Learn whether Queenstown New Zealand is a busy place and if this is the case, when exactly Queenstown is busy.



What is busy? Let us first define what busy is in terms of Queenstown.

Queenstown is still very much a “town” and not a “city”. While it is growing rapidly, there still aren’t a huge amount of people living there.

You could call it a small city, since it does have its own airport and is slowly being inundated by American fast food outlets.


Back to my definition of busy. Busy is when it takes me longer than 5 minutes to get onto the main road in or out of Queenstown. Busy is when traffic is moving at a snail’s pace through Queentown city center or when it takes me longer than 5 minutes to get through Queenstown city center on my way to Glenorchy. Busy is when I cannot find a free parking space at the Queenstown Gardens. All of the aforementioned may occasionally happen in Queenstown, but is not the norm.

Driving out of Queenstown in June, South Island, New Zealand

Compared to other larger cities in New Zealand (Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington), it is almost never too busy in Queenstown, except perhaps when the Queenstown winter festival is taking place.

While at times cars may be driving bumper to bumper, you almost never get stuck in traffic. Traffic generally moves along smoothly, even when there are many cars on the road such as for example during peak hours of the day between 7 and 9 a.m. and between 4 and 6 p.m.

However, there are certain times of the year when there are fewer tourists in Queentown. I’ve visited Queenstown in all seasons and have found that early to mid-spring (September and October) seems to be the least busy time in Queenstown.

Summer and winter are the seasons when Queenstown is at its busiest: Summer because of the good weather so everybody is out and about; winter because of tourists visiting the ski fields around Queenstown.

Autumn lies somewhere in between. Queenstown is not as busy in autumn as it is in summer/winter. During autumn, Queenstown is also not as busy as Arrowtown, which is much smaller than Queenstown and gets an influx of tourists during autumn. This also applies to Wanaka, although Wanaka is much larger than Arrowtown.

Rippled mountain reflections in Lake Wakatipu, South Island, New Zealand

However, don’t let any of what I’ve written here put you off, because it is very easy to find quiet spots in Queenstown. I won’t reveal my quiet spot in Queenstown (sorry), but trust me, you can drive to almost anywhere along Lake Wakatipu to enjoy some time alone with yourself or with loved ones.




Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details
directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.