Queenstown is the best winter destination in New Zealand, mostly thanks to its amazing climate and stunning mountains. If you are a winter sports enthusiast, this is the place to be. It’s also one of the few locations in the country which gets real snow. But does it snow in Queenstown on itself?
Queenstown has a continental climate that is influenced by the Southern Alps. Due to its elevation of 300 m and climate, it is possible to see the snow. Snowfall in the town of Queenstown happens during the winter months, between June and August. Snow melts quickly as the average daily temperature in the city is between -1°C and 8°C.
If you love skiing, Queenstown impresses with the availability and accessibility of winter activities. It has three ski fields that are reachable with a maximum of 45 minutes drive, and some can be accessed within 20 minutes only. Read on to learn more about snowfall in Queenstown.
Is there a show in Queenstown?
Queenstown is a main town in the Southern Alps of New Zealand; it’s over 300 m above sea level and is surrounded by four ski fields. So, it’s logical to assume you might expect snow over there.
Due to its high elevation, snow is present in all surrounding mountains. While there is snow throughout the whole winter in the mountains, the town on itself rarely has enough snowfall to stay for a long time.
It usually melts very quickly, but more often than not, Queenstown doesn’t receive any snow at all. In the typical winter, you won’t see snow in the town.
Therefore, skiing isn’t the only activity you can do in the winter in Queenstown. And you don’t have to be a ski fan to appreciate Queenstown’s snowy mountains.
For instance, heli-hiking tours provide an opportunity to enjoy the scenery without stepping a foot on the snow.
That said, you will see plenty of snow in the main ski resorts in the area, which are Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and Cardrona. For example, the Remarkables are about 1600 m above sea level.
What time of year does it snow in Queenstown, New Zealand?
Winter is a typical time for snow in Queenstown. In New Zealand, it’s between June and September. During the winter, the temperature sometimes goes below zero degrees at night but is pretty comfortable during the day.
Therefore, the snow in Queenstown is possible anytime from June to August and less possibly in September, but it doesn’t usually stay longer than a day or two before it melts.
For Queenstown, snow is typically for 3, or 4 times in the winter, however, it’s becoming even less frequent due to climate change and global warming.
In the mountains, there is an abundance of the show in winter months; 750 – 500 meters is a reasonable level to expect snowfall.
In many highlands, you can see snow from June to October. For example, a ski resort in Cardrona has its fields open from 11 June to 16 October.
Regarding the snow in ski resorts, 13 cm of snow is common in July and 10 cm in June (for Cardrona), and it snows an average of 3 days per week. The snowfall continues throughout April to the end of November.
Snowfall in May
May is the last month of autumn in Queenstown, yet, it’s still very warm, and snowfall is almost non-existent. So, don’t expect to see snow in the town unless there is a natural disaster.
That said, snow is present in all ski resorts near Queenstown.
Snowfall in June
June is the start of the winter. Snow is possible, although it happens on rare occasions. If you are lucky to see snowfall in Queenstown, it sits at about 13.5 mm (1,3 cm) for June.
Daily temperature in June ranges between -1°C to 8°C. It’s very rare for a temperature to go below -1°C.
In ski resorts like Cardrona, there is about 10 cm of snow and an average of 2.2 days of snowfall per week.
Snowfall in July
July is the middle of winter and is the coldest month around. The average maximal temperature in Queenstown is between 5°C and 6°C, and -1°C is the minimal average; snowfall is very possible.
Moreover, 10 July is the coldest day of the year, with temperatures ranging from -1°C to 5°C. The snowfall in Queenstown averages 38.5 mm for the month of July.
In ski resorts, there is 13 cm of snow, and it snows about 2.8 days per week.
Snowfall in August
August is the last month of winter, and the temperature goes up. Queenstown has averaged from 0°C to 9°C degrees. In August, the average snowfall in Queenstown is 32.4 mm.
In the mountains, 11 cm of snow is typical, and snowfall is present 2.9 days per week.
Ski fields in Queenstown
Skiing in Queenstown is the main reason why so many people from around the world travel here during the winter. Queenstown is an amazing skiing option not only for experienced skiers but literally for everyone at any level and age.
Coronet Peak is the nearest ski resort which is only a 20-25 minutes drive from Queenstown. It has a variety of terrain for all levels.
This field offers night skiing, too, available from 4-9 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, and occasional Saturday nights. If you want to do it the local way, visit Coronet Peak on one of these nights.
The Remarkables are the higher mountains near Queenstown; they have the most snow and are the best for skiing. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Queenstown. There you will spot plenty of snow in the winter.
The Remarkables is the preferred ski resort by locals. It has the best conditions than any other field.
The split for Remarkables Mountains is as follows:
- 30% beginner
- 40% intermediate
- 30% black
Therefore, it’s great not only for beginners but also for super-advanced skiers. Remarkables hosts a restaurant, café, and two bars. To get up to the Remarkables during the winter with your own transport, you will need snow chains.
Cardrona Alpine Resort is just a 55-minute drive from Queenstown. It’s the best ski field for families. Besides, Cardrona has the most developed terrain park, which is a dream for freestyle skiers and snowboarders.
Weather and climate of Queenstown
Queenstown enjoys four distinct seasons, with long warm summers lasting between December and March. The summer is pretty warm, sometimes even hot, and winters are relatively cold (by New Zealand standards), with even minus temperatures from time to time.
This time is followed by beautiful autumn, where you can see fantastic trees of all colors possible. It’s still warm for hiking, biking, running, and other outdoor pursuits.
June-September is a typical winter here with great winter sports opportunities. Queenstown’s winter weather is pleasant, with blue skies. The air is fresh and frosty in the morning, giving you a nice feeling of a winter wonderland.
Over the year, the temperature typically varies from -1°C to 19°C and is rarely below -6°C or above 23°C. Although, summers can be pretty hot, with days above 25°C.
There is snowfall during the winter months. As the graph shows, the snow typically starts from the end of May to the beginning of September.
Surprisingly, during the winter, Queenstown gets the least amount of rain; see the table below.
Temperatures during the winter months in Queenstown range from 4 to 9°C during the day. It gets much colder here at night, with temperatures reaching as low as -6°C.
At the ski fields, temperatures are much cooler, and skiers should expect daytime temperatures around -4 to -10°C. Yet, the weather is often warmer than that, sometimes reaching zero degrees.
Here are the monthly average temperatures you can expect in Queenstown:
|Average temperature in °C
Moreover, here is the average high and average low temperature throughout the year.
Keep in mind that this data relates to Queenstown town; in the mountains, the temperature is usually lower. Regarding the precipitation, you can see on the following graphic, Queenstown and the area around it don’t get much rain.
Snow in the town of Queenstown
Does it snow in Queenstown town on itself? Generally, there is rarely snow in the city. There might be minimal snowfall during the winter, and if so, it melts pretty quickly.
As you can see in the featured picture, Queenstown doesn’t have much snow, even in the winter. At the same time, mountains have plenty of snow.
Generally, you won’t see the show in the town on itself, expect some days.
Best time to visit Queenstown to see the snow
If you want to spot snow in Queenstown, you should visit in July. July is the coldest month. There is plenty of snow in the mountains between July and August. It’s also the best time to go skiing.
During the winter months, Queenstown’s temperature ranges from 4°C to 9°C during the day. It gets much colder here at night, with temperatures reaching as low as -6°C. The temperature drops to -4 to -10°C at ski fields.
If you are going skiing, they are typically open from mid-June to early October. The closing of the ski season in Queenstown is the first week of October, so you should definitely arrive before October.
Best place for skiing in Queenstown
Queenstown is the best location for skiing in New Zealand; besides, many Aussies travel here to conquer our incredible ski slopes.
The closest ski field to the center of Queenstown is Coronet Peak; being just a 25-minute drive away means it’s a very popular choice for locals.
The Remarkables, it’s a 40-minute drive from central Queenstown. There’s a mix of runs from beginner to expert level.
Cardrona is a great choice for everyone, from beginners to experts. Freestylers can enjoy extensive terrain and a jump park. It’s also the largest ski field in the Queenstown area.
But what if you don’t ski?
Don’t worry, Queenstown is a great place to be, not only for skiers but for pretty much everyone. For example, you can enjoy the following activities all year round in Queenstown:
- Dining out
- Luxury holidays in luxury properties
- Wine and beer tasting
- Explore Milford Sound
- River rafting
If you are considering moving to Queenstown, check out this guide.