A snow surprise brought joy to tourists but headaches for many residents in the Wakatipu Basin yesterday.

Wet, heavy snow to a low level toppled trees, closed roads and cut power to more than 1800 households across the region.

MetService meteorologist April Clark said another cold front was expected to hit the area overnight, with the freezing level dropping to 500m.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council said its contractors were gearing up for more snow today and tomorrow.


Wednesday night's fall cut power to homes and businesses in Arrowtown, Dalefield, Lower Shotover, Lake Hayes, Gibbston, Millbrook and Glenorchy.

It brought down trees and branches across the Wakatipu, particularly on State Highway 6.

Aurora Energy spokesman Gary Johnson said about 50 customers in the Paradise and Routeburn areas near Glenorchy remained without power yesterday evening.

The outages were caused by snow weighing down tree branches, causing them to contact overhead power lines, Mr Johnson said.

Queenstown ski field Coronet Peak, which closed a fortnight ago, reported 30cm of fresh snow, while across the basin at The Remarkables, which closed on October 2, about 40cm fell and the access road was shut.

The Wanaka area was relatively untouched, with snow falling only at a high level in the mountains.

Jerven Zhang was among a busload of overseas visitors that stopped at the foot of Coronet Peak to admire the snowscape and photograph ewes and lambs.

The Chinese national, who lives in Sydney, said the snow was "so bloody beautiful".

"This is a very fascinating and unique experience for me.

"I'm so, so happy because the weather was terrible yesterday and our activities were cancelled - we're very grateful."