Best places in Queenstown to fill your picnic basket
Before you can picnic, you’ve got to have something to picnic on. Here are some great places to buy tasty morsels to munch al fresco.
- Fergbaker. Nestled between Fergburger and Mrs Ferg’s Gelato, Fergbaker is a top stop for fresh bread, sweet treats and their famous pies.
- Pedro’s House of Lamb. If you fancy something substantial, you can’t go past slow cooked lamb with scalloped potatoes. Ideal for lakeside picnics with hungry friends.
- Raeward Fresh Deli. A great supermarket deli, supporting local producers and wineries. Grab a taste of Otago for your picnic basket.
- Taste & Savour. Close to the airport in Frankton, this café has tasty cabinet food, a small but well-curated deli, and a selection of local wine.
- Frank’s Pantry. Another Frankton gem, Frank’s has a huge range of grab-and-go cabinet food. They also do catering, so you can order up a picnic to go.
- Gibbston Valley Cheese. Stock up on delicious local cheese (don’t miss the Balfour Pecorino) and chutneys at these cheese shops in Gibbston Valley and Arrowtown.
- Patagonia Chocolates. Need something decadent? These guys have got you covered with their handcrafted chocolates and patisserie.
Pair your tasty food haul with a nice bottle of local wine and a cosy woollen blanket, and you’re all set to picnic like kings and queens. Now all you need to do is pick your idyllic Queenstown picnic spot.
Queenstown Bay Beach
Just a short wander from the centre of town out along Marine Parade, Queenstown Bay Beach offers you glorious vistas over Lake Whakatipu towards Cecil and Walter Peak.
Find yourself a shady spot under one of the willow trees and settle in for an afternoon of eating, swimming and chilling. If you’re feeling energetic you can hire kayaks, paddleboards and Aqua Bikes. Or digest your picnic with a leisurely stroll along the walking trail into the Queenstown Gardens.
Hit the road towards Glenorchy and find Moke Lake, a secluded reserve area surrounded by soaring mountains. Hop on your bike or take a stroll around the Moke Lake loop track or sit back with a bite to eat after a dip in the lake.
If you’re looking for more adventure, the Moke Lake kayak experience is a great way to get a different perspective on this exquisite beauty spot.
Take the Glenorchy Road and stop at Wilson Bay, about 10km from Queenstown. The beach is a secluded thumbnail of tiny grey pebbles beside crystal clear lake water, a beautiful spot to linger for a few hours admiring the views.
Named after William Butler, an Irishman who arrived in Arrowtown during the Gold Rush, Butler’s Green is a central spot for locals and visitors alike. Enjoy your picnic on the immaculately groomed grass before shopping Arrowtown’s boutiques.
After checking out the historic Chinese Village, you can take a walk along the Arrow River where there are picnic spots aplenty. Try your hand at gold panning, you never know what you might find.
Halfway down Buckingham Street lies Buckingham Green, a sunny spot popular with families. Located close to the sweet shop and next to an ice-cream store, you can see why it’s a favourite with the kids.
The Library Green is a sheltered area, and home to the popular Pie, Pint and Pinot event during the annual Arrowtown Autumn Festival. Here you can sit amongst the trees (if you go in Autumn you will be surrounded by orange, reds and golds) and you’re close to cafés for treats to fill your picnic basket.
The Lake Hayes reserve, accessed from SH 6 off Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road, is a secluded spot where you can sit and enjoy the tranquil reflections in the lake.
Bring your kayak or paddleboard or cycle or stroll around the Lake Hayes loop after lunch. Turn left off the Lake Hayes-Arrowtown Road and head down to the reserve at the top of Lake Hayes for prime lake and mountain views.
A 20-minute trip to Kelvin Heights (via Frankton) is well worth the drive around the other side of Lake Whakatipu’s Frankton arm.
You’ll be rewarded with views overlooking the lake and the Remarkables mountain range. Follow the signs towards the golf course to find picnic tables on the lakefront. After your picnic, walk the Kelvin Heights Peninsula Trail around the golf course, looking out for the sculptures by New Zealand artists.
Picnic on a Peak
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or you’re seeking an exhilarating Queenstown experience like no other, book a private gourmet picnic on a mountain peak with scenic views out over the Whakatipu Basin.
You’ll be flown in a helicopter to your picnic spot and dropped off to enjoy your 180-degree panoramas with a hamper packed with goodies like champagne, fruit and cheeses. Your helicopter will return to collect you when you’re ready to descend, so wrap up warm and enjoy your mountain eyrie in comfort.