Once a booming gold mining town, Arrowtown is now a beautifully preserved piece of New Zealand’s pioneering history a picturesque 20-minute drive from Queenstown. Sitting on the edge of the Arrow River, this busy little town offers a wide choice of al fresco dining options. You can bring a picnic or choose some bakery treats or a takeaway meal to enjoy by the river.
Enjoy the spectacular views from the foot of Lake Wakatipu in Kingston, a 45-minute drive from Queenstown. Once name Te Kere Haka, this former Maori village became a vital service centre for Queenstown during the region’s goldmining boom in the 1860s. Today this pretty township, with its relaxed vibe, provides a lovely al fresco setting. There are also some great picnic spots to discover along the drive down from Queenstown, just keep an eye out for the rest stop signs.
A centuries-old entrance way to the rich sources of pounamu (jade) for Maori, the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu has been a drawcard since the days of horse drawn wagons. Formerly only accessible to most people by boat or horse, the historic settlement is now a stunning 45-minute drive from Queenstown. Bring a snack and break up the journey along the way with a stop at Bob’s Cove, named after early European pioneer and skipper Bob Fortune. Glenorchy offers plenty of picnic spots, and several al fresco dining options. The heritage town is also the last chance to grab refreshments before heading inland to explore incredible native Beech tree forests, sparkling lakes and iconic walks in the beautiful valleys beyond in Mt Aspiring National Park.