Queenstown Winter Festival is serious earner
28 Apr 2011
Queenstown Winter Festival
24 June - 3 July 2011
Already sporting a reputation for being fun, outrageous and one of the top 10 'must-see' festivals in the world, the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival has also revealed its serious side - as a major money spinner.
New research shows that besides its position as a much-loved local celebration of winter, the festival is also a big earner for the Queenstown region - last year 30,000 visitors spent an estimated NZ$50 million during the 10-day event.
The celebration which opens on 24 June is now in its 37th year, and has become the highlight of the southern hemisphere’s winter event calendar.
2011 festival programme
The 2011 festival programme includes annual favourites like the opening party and fireworks display, street parade, Mardi Gras, festival ball and ‘Thriller in the Chiller’ charity boxing event - but organisers are also promising some intriguing new festival features across the sports, music, arts, comedy, food and wine spectrum.
Last year major Australian website Yahoo!7Travel ranked the Queenstown Winter Festival amongst the world’s top 10 must-see festivals - rating it higher than famous events like the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, Oktoberfest, and the Sydney and Melbourne festivals.
The economic impact and sustainability report commissioned after the 2010 event confirmed most international visitors are from Australia - many coming to the festival as part of their trans-Tasman skiing holidays.
As usual this year’s event will kick off with a bang - big crowds are expected to attend the opening party on the shores of Lake Wakatipu to enjoy live music, mulled wine, a major fireworks display and revel in the party atmosphere Queenstown is famous for.
Every day and night of the 10-day festival offers an event in some part of the region - from ‘mountain mayhem’ on the slopes of Coronet Peak down to the wacky birdman competition on Queenstown Bay when strangely attired people leap into the freezing waters of Lake Wakatipu.
Queenstown streets will come alive as the Mardi Gras parade, street entertainment, food and wine stalls and live music bring festival visitors to town.
Bikes on snow, frisbee golf, Zumba mania, ‘Stars on Ice’, a dog derby and dog barking competition all promise to fulfil the Queenstown Festival’s reputation for unique and outrageous events.
Organisers say each year they ensure there are plenty of accessible and free events and this year about 75 % of the festival will be free. They say the festival’s success is also due to the fact that it is true to its roots.
"It’s run by the people, for the people and is all about celebrating what we are and where we are. For locals it’s a great chance to get together and celebrate winter living and for visitors it’s a great time to come because town is absolutely buzzing, the ski fields are open and there’s a real party atmosphere," says festival director Simon Green.
He said the festival started in 1975 because some local people thought the start of winter was a good excuse for a party.
"They organised some mountain races, a couple of concerts and a ball and the whole thing just snowballed from there."
Now the festival is the southern hemisphere’s biggest winter party and sees the region’s ski season launched in style. Coronet Peak ski field is due to open on 4 June and the Remarkables ski area on 18 June.
Queenstown’s snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lake and crisp dry climate provide a classic alpine setting for winter and summer holidays.
With some of New Zealand’s best ski areas on the doorstep, and lots of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping in town, Queenstown is a snow-lovers paradise.
Snowfields open from early June, and a good season runs well into October. The Southern Lakes region has a stable climate and southern ski fields rarely close due to bad weather.
The ski fields offer a range of terrain suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders.
Queenstown, the birthplace of the bungy, is known as New Zealand’s adventure capital. Thrill seekers have a wide choice of activities from bungy to jet-boating, swinging across canyons and water sports on the lake and rivers.
Other recreation choices include top international golf courses, award-winning vineyards, cycling and walking tracks, luxury spas, shops, galleries, bars and restaurants.
NZ Regions: Queenstown
Winter in New Zealand
Snow news - 2011 NZ ski season
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