Level 1 water restrictions are in place for Hāwea, Luggate and Arthurs Point. For more information on what this means, please visit our water restrictions webpage.

Summer Services 2023/2024

Here you will find summer related information for the likes of transport, camping, water safety, alcohol restrictions, fire bans and more. 

Alcohol restriction information

Alcohol-free restrictions apply from 6.00am on 25 December through to 6.00am on 6 January the following year in Queenstown and Wānaka. 
  
Alcohol-free areas are also in place from 6.00pm on 26 December to 6.00am on 6 January the following year in locations throughout Arrowtown, Frankton and Lake Hāwea. 
 
Check before you go – all the affected locations can be found on the maps on our website.


Overflow parking

Take the heat out of parking this summer. If you need to drive into town in Queenstown or Wānaka over the Christmas break, there will be free temporary parking at these locations:

  • Wānaka Showgrounds: Monday 18 December - Friday 12 January 2024 (all day parking).

  • Queenstown Primary School (Robins Road): Wednesday 20 December - Sunday 21 January 2024 (max 2 hours parking).

Free parking is also available at the Queenstown Events Centre all day (no parking at night) - highlighted below. It's just a short walk away from the Frankton Bus Hub where you can catch a $2 bus into town!

Other parking options can be found on our parking page.


Getting around the district

Don’t spend your summer break stuck in traffic! It’s our busiest time of year and that always means more cars on the roads trying to get to the best spots. It’s always a bit of a crazy time but if more of us try some of these tips, even just occasionally, it might make things a bit less hectic out there.

  • Avoid peak travel times, or even consider ditching the car for shorter journeys where possible.

  • Choose different modes of transport to ease congestion on our roads – we have plenty of beautiful trails to get you from A to B!

  • Consider using the bus to travel around Whakatipu – it's cheap and easy!

  • Always allow extra time for your journey over this period and avoid getting ‘hangry’ or worse, dehydrated, by making sure you keep plenty of snacks and water in the car – just in case you get stuck for a while. 

And as always, plan ahead for your journey by using Waka Kotahi’s journey planner app.


Check it's alright before you light

The risk of wildfire in our district is high and there are several areas subject to a total fire ban all year round. 

If you live or play in any of these areas, you may not light a fire or use fireworks at any time: 

  • Queenstown Red Zone 

  • Pig Island 

  • Albert Town Recreation Reserve and Campground 

  • Coronet Forest 

  • Mt Iron 

  • Pidgeon Island 

  • Ruby Island 

In other areas, a restricted fire season is now in place. This means no fires without a permit. For full details, including info about the use of backyard fires and BBQs, head to checkitsalright.nz. 


Where you can camp this summer

We welcome responsible campers in the Queenstown Lakes District. For info on where and how to camp responsibly head to our Responsible Camping page.


Heading out on the water?

Boating, floating, swimming or skiing, if you’re heading out onto our lakes and waterways over the holiday season there are some simple precautions we can all take to keep ourselves and others safe.  Remember:

  • Conditions change quickly – always check the weather forecast before heading out and tell someone where you’re going. 

  • Carry two forms of waterproof communication (the Marinemate app has plenty of helpful suggestions).

  • In an emergency call 111 and ask for Police; or if you have a VHF radio, call Channel 16 and say “mayday, mayday, mayday” then state your vessel name and location, then repeat. 

  • Report poor behaviour on the water to the harbourmasater – call 03 441 0499

More safe boating tips can be found on our Lakes and Boating page.

Using a ski lane?

If you’re water-skiing in our district while the weather’s warm and the water’s welcoming, remember to travel in an anti-clockwise direction within any ski lane, and keep right when entering and exiting the area.

You must have an observer (over 10 years old) to report any mishap to the driver. No swimming is allowed in ski lanes, nor is beaching a vessel within one. And finally, you must not exceed 5 knots unless you’re towing a skier. 

For more information on boating in the Queenstown Lakes, head to our Lakes and Boating page.

Taking a dip?

Water quality is prone to change, and even sites with historically excellent water quality can see bacteria spike as a result of heavy rainfall washing contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways. 

As a result, it’s recommended to avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rainfall and checking the ‘Can I Swim Here?’ data. This will help determine whether you’re safe to take a dip, or whether you should settle for a cold shower and shade instead. 

As a general rule of thumb, if you can’t see your feet when standing knee deep, it’s not advisable to swim. 

And always avoid any contact with algal scum. For more details on water quality at a spot near you, head to www.lawa.org.nz/swim


Get wai wise: Use water wisely this summer

Don’t let the wai go dry this summer! As as we start to see warm and dry weather making itself at home in the Queenstown Lakes our water usage will start ramping up. And as we’re some of the biggest water consumers in the country in an area that doesn’t get a whole lot of rain in summer, it’s really important we treat water as a precious resource.

Please use water wisely this summer and try out some of the tips and tricks.

Sign-up for our Community Text Alerts to stay in the know about any changes to our water restrictions below.