Is Winter Pride in Queenstown worth making the trip to New Zealand for queer travellers?
Winter generally isn’t much fun, unless you’re properly equipped with some skis and a hip flask. At its best during the colder months, winter in Queenstown is all fresh deep snow, blue skies, and streets teeming with attractive men in expensive winter wear.
This is the South Island of New Zealand, and Queenstown is the action adventure centre of it all – there’s no better time to visit than during the annual Gay Ski Week celebrations which are showcased as Winter Pride.
While it would be unusual these days to find a ski resort that isn’t LGBTQ friendly, the ski slopes of the world aren’t generally awash with other queer people. Events such as Winter Pride in Queenstown are a sensible way to try and coordinate the skiing holidays of the world’s LGBTQ skiiers – they’ve been a firm fixture on the calendar in Europe and North America for a number of years now. It’s a concept that works.
Queenstown is a stunning part of the world. It’s kind of obvious to talk about The Hobbit and how it showcases the breathtaking scenery of the South Island’s mountains, but New Zealand really is a little world of its own. Remote in every sense, the archipelago of islands that we now know as New Zealand broke away from the larger land masses very early in it’s development, so there’s an incredible array of fauna and flora that is unique to these islands.
The approach into Queenstown airport takes you through the rugged mountain ranges – the final approach provides an exciting glimpse of the dramatic landscape that awaits down below.
Winter Pride is a big deal on the Queenstown calendar. The streets are festooned with rainbow banners, and the local shops are all involved. Winter Pride attracts around 1,500 LGBTQ visitors each year, so it clearly is a significant shot in the arm for the local economy.
There is a lot more to Queenstown than just skiing or boarding - this would have to be the adventure sports capital of the world, with everything from white water rafting, to river jet boats, river surfing, and bungee jumping if you really want to get the adrenaline pumping. Or, you can simply admire the stunning views across Lake Wakatipu.
The format of Winter Pride is that everyone is pretty much left to their own devices during the day to go skiing, or explore any of the other activities that Queenstown offers, and then there are ticketed events held each night which brings everyone together.
Winter Pride party schedule
This year’s big ticketed parties are:
- Opening Party “Club Tropicana”
- Military Party
- Urge Underwear (men only)
- Leather and Lace
- Propaganda White – official closing party
- Ladies Night feat DJ Modella (women only)
- Pride Cruise Party feat DJ Mason Andrews
- Cabaret Wars “Queenstown’s Got Talent” with Kita and Anita
- Games Night – Cards Against Humanity with Hugo Grrrl