Queenstown is a village nestled on the North cusp of Lake Wakatipu in the Lakes district of Otago, New Zealand. The dramatic rocky cliffs of the Southern Alps set a gorgeous backdrop for one of the most adventurous places on earth. There are two incredible ski fields, Cardrona and Coronet Peak, which offer a wintry Narnia backdrop, worthy of cinematography awards, alongside the snowboarding or skiing adventure. The bungy jumping, sky-diving, luge riding adrenaline junkies are drawn to Queenstown along with corporate conference-goers, back-packers & walkers for the Kepler, Routeburn or Milford tracks. Whether you find in yourself in Queenstown before a great walk, a relaxing holiday, a quick bungy or for work, you will no doubt find yourself roaming around the alleys of the pint-sized CBD looking for a decent feed. Here are some of my favourites:
- Vudu Cafe & Larder.
This narrow cafe on the waterfront has a modern cafe vibe mixed with an understated, retro, nostalgic vibe. The jam jar lids as table numbers and original art within bevelled frames gives it character, however, is upstaged completely by the quality and unexpected dishes offered. Yesterday morning I had a rocket, cheddar and thyme scone that was delectable. They use AllPress espresso beans for their coffees, and make a wicked flat white (in a tulip cup). There are great gf & vegan options in the cabinet & on the menu.
- Ivy & Lola’s. This vintage spot on the waterfront is adorable in decor. With its wall full of retro home radios and displayed dishes, you will feel transported back in time. It’s diverse and sophisticated menu will offer surprising dishes for any appetite.
Don’t let its looks deceive you. Even though it opens out onto Mall Street, the main tourist drag in Queenstown, the upstairs dining room is a cosy getaway, with a gold-miner vibe. The food lived up to its name. I highly recommend the Pit Master Platter. Even though my husband and I were barely able to get through half of it, each meat was incredibly carefully cooked, and the mac & cheese to die for. Also, if you’re into interiors like me, make sure to take a trip to the loos…they are a refreshing blend of old & new.
- Ballarat Trading Co. This restaurant is a dark, Victorian styled pub with a great range of beers on tap. The vibe is definitely a relaxed sports pub, however, the Victorian artefacts and wood panelling give it a cool vibe. You’ll definitely find your hearty pub food, but with modern mouth-watering variations that make your dining experience top-notch.
- Joe’s Garage. While this incredibly laid-back diner has exploded into locations around NZ, don’t forget that it all started in the old Post-Office sorting room in Queenstown. The tight restaurant has a neighbourhood feel, and you can sit right up at the bar watching the chefs cook your breakfast in the open kitchen. They do a mean bacon buttie called the “Sweetie”.