The Best Time to Visit Queenstown

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When to Visit Queenstown

Visiting one of the most popular tourist hotspots in New Zealand requires a bit of planning. With a buzzing winter season on the ski fields, gorgeous long sunny days in summer, and adrenaline experiences that never sleep, there is never really a “quiet” time in Queenstown… So there’s never really a bad time to visit the “Adventure Capital”! It all depends on what you want to do, what sort of weather you prefer, your budget and whether or not you want to avoid the most crowded season. We’ll go through it all and more in this guide to the best time to visit Queenstown.

Before we get started, don’t forget to book a place to stay from The 50 Best Accommodations in Queenstown.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Time to Visit Queenstown

1. The Weather & Season

The weather and season are extremely important if you are coming to Queenstown to do a certain activity, like snowsports or white water rafting. Furthermore, you might simply prefer hot summer days to crisp winters.

2. The Crowds

There is never really a time when Queenstown is “uncrowded”. However, if you prefer to avoid the ultra-busy times of the year, then you might want to consider when the public and school holidays are in New Zealand, as well as when the low and high seasons are for tourists.

3. The Cost

The local hotels, vehicle rental companies and even airlines know when most tourists want to come to visit Queenstown, so they take advantage of this by upping their prices. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider one of Queenstown’s shoulder seasons.

We’ll address each of these factors and more in the sections below!©

Queenstown Summer

Months: December, January and February
Tourist Season: High Season

Queenstown Weather in Summer

Temperature: 14-18°C (57-64°F)
Rainfall: 20-80mm (0.8-3.1″)

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About Queenstown Summer

Summer is by far the most popular time to visit Queenstown. The weather is generally the warmest and sunniest it’s going to be for outdoor activities. However, this also makes summer the most crowded time of the year to visit Queenstown, where it’s essential for travellers to book accommodation and even some activities a few months in advance to avoid disappointment. Not only is this a popular time for international travellers to visit Queenstown, but you’ll find that this is when many New Zealanders travel to the holiday destination too. Be aware of the school holidays, which you might want to avoid visiting Queenstown in if you want less bustle – check out the New Zealand Ministry of Education website for dates. Be also aware that summer is the most expensive time of year to visit Queenstown in terms of car rentals, flights and hotel rates.

Best Things to Do in Queenstown in Summer

Find out some other great places to visit in summer with our 5 Places to Visit in Summer in New Zealand.©

Queenstown Autumn

Months: March, April and May
Tourist Season: High to Shoulder Season

Queenstown Weather in Autumn

Temperature: 6-16°C (43-61°F)
Rainfall: 30-50mm (1.2-2″)

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About Queenstown Autumn

If you’re looking for a quieter time to travel to Queenstown, while still experiencing sunny weather, then autumn is a good time to visit. Queenstown still feels crowded in March, but April and May quieten down along with the prices of car rental, flights and hotels. The days might be getting a little colder, but it’s still comfortable enough ensuring you have plenty of layers for the ever-changing weather. Toward April and May, you may also get the chance to see Queenstown’s surrounding countryside in brown and orange autumn colours. If you’re establishing yourself here for the winter season as part of a working holiday, be sure to look for jobs for the season during this time.

Things to Do in Queenstown in Autumn

  • Check out the autumn displays in the nearby towns of Arrowtown and Wanaka
  • Explore the lakes and rivers on a jet boat tour
  • Play a round of golf at one of the Queenstown golf courses
  • Do a zipline, bungy jump or canyon swing
  • Go on a cruise on Lake Wakatipu.

Find out some other great places to visit in autumn with our 5 Places to Visit in Autumn in New Zealand.©

Queenstown Winter

Months: June, July and August
Tourist Season: Shoulder to High Season

Queenstown Weather in Winter

Temperature: 2-6°C (36-42°F)
Rainfall: 30-60mm (1.2-2.4″)

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About Queenstown Winter

Cool, crisp, and sometimes little rainy, winter is not always ideal for doing all of the outdoor activities. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty to do in Queenstown, with operations like ziplining, bungy jumps, skydiving, etc. still available. Toward July, all of the ski fields in the area have usually opened should you want to get some ski in. Another benefit of visiting Queenstown in winter is that it feels much less busy than summer. Prices for car rentals, hotels and flights are also usually at their lowest.

Things to Do in Queenstown in Winter

Find out some other great places to visit in winter with our 5 Places to Visit in Winter in New Zealand.©

Queenstown Spring

Months: September, October and November
Tourist Season: Low to Shoulder Season

Queenstown Weather in Spring

Temperature: 8-13°C (46-55°F)
Rainfall: 30-70mm (1.2-2.8″)

Find out about the weather in each month in:

About Queenstown Spring

Spring is always a refreshing time in Queenstown when the clocks go forward, the sun starts to warm up again, and the days get longer. In early spring, you can do the last of the winter sports and see snow on the mountains. October is when spring really starts to get into full swing, yet things don’t feel busy until mid-November, so make the most of the uncrowded attractions and walking trails before then! Prices for hotels, car rentals and flights are reasonable until they go up in mid-November.

Things to Do in Queenstown in Spring

  • Go white water rafting on the rivers full with spring melt
  • Do some spring ski on the mountains
  • See the lambs on one of the farm tours
  • Tackle one of the walks
  • Go on a foodie tour of the wineries and breweries

Find out some other great places to visit in spring with our 5 Places to Visit in Spring in New Zealand.

More About Queenstown

That’s it from our guide to the best time to visit Queenstown. Get even more tips in our other guide, When is the Best Time to Visit New Zealand?


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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