Winter Festival dates announced

Queenstown will host the southern hemisphere's biggest and best winter party from June 21 to 30 next year, Destination Queenstown announced on Monday.

The 2013 American Express Queenstown Winter Festival will see tens of thousands of residents and visitors take to the streets for the 38th year to celebrate the official start of the winter season, enjoying fun and frivolity on and off the ski slopes with mountain mayhem, street parades, music, fireworks, comedy, food and wine events, races and live entertainment.

This year's festival was expected to have pumped $57 million into the Queenstown economy.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd said in a statement Winter Festival was a fantastic time for people to visit and enjoy the festivities as part of their winter holiday.

"The festival has proven itself to be a great catalyst for locals and visitors to come together to celebrate the start of the season, experience the buzz around town and enjoy everything the region has to offer.

"Queenstown is an inspiring winter holiday destination - as well as fantastic festival events, there are six skifields close by, a vibrant apres ski scene, and huge range of off-mountain activities for all ages and budgets."

New festival manager Lisa Buckingham said plans for the festival were well under way and there would be plenty of action and excitement for everyone.

"Town will be buzzing so lock the dates in your diary now to experience it for yourself."