It’s time to show your pride! Here’s your ultimate guide to hitting Winter Pride in ultimate style – so grab your best Judy and head to the snow!
As the snow-capped mountains of Queenstown begin to fill up with holidaymakers ready to shred the snow, there is one particularly special time of year for LGBTIQ+ travellers marked on the calendar; Winter Pride (26 August – 4 September). It’s the largest winter pride festival in the Southern Hemisphere celebrating love, diversity, community, visibility, safety and inclusion.
For 61% of Kiwi rainbow travellers who, according to research by our mates at Booking.com, have experienced less-than-welcoming or uncomfortable, experiences when travelling, Winter Pride offers a safe space that celebrates who they are. So, we’ve rounded up the top events and places to stay, all Travel Proud certified, so guests can be sure to have a welcoming experience!
Opening Party, Saturday 27 August | 9pm
What better way to kick off Winter Pride in style! With a stunner lineup of events for 2022, this debut party night promises to not disappoint. As most of the attendees filter into town, the opening party is the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends or make some new ones. The 18+ opening party boasts fantastic DJ sets and exciting pop-up shows from local LGBTIQ+ talent during a raucous and memorable night out.
Where to stay: For those wanting to spend most of their time (and money) out and about, JUCY Snooze Queenstown is just the ticket with budget friendly modern spaces for all travellers. Offering comfy quarters, a rooftop bar with views of Lake Wakatipu, and an excellent location this the ideal base for all your Winter Pride festivities.
The Lavender Lounge: Queerlesque, Sunday 28 and Monday 29 August | 7pm
Of course any Winter Pride festival worth its grain in salt would not be complete without a cabaret show or two. Immerse yourself in this cabaret of curiosities, featuring award-winning burlesque, boylesque, drag and cabaret from LGBTIQ+ artists from all over New Zealand. You’ll enjoy delicious drinks and a delightful night of performance and revelry emceed by the one and only Mr Lola Illusion. Held at Yonder and featuring performances by Kiki Kisses, The Bombay Bombshell, Verona Vega and more, this one is sure to be a night to remember.
Where to stay: If you’re after a home away from home, you’ll want to book at the Oaks Queenstown Shores Resort where you can have an apartment-style hotel nestled on the shores of Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu. Away from the hustle and bustle, yet still less than 10 minutes from town, the property offers stunning views over the lake and surrounding mountain ranges.
Western AF, Tuesday 30 August | 9pm
Leave the city life behind for a night out in the wild wild West. Saloon girls and bucks, outlaws and sheriffs alike get ready for a night down the old town road to remember. Your dress code for this fine occasion is western realness, so think hats, holsters, chaps, spurs and, of course, oodles of swagger. Show your pride and originality however you like, this is the place to be yourself. The swish lineup includes DJ Harry K, DJ Miss Minutes, DJ Jay Moore, Lori Crandall and more. This 18+ event is hosted by the iconic Queenstown bar, Winnies.
Where to stay: The Mercure Queenstown Resort is the perfect place to hang up your cowboy boots after a night of dancing. Located on a vantage point overlooking the Remarkables Mountains and Lake Wakatipu, it features a spa pool and a sauna, ideal for a recovery after a big night to prepare you for the day ahead.
Pride Colour Run, Friday 2 September | 2pm
The Pride Colour Run is an opportunity to show your pride as you ski or board down one of the most stunning slopes in New Zealand with as much colour as possible. The dress code here is… loud! Think sequins, drag, pride flags and feather boas. Whether it’s silly, sexy, outrageous or just special to you, the Colour Run is your chance to let your true colours shine. Best of all, get your Proud Portrait taken and printed by iconic queer photographer Becki Moss for a gold coin donation to OutLine Aotearoa, matched by Booking.com. The Colour Run kicks off at 2.00pm down the main slope of The Remarkables. Be sure to get there early to make sure you’re ready!
Where to stay: The Holiday Inn Queenstown Remarkables Park has everything you could want – picture perfect views, prime location and modern facilities. Driving distance from The Remarkables, and a short drive from the town centre, it makes the perfect home base while attending Winter Pride festivities, especially the Pride Colour Run.
Propaganda SnowBall, Saturday 3 September | 9pm
After four consecutive sold-out years, PROPAGANDA returns as a final Saturday night party for Winter Pride 2022. This year’s theme is SNOWBALL, so prepare for an icy wonderland! Dress to show your wintery pride whether that’s faux fur or snowy glamour. This event promises to be an extravagant evening, with sexy stage shows, fabulous drag, talented dancers and, of course, fantastic DJ sets from DJ Jordan Eskra and very special guests including Kita Mean. You’ll also be able to get a Proud Portrait snapped by Becki Moss for a gold coin donation, ready to print as the ultimate keepsake of a night you won’t want to forget. All proceeds are matched by Booking.com and go to OutLine Aotearoa.
Where to stay: A long luxurious stay, you say? Well there can only be one place, The Views luxury holiday home. Featuring lake views, this is a four bedroom luxury home that sleeps up to six people, perfect for a group of friends heading to Winter Pride for a week of fun.
Those travelling to Queenstown or across the globe, looking for LGBTQ+ friendly travel accommodation or activities, can find safe and inclusive travel options on Booking.com through their Travel Proud badge.