Queenstown has a vibrant cosmopolitan scene that pulses with a large and respected variety of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Queenstown’s city centre has numerous eating establishments, from all-hours takeaways to fine dining. Halo Café is a great place to kick off the day – its hearty breakfast options and coffee are touted to be the best in the city. A Queenstown institution, housed in an authentic stone building, The Cow serves some of Queenstown’s best Italian, with a menu that has remained unchanged since it opened more than 20 years ago. Winnies also does great pizza and pasta, and prides themselves on their relaxed and fun dining experience, and lively afterhours bar atmosphere. For a quick yet flavoursome meal the Chop Chop noodle bar, located within the Sofitel, offers robust Asian meals at affordable prices.
Enjoying picturesque views of Walter and Cecil Peak, The Remarkables and Queenstown Bay, Steamer Wharf is Queenstown's most popular new eating, drinking and entertainment hub. For a taste of Queenstown’s finest food head to Wai Restaurant – the city’s most talked about fine dining establishment serves carefully crafted meals complemented by Central Otago wines. Pier 19 Restaurant offers one of the wharf’s most relaxed settings, presenting European lunches and intimate dinners made from exceptional seasonal flavours. Indulge in the coolest drinking experience in town: minus5° – named for its constant frosty temperature of minus five degrees – sees guests dress up in Eskimo-like outfits to sip on premium vodka cocktails, served in ice glasses from the ice bar.
Unique dining experiences can also be found in the nearby picturesque and historical town of Arrowtown. Arrowtown has a dining experience for everyone – covering everything from fine dining to cafes, and locally made ice-cream to regional wines. Located in the town’s main street, Buckingham Street, Saffron Restaurant is home to one of the most serious culinary experiences in the area – serving contemporary cuisine and the best in local wines amid the quaint setting of a corrugated iron building. Next door, Blue Door appeals to sophisticated and social diners and wine-rs, with local wines enjoyed in front of a roaring fire, complemented with pizza delivered from Pesto. Only five minutes drive from Arrowtown one of New Zealand’s best winery restaurants, Amisfield Winery and Bistro, dishes up an ever-changing a la carte menu, with seasonal options chosen by the chef based on the freshest ingredients of the day.
When the sun sets, Queenstown’s nightlife comes alive with a captivating energy. Bars like Barmuda on Searle Lane, The Boiler Room on Steamer Wharf, and Buffalo Club on Brecon Street are great haunts to drink and revel; while Skybar – overlooking the action of Queenstown's Camp Street – is one of the most sought after party spots in town.
When the revelling ends and thoughts turn to food once more, Fergburger is a favourite afterhours takeaway joint – opened 21 hours a day, until 3am.
Reflective of the city’s character, fashion in Queenstown is trendy and unique. International brands sit side-by-side on the racks next to iconic New Zealand designs, traditional wool and sheepskin clothing and jewellery showcase the best in local specialities, while outdoor adventure equipment abounds.
Queenstown’s compact central shopping area showcases the area’s best range of retail therapy. O’Connells Shopping Centre is the place to go for one-stop shopping, featuring 25 stores offering fashion, food, jewellery and art. For the girls, Angel Divine on Searle Lane, is one of New Zealand’s leading designer fashion boutiques; stocking everything from Karen Walker to Zambesi and Kate Sylvester to Stolen Girlfriends club. A New Zealand icon Rodd & Gunn has a flagship store on Rees Street, and stocks well-made garments for the modern man.
New Zealand-made goods are easily found in Queenstown and make for great souvenirs. Snap up sheepskin products or wooden carvings at DF Souvenirs on Colombo Street. Native to the south island, the beautiful greenstone of Pounamu can be found, in many different forms, at Goldfields Jade and Opal on Ballarat Street. While the famous Alpine Island New Zealand-made Merino garments are stocked at Global Culture – at three stores located throughout Queenstown: one at the airport and two downtown.
Catering for the city’s weather, landscape and penchant for adventure a whole host of outdoor sports apparel and equipment stores dot the city centre’s main streets, stocking essentials for tackling the area’s natural elements. Alpine Sports is Queenstown’s go-to for trekking, hiking and tramping gear. Small Planet Recycling Co caters for a huge variety of outdoor sports, with good prices and local knowledge. Outside Sports is Queenstown biggest outdoor store, stocking equipment, clothing and footwear over three levels. Skip the rental queue with a ski concierge – Snopro Ski Hire deliver and custom fit the latest in ski and snowboard hire gear. Locally owned and operated N.Z. Shred stocks on-trend surf, snow and street wear. Award-winning premier snowboard and skate retailer also operates snowboard rental and workshop facilities. While iconic New Zealand brand, Canterbury, offers a range of active ware and sports apparel – in particular rugby gear.
Downtown isn’t the area’s only shopping precinct… venture further afield to towns like Arrowfield and Glenorchy, or to the Remarkables Park Town Centre in Frankton, to experience a great range of boutiques and speciality stores.