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Queenstown winter recommendations

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
922 posts
23 reviews
43 helpful votes
Queenstown winter recommendations

Hi All,

We are going to Queenstown from 10th August to 17 August 2024. We been to South Island in 2022 December and loved it. We did the Franz Joseph Glacier and Milford Sound.

Our main goal this time is to see snow and so some activities for beginners on the snow and also visit mount cook.

We need your help just like before to plan our 7 nights stay.

1) Accommodation do we stay in Queenstown or Mt Cook or do half and half?

2) Where can we see snow during our stay?

3) What beginner activities can we do on the snow?

4) What are the must dos?

5) Hire car Avis and do we need snow chains?

We would like to book accommodation within this weekend.

20 replies to this topic
New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,795 posts
749 reviews
511 helpful votes
1. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

In the Queenstown Lakes District and Milford Sound, a bylaw has been introduced that every vehicle must carry snow chains in winter, so yes you need chains. And know how to fit.

Snow isnt your main concern as the roads can be closed at night, but the graders do try to keep the roads open as much as possible. Ice and black ice is your main concern.

dont drive before 10am, or after 5pm on roads outside the cities and towns.

i would hire a awd or 4wd if i were driving alpine roads in winter.

i would suggest 5 or 3 nights in aueenstoen and 2 or 3 nights at mt cook national park would give you time to explore and do activities and hiking and snow.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
922 posts
23 reviews
43 helpful votes
2. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

Thank you so much.

So after landing in Queenstown shall we stay in Mt Cook for three nights directly and then 4 nights in Queenstown city?

In Queenstown Holiday Inn fits our budget and Mt Cook do you have any recommendations nearby snow activities?

Is there winter wonderland sort of activities in Queenstown?

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island, Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand, Tonga
Level Contributor
24,795 posts
749 reviews
511 helpful votes
3. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

no, i suggest you stay in queenstown on arrival. dont drive after an international flight, especially on possible icy roads.

there will be snow on the mountains around queenstown and skifields operating.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, New Zealand, Tasmania
Level Contributor
28,309 posts
440 reviews
245 helpful votes
4. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

I would do

3 nights in Queenstown maybe a day trip to the Cardrona Ski fields. Hire a car on day 4 for 3 nights/4 days

2 nights in Mt Cook Book accommodation NOW

2 Night in Wanaka the snow capped mountains viewed from the lake are awesome. You will also get to see that Wanaka Tree.

on day 8 Drive to airport and return rental fly back to Sydney.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
922 posts
23 reviews
43 helpful votes
5. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

Great thanks a lot. We been to Wanaka and saw the tree. For some reason with all that hype we didn’t like it much.

We would like to skip Wanaka so would you suggest spending more time in Queenstown or split between Mt Cook? Or are there any other points of interest specifically during Winter?

If we rent Nissan X-trail do we still need snow chains? I’m getting a good deal from my wife’s company perks Avis 8 days $483NZ with excess reduction.

Oh and for Mt Cook which area would you recommend for seeing snow when we wake up. A bit far on the Alps like Switzerland would be nice too.

Queenstown hotel we know which ones.

Edited: 06 May 2024, 02:53
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
922 posts
23 reviews
43 helpful votes
6. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

We can’t get anything in Mt Cook only 3 resorts.

Aoraki Mountain Lodge $750 AUD for 3 nights.

I’m not getting something the last leg shouldn’t we stay in Queenstown so that it’s easier to catch our 11am flight?

If we drive from Mt Cook who knows what might happen. I’ll be in panic to reach the airport.

California
Destination Expert
for New Zealand
Level Contributor
18,818 posts
71 reviews
33 helpful votes
7. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

I'd do 3 nights Queenstown, 3 nights Mount Cook, and the last night in Queenstown for your morning flight the next day.

There are more than 3 places to stay in Mount Cook:

Hermitage Hotel: http://www.hermitage.co.nz/

Mount Cook Lodge: https://www.hermitage.co.nz/stay/mt-cook-lodge/

Mount Cook Motel: https://www.hermitage.co.nz/stay/mt-cook-motels/

Aoraki Court Motel: http://www.aorakicourt.co.nz/

Aoraki Alpine Lodge: http://aorakialpinelodge.co.nz

Haka House: https://hakahouse.com/aoraki-mt-cook/

20-minutes away from Mt Cook village is Glentanner Park: http://www.glentanner.co.nz/

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
922 posts
23 reviews
43 helpful votes
8. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

Thank you so much. This sounds great. We are now considering two nights in Mount Cook. We are not good hikers but would like to see the mountain driving around.

Let’s say we do this

- one night in Queenstown after international travel

- next day drive to Mount Cook and stay 2 nights

- 5 nights in Queenstown. We will have 4 days in Queenstown to see snow and plan out day trips.

What do you think?

California
Destination Expert
for New Zealand
Level Contributor
18,818 posts
71 reviews
33 helpful votes
9. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

The itinerary in post #8 is fine, but how many nights do you have? I reread your original post and if you arrive on the 10th and depart on the 17th, that's 7 nights. Your most recent post suggests 8 nights.

Edited: 06 May 2024, 04:51
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
922 posts
23 reviews
43 helpful votes
10. Re: Queenstown winter recommendations

Ah yes you are right. We got 7 nights and 8 days.

We booked our first night in Queenstown - Heritage Queenstown $277 AUD (no view) and The Heritage Hotel Mt Cook for two nights $850 AUD.

We are now looking for our final 4 nights in Queenstown and everything seems so expensive even so far ahead. Is this the normal accommodation?

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