Snow Machine is committed to Kaitiakitanga, ensuring we leave the environment better than we found it for future generations to enjoy. Our goal is to reduce our impact throughout the Whakatipu Basin through conscious and informed decision-making across all business operations.

In 2023 we implemented a number of sustainability benchmarks and practices to begin reducing our environmental impact. in 2024 we will continue to work towards our goals of being a 100% waste-free, low-impact event in the Whakatipu Basin by 2026.



Bringing in local food vendors to minimise travel and external impacts, we also have opted for a variety of offerings to ensure we can provide something for most dietary needs. Some of the incredible locals we’ve got on board for this years event are Old Mates Smokehouse, Habebes, and Chur Fish and Chips

Whilst not all vendors are from Central Queenstown this year, we endeavour to be 100% local in 2024. 

If you’re a local business and would be interested in working with us for the 2024 event please get in touch with us by email. 


A festival of our size has the potential to create a significant amount of waste so we’re wanting to reduce, opt for recycling and utilise composting facilities wherever possible to minimise the amount of waste that goes into landfill. To manage this, we aim to constantly assess the incoming and outgoing material, and find ways to constantly improve our practices

Whilst in 2022 we successfully managed to divert 69.73% of waste from landfill we hope to improve this for 2023 and beyond and have partnered with some incredible local organisations to start the work of reducing and recycling, and at the main stage there will be clearly labelled bins to help attendees recycle responsibly. All material collected will methodically be sorted through by the team at Close the Loop to remove any contaminants before being recycled/composted. 

  • Food waste & cardboard
    • All food waste will be composted through a local partner. We are looking for a long-term solution for all compostable material. Unfortunately, although we focus on having home-compostable serveware available (non PLA) there are no composting facilities in Queenstown to accept them. If you have a solution or would like to help, please get in touch with our sustainability team. 
    • Any food that can still be used will be donated to KiwiHarvest who will distribute it to those in need in the wider community.
  • Glass
    • Any glass used on site will be recycled
  • Cardboard
    • All cardboard will be collected and sorted to remove plastics and non recyclable material to then be recycled and reused
  • Aluminium Cans & Wine Caps
    • All cans and wine caps will be collected, pressed into blocks, and recycled. 100% of the funds from this aluminium recycling will be donated to the Queenstown branch of The Lions Club to support their KidneyKids partnership program.
    • Should any other events or businesses want to get involved in supporting the Lions Club in a similar format please get in touch with our Sustainability team.
  • Compostable Cups
    • For 2023 we will be using compostable cups for the bar and water stations. Whilst this is not the most ideal option the cups are commercially compostable, we are working closely with the team to ensure they are correctly composted and kept out of landfill. 
    • We are still exploring options for 2024, if you have any solutions or ideas please contact our Sustainability team.
  • Plastic
    • Our aim is to be a plastic free event, in our merch shop and from the bar we will not be providing any plastic bags or cups. All food vendors will be using compostable serveware with no single use plastic to be available. 
    • Whilst we have these processes in place there is always the possibility that plastic will still make it’s way into this years event, if it does we will take note and put procedures in place to remove and avoid them for future years.
  • Attendees waste
    • The team from Close the Loop will conduct an area sweep at the end of every evening and at the start of every day to ensure any external waste caused by attendees is collected and correctly disposed of, reducing the impact Snow Machine has externally on our immediate environment.

Snow Machine Festival is a smoke free event.


Transportation is a large consideration in the goal to be a low-impact event, and the largest contributing factor to carbon emissions around the event. Whilst accommodation for packages are based within walking distance to Central Queenstown to reduce any excess emissions and potential congestion, there are times that transportation will be required.

For Snow Machine 2024 we in the process of collecting information on all modes of transportation related to the event in a bid to calculate our Carbon Footprint. Once this has been calculated we hope to implement further processes to improve our carbon footprint. 

  • Plane
    • We always encourage travellers to opt-in for carbon offsetting when purchasing airline tickets, if someone hasn’t included it in their ticket we advise reaching out to your airline and asking to add it on. 
  • Transport to/from the Airport
    • Return Airport Transfers: Queenstown Airport has a great list of shuttle and taxi options available. 
    • Public Bus Service: Orbus offers trips for $2 per person and operates multiple routes throughout Queenstown, including a stop at the Airport. To travel on Orbus you can purchase a Bee Card from Paper Plus at the Airport or online, or there is the option to pay with cash should you need but there will be a higher charge for this. 
    • Hire a Car: Whilst we recommend public transportation and mountain transfers as the best forms of transportation whilst in town we understand there are those who want to hire a car. There are many EV rentals available in Queenstown, this can be booked through the team or directly with the rental company. We always advise carrying snow chains when travelling in winter as you never know when you’ll need them.
  • Mountain Transfers
    • We recommend travellers book their return mountain transfers through the Snow Machine Mountain Essentials page. Utilising the mountain transfers reduces the amount of emissions and congestion when compared with individuals driving themselves. It is also the safest option if you have never driven in snow or with snow chains before.
  • Transport to/from the Main Arena
    • We will be running return bus transfers between town and the Main Arena in Frankton. By organising bus transfers we are able to reduce potential congestion and emissions caused by individuals commuting on their own. To book your space on the bus pop into the Snow Machine Shop on Church St, visit the Snow Machine Guest Services at The Station Building, or at the Main Arena if you arrive straight from the mountain. If you have any questions, get in touch with the Snow Machine team.
    • Another option for transport to and from the Main Arena is to utilise public bus service, Orbus. From Central Queentown hop on the Number 1 Bus from Stanley Street Bus Hub and get off at Red Oaks Drive outside of Whakatipu High School. You’ll then, using the traffic lights, be able to cross Hawthorne Drive to access the festival. To view buses and timelines click the link here




By holding Snow Machine in September we’re aiding in extending the snow season and visitation to Queenstown outside of peak snow dates and school holidays. We have also opted to cap tickets sold so that congestion can be properly managed and, where possible, avoided completely.


Locals tickets are available from our Snow Machine shop on Church Street. We have both single days available and weekend passes.


We have recently launched our Inclusion web page thanks to support and guidance from Jezza at Making Trax. This includes information on transportation, carer/companion tickets, our designated viewing platform, and much more.

If there is anything not included on this page, or you have an accessibility question, please get in touch with the Snow Machine Team.


Where available, we will always hire our team locally within the Queenstown-Lakes region and our staff are always paid in accordance with wage standards.


Snow Machine is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion. We recognise we have an opportunity to nurture and maintain an inclusive environment in all aspects of running an event and we take affirmative measures to do so.
We proudly offer equal opportunity for all artists, crew and suppliers irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, cultural background, race, disability or sexual orientation. We actively create an inclusive environment on site at our events, and we respectfully ask all artists, crew and patrons to join us in fostering an inclusive community.

For 2023 we will be completing an anonymous survey amongst our entire team to get a complete understanding of the diversity within our team, and to enable room for growth where possible. 



There are some incredible foundations, organisations and businesses within the Whakatipu Basin who are doing wonderful things in the sustainability, regeneration and community spaces.

If you’re travelling to Queenstown and would like to support, volunteer at, donate to, or simply visit and learn more check out some of the initiatives happening locally.

  • LoveQueenstown
    • Love Queenstown is a non-profit initiative managed by Destination Southern Lakes a collaboration between Destination Queenstown and Lake Wanaka Tourism. Their goal is to create a regenerative tourist economy, where the visitor industry helps enrich this place and the lives of the local community, now and into the future. 
    • There are a number of ways you can support Love Queenstown from donations to volunteering. Visit their website to learn more here.
  • Queenstown Lions Club
    • The Queenstown Lions Club is a community group who participate in environmental, community, and youth projects to collect funds to be used to support the local community.
    • One such project supported by the Lions Club is KidneyKids NZ. A national non-for-profit organisation who provides support to children with kidney disease/disorders and their families.
    • The team at Snow Machine are incredibly proud to be able to support such an incredible community group and help showcase the incredible work they do. 
  • Whakatipu Reforestation Trust
  • NZSki
    • We’re proud to be partnering with NZ Ski for the Snow Machine Festival, and what better way to showcase the incredible landscape of Queenstown than with not one, but two ski fields who are working hard in the sustainability space. 
    • This year the group announced their goals to be carbon neutral by 2030 and have already introduced a number of great initiatives across both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.  
    • Some of these incredible initiatives include, but are certainly not limited to; partnering with Queenstown’s Kea Conservation Trust to create a safe place for kea to reside, revegetating the alpine area with natives alongside the Billion Tree Project, actively recycling and composting whilst reducing waste (90% of tableware they use are either reusable or home-compostable), and an extensive trapping programme. To learn more about what NZ Ski is doing, head over to their website
  • Sustainable Queenstown
    • Formed in 2018, Sustainable Queenstown is a not-for-profit organisation focused on identifying systemic gaps/problems within our environment and community and seeking out like-minded partners to co-create solutions.
    • The team has a number of incredible initiatives in place from events and DISHrupt to consultation services and Kiwi Harvest.
    • As part of our sustainability plan, all food vendors must agree that all food products that are fit for consumption and would otherwise go to waste will be donated to the team at Kiwi Harvest. The incredible team then distributes it to those in need in the wider community.
  • Whakatipu Wildlife Trust 
    • Working with community environmental groups, the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust support, connect, and foster predator control efforts, working towards a predator-free Whakatipu.
    • Collectively the trust has over 1800 traps in the region, and has removed more than 6000 pests from the district! One stoat or rat can destroy an entire nest of bird eggs, which means their hard work has helped protect tens of thousands of chicks and has given them a better chance of surviving adulthood.
    • To check out more about what the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust does, or to donate to their efforts, head on over to their website.
  • Kiwi Park 
    • The mission of Kiwi Park is to help protect and restore native taonga species through managed conservation projects and education.
    • A visit to the Kiwi Park will see you face to face with kiwi, kaka, whio, kea, kereru, and more. Don’t forget to check out the Conservation Show and Kiwi Encounters.
    • All of the Kiwi Parks efforts are funded by visitors, donations, and souvenir sales so, if you’re looking for something to do outside of the festival, make sure you head over and visit the Kiwi Park, discover the incredible native species, and learn more about their conservation programs.


We know the journey towards becoming a sustainable event is a long one, and we plan to work alongside all stakeholders transparently, as we believe this journey is about collaboration and sharing our collective knowledge to ensure best practices are observed within the region.  

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch regarding our Sustainability Plan, please email our Sustainability team. 

We look forward to working alongside our stakeholders on this journey.