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Queenstown’s key spring event listings (Oct-Dec 2012)

A calendar of dates for the diary

Queenstown’s key spring event listings (Oct-Dec 2012)

Queenstown’s calendar is packed with events, festivals and things to see and do all year round. From exhibitions and sporting events to cultural festivals and nightlife entertainment, there's so much for visitors to experience and savour. Here's a taste of what's in store from October to December 2012:

TSS Earnslaw Centenary Celebrations – 14-22 October

This is a once-in-a-century event not to be missed!

Join in the week-long party to celebrate the 100th birthday of the TSS Earnslaw, the last hand coal-fired, passenger-carrying steamship in the Southern Hemisphere.

On 18th October 1912, large crowds gathered at Queenstown Bay for the launch of the TSS Earnslaw and it created such a stir that a public holiday was declared the next day so people could take a special trip to Glenorchy. Now, 100 years later Queenstown’s much loved vintage steamship, affectionately known as the ‘Lady of the Lake’, is set to create another stir at locals and visitors alike turn out for her centenary celebrations. Events include special lake cruises, period costumes, bands, entertainment, food and lots of activities for the family.

Discovery of Gold 150 year Celebrations – 19-22 October

In October 2012 the Queenstown Lakes District celebrates 150 years since Gold was discovered in the Arrow and surrounding rivers. A reenactment of the Gold Rush 150 years ago, complete with gold miners staking their claim, horses, wagon and dancing girls, is just one of many events planned for Arrowtown. The Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust will also be holding the New Zealand Gold Panning Championship on Sunday 21 October.

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Glenorchy will also host a series of events for residents and visitors to celebrate the people and the stories of the past including a 1950s dance, period costumes, bands, entertainment, food, family activities and a ‘Picnic in Paradise’ are planned for Labour Weekend.

Key events during the Earnslaw and Gold 150 celebrations:
Thursday 18 October

TSS Earnslaw Official 100th Birthday

Re-enactment of maiden passenger voyage

Step back in time to experience the first official voyage of the TSS Earnslaw. Steam from Queenstown to Kingston aboard the steamship where you will be met by the vintage Kingston Flyer steam train. In keeping with the theme, staff will be dressed in period costumes and passengers are also encouraged to dress for the occasion. Upon the TSS Earnslaw's return to Queenstown’s Steamer Wharf, the party will continue with plenty of fun including live music, vintage cars, penny farthing bikes and a town crier.
One hour centenary cruises will be held in Frankton Arm following the re-enactment cruise to allow as many people as possible to go on board to mark the Earnslaw’s official 100th birthday on the day.


Saturday 20 October

Gold Rush Re-enactment of 1862

Relive the Gold Rush of 1862 through a re-enactment which will take place on the banks of the Arrow River in Arrowtown. It will involve around 200 volunteers playing the parts of the early settlers, horses and wagons, and themed music.

Saturday 20 October

Chinese Village Theatre and interpretation panel unveiling

After a traditional Chinese welcome including a Chinese Dragon, Lion Dancers and fire crackers to ward off evil spirits, new simplified Mandarin interpretative panels around Arrowtown’s Chinese Village will be unveiled to the public telling stories about the life of the Chinese miners. This will be followed by a theatre show in huts around the Village to bring these stories to life.

Consulate General Madam Tan will be the official guest of honour at the event.


Saturday 20 October

TSS Earnslaw Woolshed Party

Celebrate the Earnslaw’s birthday in style with a cruise to Mount Nicholas Station on the far shores of Lake Wakatipu and a special 100th birthday bash. Includes a live band and entertainment in the woolshed.


Sunday 21 October

TSS Earnslaw High Country Station Cruise- Queenstown to Glenorchy

Turn the clock back and retrace the historical freight and mail routes, via the lakeside high country stations, taken by the TSS Earnslaw on its way to the Head of the Lake and Glenorchy.

The cruise has a 1900s-inspired theme with entertainment, morning/afternoon tea and intriguing tales from historians on board.

Many old identities from Glenorchy and further afield will join the Earnslaw for this nostalgic cruise.

Sunday 21 October

New Zealand Gold Panning Championships

Arrowtown will host the 2012 New Zealand Gold Panning Championships, run by the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust. This event attracts national and international interest and showcases New Zealand’s best gold panners in action.

Queenstown Jazz Festival – 19-21 October

Local, national and international artists showcase their talents across all genres of jazz as they take part in a three-day musical feast around Queenstown at Labour Weekend. From cool blues and big band swing to funky R&B and Latin beats there’s something to get everyone’s toes tapping.

Heath Franklin's Chopper - The (s)Hitlist – 20 November

Australia's Most Wanted comedian Chopper (Heath Franklin), as seen on TV3’s infamous comedy satire show ‘7 Days’, will be performing at the Arrowtown Hall as part of his New Zealand tour.

New Year’s Eve downtown – 31 December

New Year’s Eve goes off with a bang each year in downtown Queenstown with a spectacular lakeside fireworks display, live music and parties in the streets.

For a full list of events and festivals taking place in Queenstown in 2012-2013, please visit:


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