Soak up Queenstown’s vibrant buzz in the Mall, where tables and chairs pack the street. Music flows from venues and people-watching is a must. Across the road, a stream flows through the Village Green. Pull up a chair, park yourself in the sun, and watch Queenstown life go by at these al fresco dining options in the Mall.
The Ballarat Trading Co. gastropub has sunny courtyard seating spilling into the Mall. Inspired by an 1850's trading emporium, the Ballarat evokes Queenstown’s colonial goldmining history. A great local wine list is paired with pub classics: burgers, steak, fried chicken, and sides like mac n’ cheese and halloumi fries.
Attiqa has a rooftop bar on the top floor, Sundeck, a delightful spot for enjoying the summer sunset over the lake. Cocktails, tapas and live music make for a fun vibe. The deck has comfortable outdoor tables with central firepits and cosy blankets to keep the chill off when the sun goes down.
Cocktails at The Sundeck, Attiqa
Steamer Wharf & Marine Parade
Work up an appetite with a stroll through the beautiful lakefront parks and gardens, enjoy the eclectic sound of buskers, and browse through market stalls on weekends. Then watch the hive of activity on the lake from one of the many al fresco bars and cafes on historic Steamer Wharf and along Marine Parade.
Pier (the downstairs sister restaurant of Boardwalk) has a generous outdoor seating area with sun umbrellas, which provides an enviable vantage spot for observing the goings on of Steamer Wharf. Watch the Lady of the Lake, the TSS Earnslaw steam from her dock, while you enjoy a menu heavy on seafood, including oysters.
Perched up on the 3rd floor of the Crowne Plaza Queenstown, The Balcony offers an al fresco experience just a short walk from Steamer Wharf. Enjoy pre-dinner drinks, mouth-watering antipasto and breath-taking views. On fresh evenings, you can cosy up around a firepit, with a warm blanket and drink in hand.
Right on the beach on Marine Parade, The Bathhouse is a historic gem with a sunny deck overlooking the lake, and a cluster of coveted tables on the beach itself. With goodies like oven baked camembert and seafood chowder on the menu, their location isn’t the only tasty thing.
Kawarau Village on Kelvin Peninsula
Get a fresh angle on Queenstown from across the water at Kelvin Peninsula. Bike along the lakeshore, catch the ferry across, bus, or enjoy a pleasant 20-minute drive. The Kawarau Village local eateries have al fresco options overlooking the lake, with a magnificent mountain backdrop.
The Wakatipu Grill at the Hilton Queenstown Resort has a generous terrace for you to enjoy a refreshing local craft ale in the sun, and a menu of bistro favourites and pizza. In the evening, their Pinot Pit comes into its own, a seventies style circular seating area surrounding an outdoor fireplace.
For a more casual outdoor vibe, check out Stacks Pub. Their sunny deck has lake views and an outdoor fireplace to keep you warm. Their menu is classic Kiwi pub grub, with burgers, pizza, steak, fish and chips.
Wakatipu Grill, Hilton
Between Queenstown and Arrowtown, Lake Hayes is a top stop for lovers of outdoor eating. Walk or cycle around the lake admiring the exquisite reflections, before taking a seat at one of these al fresco Lake Hayes eateries.
The multi award-winning Amisfield Winery and Bistro offers wine tasting, a bar menu and a degustation menu featuring seasonal local produce. Their courtyard has stunning views of the mountains, and even in winter it’s worth snagging a cosy spot by the outdoor fire so you can dine in the company of the snowy peaks. An outdoor glasshouse offers a memorable evening dining experience.
Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan has a beautiful garden setting surrounding a lovingly restored historic cottage overlooking Lake Hayes. Take a table and enjoy the bird song and the thoughtfully curated menu and wine list featuring Akarua wines. Their fish pie has die-hard fans. A children’s play area and sand pit make for a family friendly lunch destination.
Al fresco dining at Amisfield
Once a booming gold mining town, picturesque Arrowtown is now a beautifully preserved piece of New Zealand’s pioneering history a 20-minute drive from Queenstown. Nestled beside the Arrow River, this bustling little town offers fantastic al fresco dining options.
Provisions is set in an historic miner’s cottage in Arrowtown with an old-fashioned cottage garden bursting with flowers. Seat yourself under trees or on the shady terrace and enjoy the excellent coffee, brunch and home baking.
An Arrowtown institution with a Spanish twist, La Rumbla has a small but delightful courtyard, perfect for treating yourself to tapas, paella and sangria in the sun.
Near Arrowtown, Smithy’s Smoke House at Millbrook has a terrace by the Mill Pond where you can sit round an open fire, and enjoy local wines, craft beers, whisky and a selection of tapas. Perfect for an atmospheric al fresco night cap.
Smithy's Smokehouse, Millbrook Resort
Gibbston's Valley of Vines
A 10-minute drive from Arrowtown or 25-minutes from Queenstown, Gibbston offers food and wine lovers delicious outdoor dining options. The first Otago grapevines were planted in Gibbston in the early 1980s and today the valley is full of vineyards, producing award-winning wines.
The Gibbston Valley Winery Restaurant’s outdoor courtyard is a lovely spot to enjoy their seasonal menu of locally sourced produce. Sit outdoors under the trees, enjoying the breeze and the surrounding gardens. You might even catch sight of chef Anthony Gradiska popping out for a handful of herbs.
The Gibbston Tavern oozes rustic charm. Pull up a bench at a picnic table in the garden and order up wood fired pizzas, cheese platters and glasses of local wine before playing yard games (or slumping on a beanbag in the shade). Make friends with Hank the dog, who takes his host duties very seriously.
Cargo Brewery’s converted church at Waitiri Creek offers Cargo’s range of craft beers, and Providore, Wild Earth, and Pagan wines. Pick a tasting platter designed to complement your brews. The tasting rooms are surrounded by expansive lawns where you can play beach volleyball, cricket, football, croquet, badminton, and petanque.
Cargo Brewery at Waitiri Creek, Gibbston
Enjoy the spectacular views from the foot of Lake Wakatipu in Kingston, a 45-minute drive from Queenstown. Also called Te Kere Haka, this Māori village became a vital service centre during the region’s goldmining boom in the 1860s. Today the pretty township provides a relaxed setting for some casual al fresco eateries.
Snag a table on the sunny deck at the Kingston Corner Café Bar, grab a coffee, and tuck into some top notch home baked pies, scones and cakes.
The Kingston Flyer Café and Bar is in the historic Kingston railway station with a view of the lake and an old steam train parked up nearby. Tables outside on the old station platform serve up hearty portions of classic Kiwi grub and a popular Sunday roast. A great spot to take in some local history with your lunch.
The historic settlement of Glenorchy is a stunning 45-minute drive from Queenstown. The heritage town is also your last chance to grab refreshments, before heading in to explore the native beech forests, sparkling lakes and valleys of Mt Aspiring National Park. Here are your al fresco options.
Picnic tables with sheepskins covering timber benches make an inviting welcome on the front lawn of the Trading Post Café. Their carrot cake has fans around the world and their soup and toasties are the ideal energy boost before a hike.
The Kinloch Wilderness Retreat’s beautiful outdoor dining area has a view over the lake. Choose from tables and armchairs on a covered veranda or seats in the garden surrounded by hebes and grasses. Salads are sourced from their garden and homemade bread complements a simple menu of nourishing food. Book in advance.
Outdoor dining at Kinloch Wilderness Retreat