Queenstown Winter Festival

Openin night fireworksQueenstown hosts the southern hemisphere’s biggest winter party, the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival (22 June - 1 July, 2012).

The popular festival celebrates winter with a packed 10-day programme celebrating Queenstown and with a range of unique Queenstown events, including jazz, comedy, drag racing, street parades, fireworks, a charity boxing match and glamorous ball.

With around 45,000 people celebrating at the festival, it’s a time when Queenstown is extremely busy and accommodation can be hard to find if you don’t plan ahead. So let Concierge NZ take care of it for you, with one of our preferred properties in the region.

Some events are ticketed, but a large number are free and open to all as both participants and spectators.

Here are our top picks from the 2012 festival programme:

Opening night fireworks

Wrap up warm and be dazzled at the event that officially kicks the Winter Festival off.
The theme for 2012 is Fire & Ice, and festival organisers are promising spectacular visual entertainment with pumping music. Al-fresco food stalls will keep the crowd fed and watered - grab a mug of mulled wine, kick back, and watch the fireworks display over Queenstown Bay.

Sergey Malov at The Hills

Businessman Michael Hill combines his two great loves - violin and golf - at this special event. Last year’s winner of the Michael Hill Violin Competition, Sergey Malov from Russia, will perform a selection, accompanied by a gourmet brunch. Hill runs the competition each year to help launch the professional solo careers of young violinists from all over the world; the venue for the event is the award-winning clubhouse on Hill’s private golf course near Arrowtown.

Quicksilver Slopestyle Invitational

For the extreme sports lovers amongst you, a visit to the Remarkables Terrain park is a must. And if you want to see the experts doing their thing, this is the event for you. A star-studded line-up of New Zealand’s best skiers and snowboarders will pull out the tricks and plenty of big air for the assembled crowds.

The Life of Pinot with Peter Thornley

Renowned chef Peter Thornley takes guests at the Wakatipu Grill in the Queenstown Hilton on a culinary journey through Central Otago, including a cheeky pinot from the restaurant’s 1000-strong wine cellar. The event takes place on the last night of the festival so, for foodies, it will be the perfect way the toast the end of ten days of fun and festivities.

More FM Birdman

Watch as hilariously dressed thrill-seekers launch themselves off Queenstown Wharf into
the freezing cold waters of Lake Wakatipu – all in the name of fun. It is wet, wild and usually
completely out of control. In past years spectators have witnessed countless superheroes take
a soaking, and have watched in horror as a cardboard replica of Queenstown’s beloved TSS
Earnslaw went under.

Speights Dog Derby

During this event, the Coronet Peak ski field gets over-run with dozens of high country farmers racing from the top of the hill to the base building, with their faithful hounds in tow. It’s a recipe for total mayhem with barking, shouting and a lot of colourful language. After the derby, both dogs and their masters make their way to Earnslaw Park to bark it out as dog after dog vies to be the loudest mutt of the mob.

For more information visit: www.winterfestival.co.nz