Queenstown is known to many as the adventure capital of the world. There are literally thousands of articles out there on which bridge you should jump from (this one!) and on which slope you should slide from (that one!). Only a few however tell you about Queenstown and its food. Now, I don’t know about you but the first thing I do when researching a place I am going to travel to is look up the food that I must eat there! I do travel to eat so one could call me a bit of an extremist but my belief is that twenty years from now when you’re boasting about all the places you visited “when I was your age”, you may forget about that museum of clocks but you will still remember the joy you experienced biting into that burger after a long day of hiking.
I’ve been to Queenstown three times in the past six years, each time with a completely different set of people. What stays constant though is the food haunts that I take all my friends to. Mind you, this is not a list of top ‘restaurants’ to eat at, more a list of cool places that do cool things with food. Make sure you stop in at atleast one (who am i kidding? you must stop at ALL) of these and your tummy will bless me. So, in no particular order of awesome-ness, here goes:
1. Start your day at Ferg Baker
An off-shoot of the world famous burger outlet that I mention below, the Ferg Baker opened in 2011. They dish out hot coffee throughout the day – something which you’ll need as Queenstown is quite cool any time of the year you visit – and Queenstown’s BEST pies! If you’ve done any research on New Zealand then you know that you can’t come to NZ and not have a pie – it is practically a kiwi tradition.
But, don’t waste your precious calories trying the pies at Jesters, McDonalds or the thousands of petrol outlets because what you get at Ferg Baker is the real deal! Actual juicy pieces of mutton and cheese encased in pastry that’s baked fresh every day. Try their Venison pie if you’d like a bite of South Island’s bambi or their Mince and Cheese is a kiwi classic. For those with a sweet tooth, their lemon meringue pie is the perfect early morning treat.
2. Shop for Souvenirs at the Remarkable Sweet Shop
If you have family like mine that have sweet-tooths the size of a T-Rex then the Remarkable Sweet Shop is where you need to head. Stuffed to the brim with lollies, fudges, nougat and chocolate this place is a child (or adults) fantasy. If you’d like to pick up kitschy kiwi souvenirs then head directly to the shelf that stocks the Sheep Droppings or Cow Patties.
However, if you fancy yourself to be a true kiwi then you want to grab the Gummy Snakes, Chocolate Fish, Milk Bottles, Pineapple Lumps and Licorice. They offer you free tastings of their fudge and I’d recommend you pick some up unless you’re heading up north towards Hokitika in which case you shouldn’t as they have a much better fudge shop there.
Out of all the lollies I’ve had from the sweet shop, my favourite are the Big Gummy Lemons. They are totally refreshing yet addictive at the same time – I even ordered some from Auckland for #BawiMummy recently who is also a big fan of them.
3. A light lunch at Vudu Cafe
After you’ve picked up your haul of sweets and wandered around the streets of Queenstown or indulged in a jump or two, it’s time to grab a quick bite at Vudu Cafe. Located on the central Beach Street, Vudu cafe has a very cozy feeling and a European ambience as you look into its big bay windows. It is a very tiny place so if you find a seat, get that first before you head over to the food.
An award-winning cafe, Vudu serves up locally roasted coffee and are known for their home baking including treats like banana bread, friands, and ginger-crunch. While the cafe menu can be a bit pricey ($18 – $25) don’t let this disappoint.
Try some of their treats from the cabinet such as their Chicken and Bean Burrito or their Sun-dried tomato and feta pie and accompany this with a mug of hot mocha. The highlight of your food journey is about to come next so I highly recommend that you don’t stuff yourself!
4. Gorge on the best burger on this planet at Ferg’s Burger
I’ve not just made this up. Earlier this year, CNN voted the burgers at Ferg Burger as the best burgers on the planet. Now, I know that you may be thinking that I am fibbing and how so-and-so place does them better but trust me, going to Queenstown and not eating at Ferg’s is like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower.
Open for 21 hours a day, Ferg’s started as a hole-in-the-wall burger joint in the year 2000. 14 years later, Ferg’s is still only in that one location in Queenstown but they sure dish out some amazing burgers. Be prepared to queue up and wait atleast 20 minutes for your burger but trust me, you will not be disappointed! The portions are simply huge and the taste is great as Ferg’s uses locally sourced ingredients and makes their own buns and patties!
You can try the Little Lamby for the classic kiwi flavours of mint and lamb though my favourite is the Sweet Bambi which features the famous Fiordland Venison and is paired with plum sauce and aioli (my mouth is drooling as I write this!). Accompany your burger with some Kumara Chips and your tummy will bless you – don’t get too stuffed though, there is still one more stop!
5. Icecream on the Lakefront at Patogonia’s
Delicious hot chocolate, home-made chocolates and the best ice-cream, Queenstown has to offer, Patagonia’s is also conveniently located at the lake front and offers stunning summer sunset views of the Wakatipu Lake. To me, Patagonia’s is the perfect end (or a beginning – there is no rule that you can’t have ice-cream for breakfast on holiday) to a delicious day in Queenstown.
They serve up a range of chocolates and desserts like the Banana Split that can be a bit heavy on the wallet, especially if you come here every night you are in Queenstown like myself. So, I recommend you stick to their seasonal ice creams which is what they are best known for. My favourites are the Mascarpone and Forest Berry and the Chocolate – Macadamia. Don’t leave without trying their Mexican Hot Chocolate though which is just pure melted chocolate. To enjoy it best, sit outside where it gets chilly at night and snuggle into your hot chocolate – you can thank me later!
So that’s it! My definitive list of must-visit food haunts in Queenstown? Have you been to Queenstown yet? What food did you try that I’ve missed out here. Do let me know – I’ve love to hear your thoughts!