Queenstowners take on Lake Wakatipu for Day on the Bay


Queenstown's Winter Festival moved to the waterfront this afternoon for the Day on the Bay, where competitors dressed up, stripped down and jumped on makeshift rafts -- all in the name of entertainment.

It's one of the crowd-pleasing events of Queenstown's Winter Festival -- Birdman entrants dressing up in colourful costumes and flying creations, so they can plunge into the freezing cold waters of Lake Wakatipu.

And while the waters were a bit on the chilly side, dance routines were a popular way to try and warm up before taking the leap.

One romantic Dirty Dancing tribute had plenty of flair, though it didn't quite get the same lift-off as in the classic film.

"[We] put a bit of practice into it. The last couple of years we've been watching it, so now getting up there and doing it is pretty cool," a participant said.

Just along the beach was another popular event -- the Undy 500 obstacle race. Costumes there were as brief as the training done by most of the competitors, while more than 60 girls and guys braved the conditions to strut their stuff in front of a large crowd.

Invercargill mum Kylea Gough took out the women's obstacle race.

"Yes, I've always sat and watched. And [this year] my husband said, 'You should give it a go,'" she said.

It was a pirate-themed finish to the day, with the new Raft Race. Ironically, a crew of plumbing experts were the first to spring a leak, while Shotover Jet's crew slowed down on the water to claim the inaugural raft race, with seven days of festivities to come.