We’re buzzing (and not just because we’ve been drinking too much coffee). More and more Queenstown cafés are going SUCfree, or single-use cup free. Some have kicked paper cups to the curb, many are offering mug libraries and loan cups as takeaway options, and some offer reusable cup users a sneaky wee discount to say thanks for being cool.
Join us on our tasty mission to make the Queenstown coffee scene even better. It’s simple to avoid single-use cups in Queenstown – just remember the Sit, Borrow or BYO mantra.
Sit in at these great Queenstown cafés
Queenstown serves great coffee, and you deserve to relax and enjoy it. Slow down, take your time, and soak up the view at these Queenstown cafés, where you’ll want to sit and stay a while. Some, like Hustl, Sherwood, and The Trading Post in Glenorchy, are leading the way, already single-use cup free. Others are local institutions offering a warm welcome, delicious food and a cosy spot to enjoy your morning brew.
Hustl Café in Frankton has sunny outdoor seating and cosy industrial chic inside with plenty of plants and wood. Hustl co-owner Mati Gourlay explains, “On top of our Mug Library, we have a sign saying, ‘This is the new normal.’ If you ask why we’re single-use cup free, it’s because it’s the way it has to be. The world we’ve grown up in is a world where we can’t waste stuff anymore. Just like the Jack Johnson song, Reduce, Reuse Recycle, recycling is always the last option. The best option is not to use disposable stuff at all.”
“We’ve been open for two and half years, and we’ve been this way since day one. We’ve never used a takeaway cup at Hustl. It’s not just coffee cups. We’d love you to bring a reusable container for any takeaways, too.”
Sherwood is a glorious spot for a morning coffee, set on the hillside overlooking the mountains and the lake. Sit inside in a cosy nook or take your coffee for a stroll in the kitchen gardens.
Sherwood has been single-use cup free since 2019. Sherwood GM Hayley Scott says, "The wellbeing of our community and environment are fundamental to our ongoing success and we try to operate in a way that looks after both by putting practices in place that alleviate the need for excess waste.”
“We make up to 250 coffees each day, so not relying on single-use cups is an obvious way for us to reduce waste. Without single-use coffee cups, our guests are encouraged to take a few extra minutes to enjoy their coffee on-site, call on their trusty reusable cup or borrow one of ours.”
The Trading Post
Head down to the end of the lake to Glenorchy and stop off for coffee at The Trading Post on Mull Street. Grab a hot chocolate or a coffee and some homemade baking (the carrot cake has a fan club) and take your goodies to the outdoor seating draped with sheepskins to keep you warm.
Both The Trading Post and Kinloch Lodge Wilderness Retreat, their sister business, use no single-use cups. You can sit in, bring your own cup, borrow a mug for free, or loan a cup, from the AgainAgain cup scheme, which can be returned to various cafes in Glenorchy and Queenstown (more AgainAgain cafés listed later in this guide).
More spots to sit and stay a while
A Queenstown local favourite with lakeside views and outdoor seating, Vudu Café & Larder’s counter is packed with good things to eat, including plenty of vegan and veggie options. Set up on the hill a short walk from the centre of town, Bespoke Kitchen is another buzzy café to sit and stay a while.
Towards Frankton, The Boat Shed Cafe & Bistro is located on the waterfront in a restored New Zealand Railways Shipping Office built in 1869. Cycle or walk there along the Frankton Track and enjoy your morning brew by the water looking out at the Remarkables mountain range. Buzzstop Café at Buzzstop Honey Centre in Frankton is a charming set up with a honey-themed menu. They serve ROAR coffee, freshly roasted in the heart of Southland.
Down by the Arrow River Reserve in Arrowtown, The Dishery is a delight on a sunny day, with its large outdoor garden area. You can stop by just for a coffee, but we recommend going hungry and taking advantage of their delicious kai. An Arrowtown institution set in a historic miner's cottage, Provisions of Arrowtown is another beautiful spot to enjoy a coffee outside in the cottage garden under the old fruit trees. Close by Arrowtown, Millbrook Resort has a range of options for coffee or something more substantial. As well as being a great place to relax and enjoy a cuppa, Millbrook is working hard to be a good business, giving back to the local environment and community in many ways.
The Boat Shed Cafe and Bistro
Borrow a loan cup or check out a mug
If you fancy a takeaway coffee to set you up for your adventures, but you’ve forgotten your reusable cup, don’t worry. You can borrow a loan cup or check out a mug from a café mug library, where you can choose a mug that speaks to your soul and return it once you’re done.
Queenstown has two loan cup schemes, Chunky and AgainAgain. Both schemes make it easy to go single-use cup free. Simply borrow a cup from a participating café for a small deposit, then drop it off later at the same café or another loan cup spot around town. You can even hang on to it and reuse it while you’re in town, then drop it off before you leave.
Chunky loan cups
Borrow a stainless steel Chunky cup for a $10 refundable deposit. Use the cup for your next coffee, swap it for a clean one, or return it and get your deposit back. When the reusable cups reach the end of their useful life (after many years) they’re recycled. In fact, Chunky recycles all stainless steel and aluminium bottles and reusable cups if you drop them off.
With over 80 locations throughout New Zealand, using the Chunky Loan Cup system is easy. Participating Queenstown locations include:
- Jack’s Point Restaurant
- Canyon Brewing
- Mackenzie Coffee Co
- The Rees Hotel
- Beach St Café at the Mountain Club co-working spot
- Splash Café at Queenstown Events Centre
- Bakers Lane
AgainAgain loan cups
AgainAgain also produce a range of stainless steel reusable cups and takeaway containers that can be borrowed for a $4 refundable deposit. Like Chunky, they’re a nationwide network, so if you can see yourself becoming a regular AgainAgain user, you can download their handy app to keep track of your containers.
AgainAgain locations in Queenstown include:
Chunky Loan System at Baker's Lane Cafe. Credit Neat Social
Remarkables Market mug library
No talk of loan cups in Queenstown would be complete without a mention of the Remarkables Market’s mug library. Back in 2017 they popped down to the local Salvation Army and bought a bunch of second-hand cups for marketgoers to use. Then in 2019, they became the first New Zealand market to ban single-use cups. Since then, they’ve been steadily upping their game, and their goal is to be New Zealand’s first waste-free market.
The Remarkables Markets
BYO, because the best cup is the one you own
Of course, it goes without saying that the very best cup is the reusable cup you already own. So, when you pack your bags for Queenstown, don’t forget to bring your favourite trusty reusable pal along for the ride too.
Bringing your own cup can also score you a discount on coffee at a range of great cafés around Queenstown. Here are a few of the Queenstown cafés that offer a BYO cup discount:
- The Exchange Café - 50c off.
- Yonder - ½ price between 8-9am when you BYO cup.
- Ma Boulangerie - 50c off.
- Arthur’s - 50c off, or $3 coffees 9-10am Monday-Friday when you BYO cup.
Reusable Chunky cups. Credit @bechunky on Instagram
Top Queenstown low waste coffee spots
Use the map below to navigate your way to top Queenstown coffee spots championing the waste-free mission.
Share your reusable Queenstown café adventures
We love a single-use cup free selfie, so as you explore Queenstown this summer with your reusable cup in hand, share your Queenstown adventures with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.