You can tell Queenstown is a very touristy town just by how many food and bar options there are in a very small radius. People joke that all their money disappears in Queenstown because of all the activities you can do and the amazing food. I’m highlighting some of my favorite spots, but I by no means got to even scratch the surface:
Perhaps one of the best meals I had in a while. Their menu boasts that it, “speaks to health and wellbeing with no compromise on flavor,” and it’s true. The menu was full of yummy dishes with fresh ingredients. There were also many vegan options that weren’t just an after thought on the menu. Once you order you can choose if you want sparkling or still water before heading out to the cute patio to eat.
A very aesthetically pleasing brunch spot. The menu made it hard to decide with all the delicious options. We all cleared our plates. They also had a craft cocktail list that was unlike anything I have seen before. I had the Bring the Beet Back, a passionfruit/pineapple/beetroot cocktail.
The classic – a trip to Queenstown is not complete without a stop here. By stop I mean waiting 40 minutes in line just to order a burger and fries, but it’s a right of passage that marks that you have actually had a true QT trip. The insider tip is to call ahead to place your order, but after 50 phone calls we didn’t have any luck connecting. They had two burgers that could be made vegan, the Ferg-lafel and the Holier Than Thou. I liked the Ferg-lafel, but the other one recommend to definitely skip as it was just a chunk of tofu and lacked flavor. My friends who actually got burger burgers liked theirs, but nobody really had a life changing meal or were mind blown. That being said we all ate our entire burger leaving no scraps behind. If I had to compare (and again I didn’t have the meat either time) I would say that the place in Hahei was better.
Really interesting name I know. This is a pizza spot that our driver recommended to us. Coming from NYC and New Jersey I’m never the person to suggest pizza in a different country outside of Italy – until now. Again it wasn’t the best pizza in the world, but it was good and this place is more about overall vibes than the food itself. Firstly, they have a great happy hour with discounted drinks and appetizers. Secondly, Fat Badgers is really great for big groups. You can order a couple of pies to share around a big table. Thirdly, they can make any pizza vegan, which is an awesome accommodation. This spot was great and I would suggest it to anyone looking for a happy hour/place to grab a bite before going out.
Really hip dinner spot. It was bustling with people. This Asian fusion restaurant would be a great date spot or somewhere to celebrate in a big group. The menu is made up of classic street foods from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand all in a shareable tapas-like design. There’s an open concept/chef’s table kitchen so you can see food being prepared if sitting at the “bar.” They didn’t really have anything vegan on the menu so they made something to accommodate. I really suggest this spot. If you have a bigger group or go at a busier time it may be a good idea to make a reservation.
Calling all sweet lovers this is the spot for you. Only serving up desserts and blasting throw back music (think Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend) this is the place to come for a sugar high. They also have a cookie happy hour with buy one get one cookies in the afternoons.
There is something to do every night in Queenstown. Whether you want to dance, go on a bar crawl, drink out of a tea pot or out of an ice cube, play pool and watch sports there’s a bar for you within a 5 minutes walking distance from the center of town. So many options. Most restaurants turn into bars and I also noticed that many had two sets of happy hours – one during the typical 5-6ish time frame and the other later at night starting around 9pm.
Nice happy hour spot. They serve signature cocktails in tea pots and the ambiance before the actual “party starts” so to speak was cozy – string lights, wooden furniture, and booths to sit and chat. Later in the night the music turns up and the evening we went the DJ wasn’t particularly good. It got crowded and loud and if that was my only impression it wouldn’t be making this list, but as it stands the chilled out version of this bar is great. It’s right across the street from Nomads and right next to Yonder so the positioning is great for bar hoping.
This is where you want to go if you want to dance. We went on a Saturday night and the DJ was fantastic. You walk downstairs and you feel like you’re entering someone’s basement party. Really good times and a good, mixed crowd.
It’s a bigger space so it can accommodate more people. When I went it wasn’t crowded whatsoever and the music level still allowed for conversations. They also serve pizza here so this would be a perfect starting spot for your night too – grab a bite and a pint and then head out.
Small bar this time on the second floor. We went out earlier so it was still pretty tame and I have no idea how it can actually get later in the night. They had board games and Jenga and a fireplace that would be lovely to sit around in winter. I think this would be a perfect spot to head to after hitting the slopes.
I really don’t want to add this bar on this list. It’s a hostel bar as it’s right under Base and when you walk in it smells like a college bar and your shoes are sticking to the ground. That being said they have a pub crawl 6 days a week which goes to five bars including the Ice Bar. For Stray passengers the tickets for the pub crawl only were $15 or you could get a meal for an additional $10 (I think non-Stray attendees paid an addition $5). For perspective the admission to the Ice Bar alone is $25. Come here for the pub crawl only to get acquainted with the bars your first night in Queenstown and then never look back. The pub crawl itself was really fun. At every bar there’s some kind of game or activity and a chance to win a bar tab. I won a limbo competition for $20!
If you’ve never been or heard of an ice bar it is exactly what it sounds like. You put on a big coat and gloves and go into a freezing cold room (I think this one was -10 Celsius, 14 Fahrenheit) filled with ice sculptures. The drinks are usually themed and served in an ice glass. It is cool to see especially on a hot summer’s night because of the drastic difference in temperature, but I think it’s a one and done type of situation. You wouldn’t keep going back after being to an ice bar once. I went to an Ice Bar in NYC a couple of years ago so I wasn’t pushing to got, but it was part of the bar crawl. Like I said admission to this bar alone is more expensive than the bar crawl itself.
Switching up the night from going out to something more chill there’s a pool hall in town. They had maybe six or more tables, a foosball table, and different sport games playing around the bar. Games of pool were $2 each. They were also playing throwback, punk music (think Green Day and Blink 182) so it was just a cool vibe.
There’s so many places around I’m sure you’ll find something you enjoy in Queenstown. If you don’t have a New Zealand or Australian ID make sure you bring your passport out with you as they are pretty strict in Queenstown.