Queenstown WinterFest Returns – With a Twist


After skipping a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Queenstown’s world-famous winter festival returns in 2021, albeit with some changes. For one, it’s not called WinterFest any more – the official title for this year’s festival is the more straightforward: “Welcome to Winter”. The organizers decided to temporarily shelve the WinterFest branding to highlight the differences between previous years over-the-top celebrations and this year’s more modest affair (but have no fear, the official WinterFest will be back in the future!).

Also, unlike previous four-day Winterfests, this year’s festival will last for three days between July 2 to 4. With international air travel still suspended due to the global pandemic, organizers behind Queenstown Winter Festival 2021 are targeting homegrown visitors from within New Zealand as well as far-flung Australia – provided the NZ-Aus travel bubble is still in effect by the time July rolls by.

After a one-year hiatus, expectations are high for this year’s festival. Unfortunately, funds are not. There is no marquee naming sponsor this time round, and organizers will have to make do with partial funding from a domestic events endowment plus a handful of big-name “partners”. Organizers are upbeat, however, and insist they can put on a memorable winter festival extravaganza with the limited resources on hand. Much of the planning will be conducted by the festival partners: NZSki, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Wayfair and SkyCity, who will run their own events during the three-day celebrations.

Among the activities planned for the three days are: live music concerts, a film festival, a Christmas market, night skiing, a comedy night, a winter gala and, of course, fireworks! More events may be announced as we get closer to the festival dates, so head over to the official Welcome to Winter event page on Facebook for up-to-date news.

At the end of the day, the Welcome to Winter event will bring in much-needed visitors to Queenstown after a long absence and revitalize the local community. It will also help support some of Queenstown’s working professionals who have had a hard go of it over the past year We hope to see you there!