful panorama that acts as the perfect setting for an unforgettable alpine winter holiday in New Zealand. In addition, the snowfall in Queenstown is typically confined only to the mountains, meaning that those without a particular interest in snow sports remain free to enjoy other activities both in and around the city without any struggles. Temperatures in the day time during winter usually range from between 5-10°C, with the nights being cold and frosty and temperatures of an average between -5°C and -15°C, so be sure to pack (or bring funds to purchase) according cold-weather clothing.
The weather in Queenstown during spring can be defined as something along the lines of “predictably unpredictable”, as it is caught in the midst of the transition between winter and summer – conditions can often change from warm and sunny one minute to cold and snowy the next, with little warning in advance. Ironically, the best snow conditions usually occur during the early part of spring, which offers a great chance to get back into the outdoor activities such as jet boating, fishing, mountain biking, hiking and many tours which provide amazing views of the regions in and around the town at their greenest and most naturally vibrant. A great time to relax beneath the warming sun, the temperatures in Queenstown during the spring typically range between 13-19°C in the day while the nights remain cool with averages between 4-10°C before the tail end of November transitions to summer and the level of warmth increases exponentially. Many local events are also held during the springtime in Queenstown as well, providing an additional range of things to do during a visit there.
For more information on Queenstown including activities, attractions and things to do, be sure to visit our main Queenstown region page for details!