Queenstown – A food and wine lovers paradise
Let me start of by saying one the one word that you will need to know for your trip to Queenstown is: ‘Fergburger’.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, please read on.
My most recent holiday, a week in Queenstown, New Zealand with a good friend of mine, Hannah was always going to be a sensory overload to the tastebuds. Such is the reputation of the area’s local produce, wine and beer we were expecting utter greatness, and boy did Queenstown deliver the goods to two food and wine loving gals from Melbourne.
So, let me start with Fergburger. There is so much hype that surrounds the place, that when researching things to do, see, eat in Queenstown the first words uttered from every single one of my friends in Melbourne were “you MUST try Fergburger”. Every-single-friend. With a reputation like that how could you not give it a go, and a go we certainly gave it. Because Fergburger was so amazingly mouth watering good I have written a review which you can read here
Most of our days started at the equally famous to Fergburger, the Fergbakery, where we’d fill up on strong coffees and breakfast as well as snacks for the day if we were out touring. In all honestly, the best croissants I’ve had outside of France, coffee was strong and so good (and being from Melbourne we know good coffee), their famous Boston cream donuts a sugary delight, and the pies! I thought Australia did pies well, but nothing comes close to how just how tasty New Zealand pies are. Skip the tomato sauce my friends, it is simply not needed. Fergbakery is certainly a winner, closing only for a few hours to re-bake and clean, it is a Queenstown institution and one that should be on your list.
Being lovers of good food and wine and being up for a good old splurge on our stomachs, Hannah and I booked dinner at two fine dining restaurants, Rata and Bunker. Bunker was a small and quiet little restaurant but the food was robust and delightful. Rata on the other hand, larger and slightly louder in atmosphere, had food that was out of this world orgasmic. I can’t ever remember a time where my eyes have rolled back into my head from the sheer delight of such good food before, it was simply that good! You can read the reviews of those two here (warning serious food envy to ensue).
Two other notable mentions:
- The Pub – have $20 main meals that are both delicious and filling. I ate the pork belly and it was twice the size of what we get in Australia. Crisp crackle, not too salty and meat very tender
- Eric’s Fish n Chips – located in a little caravan across from the Novotel. For a fresh light meal, this was a great option.
There was only one place that we’d not waste time and money on again and that’s Cow pizza restaurant. Unlike Australia, Italian migration must have skipped New Zealand in the 1950s because the pizza was one of the worst I’ve tasted and the price exorbitant. The base was just wrong, too much cheese (and for a cheese lover that’s saying a lot) and who the hell ruins pizza by putting fresh tomato on it? One word, soggy. Hannah and I felt we were cheated out of a good Queenstown meal considering everything else we ate was top notch.
And now to the alcohol. The wine, especially the pinot noir is outstanding, and I will definitely go back to explore more of the Central Otago wine region for the wine alone. I’m imagining a beautiful warm autumn day tripping from one winery to the next, sampling the best of the regions wines and eating all the good cheeses. Hmmm yum!! The bars and pubs are very welcoming too. The service is great, they’re warm and most importantly showcase local beers which I was more than happy to sample a fair bit of. We particularly liked and frequently visited World Bar and Ballarat Trading Co. A word of caution for anyone who looks young enough to be underage, take your passport out with you on nights of drinking. Hannah at age 29 was refused service, a driver’s licence is not accepted, and I couldn’t buy drinks for her.
One of my most favoured parts of the trip to Queenstown was heading out to the Gibbston Valley winery and cheese shop. After taking the shuttle bus at 10am from Camp Street in central Queenstown in 20 minutes we were eating the most generous and tasty cheese platter paired with a delightful glass of Pinot Noir, and for breakfast no less. As you do when you’re on holidays! Honestly you can’t beat $40 NZD for all of what we ate. After gorging ourselves with cheese it was off to the winery for sampling… wine of course! What I liked about the wine tasting was that you could choose from only whites, reds or sparkling, or mixed tastings. All in front of an open wood fire. How cosy right? We both tried the Pinot Noir tasting, pared with a much smaller cheese platter. We did contemplate going the one we had for breakfast but thought that would be too gluttonous. I also had to sample the sparkling wines. I mean, I’d be a fool not to.
You can check out the Gibbston Valley Winery and Cheese shop website here
What pleasantly surprised me about Queenstown and I guess this goes for the whole of New Zealand, is just how well they do food and wine. I mean I knew it was going to be good but, was the reputation really to be believed? Aside from one shitty meal, everything else was amazingly beautiful. Fresh produce, tasty and felt healthy even if it probably wasn’t. On account of the food and wine alone, I will definitely head back to Queenstown for more gourmet experiences.