Queenstown-based chef COREY HUME reveals the best places for families to dine in Queenstown and Arrowtown in New Zealand
With its beautiful scenery, adventure activities and great restaurants it’s no wonder Queenstown is such a popular destination for Australians. The Rees Hotel chef, Corey Hume, has the lowdown on the top eateries for families.
This iconic takeaway burger joint in downtown Queenstown has built a reputation for serving the best burgers, well, just about anywhere. It’s a local legend in every season, evidenced by lines outside which can mean waits of up to 45 minutes or longer, thanks to a creative menu of burger choices that will keep every member of the family happy. Massive and messy, these burgers can become addictive, and faves are fiercely defended. From the ‘Cockadoodle Oink’ with chicken and bacon, to the ‘Codfather’ with beer-battered blue cod or the ‘Fergburger’ classic with prime NZ beef, they guarantee it will be worth the wait.
2. Winnies Gourmet Pizza Bar
Located in ‘The Mall’ on Ballarat St, Winnies Gourmet Pizza Bar is a rustic, American-style restaurant known for its generous serves, and extensive range of meat lovers’, gluten free, and vegetarian pizzas. Kids will love the excitement of seeing the roof open up to a view of the stars. Winnies’ casual, fun atmosphere and quick service make it the perfect place for a relaxed family meal. Children will enjoy the special kids’ menu, which features favourites such as pizza, fish and chips, pasta, hot dogs and chips, and ice-cream sundaes. Go early to get a table.
3. Joe’s Garage
The original Joe’s Garage opened in 2000 in the old post office sorting room in downtown Queenstown. Now found in various New Zealand locations, the Queenstown restaurant in Searle Lane still has its original laidback, unpretentious vibe. It remains a top place for families to enjoy fantastic food and coffee while listening to upbeat music in a friendly environment. This 100 per cent New Zealand-owned restaurant is the ideal place for breakfast or lunch. There is a huge range of sweet and savoury options on the kids’ menu, including porridge, pikelets, bacon and eggs, chips and gravy, burgers and desserts.
4. The Boat Shed Café & Bistro
On the shores of Lake Wakatipu, The Boat Shed Café and Bistro is a favourite with locals, and one of the most scenic places to take your family for coffee, breakfast or lunch. Occupying a former New Zealand Railways Shipping Office dating back to 1869-78, there is an original sign hanging in the café as a reminder of Frankton Marina’s heritage and history. This is a perfect place to stop for food and drinks if you are walking or cycling the lakeside Frankton Track with your children. The seasonal menu features top local produce with beautifully arranged meals.
5. The Cow
Hidden away in Cow Lane, The Cow is a renowned pizza and spaghetti house that has been a family favourite for over 40 years. Queenstown’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, it was established by a couple of locals who had a vision to restore the rundown stable where cows were milked into a top restaurant. Its menu has remained unchanged since it opened in 1977 and features a range of fresh hand-rolled pizzas, spaghetti dishes, soup and homemade bread and salads. In winter there is a roaring open fire to keep you warm while you wait for your table.
6. Fork N Tap
A short drive from Queenstown, nestled in Arrowtown’s old heritage precinct on Buckingham St, Fork n Tap is a charming, historic, family-friendly restaurant with a traditional pub atmosphere. It offers pizza, salads and mains, Central Otago wines and 19 New Zealand craft beers/ciders on tap. It also has a kids’ menu with burgers, fish and chips, chicken tenders, pizza, and ice-cream sundaes. Parents can savour drinks in the sunny beer garden, teenagers can play pool and foosball, and kids will love the play area’s play hut and sand pit. Fork n Tap has a fun family vibe with live music on Sundays (4-7pm) in the summer and traditional Irish music every Wednesday night year-round.
7. Slow Cuts
Also located in Arrowtown’s Buckingham St, Slow Cuts is renowned for its slow-cooked meats, welcoming service and family-friendly menu. Relax in the comfy inside setting or outside courtyard while enjoying rotisserie chicken, burgers, salads and rotating cheese boards, which are all made from fresh local ingredients. There are various kids’ options including a cheeseburger, buttermilk fried chicken with potatoes and a pulled chicken quesadilla.
8. True South Dining Room (of course!)
Located at The Rees Hotel Queenstown, True South Dining Room is a sophisticated and elegant restaurant with magnificent views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountain Range. Both parents and children will love the restaurant’s creative, flavoursome dishes which are made with fresh local ingredients. As True South features fine dining, it also offers an excellent opportunity for parents to have a date night while children have fun with in-house babysitters in their Rees apartment. For the ultimate dining experience, indulge in a six-course menu, paired with matching wines.
Corey Hume is executive chef of The Rees Hotel Queenstown’s True South Dining Room.
Where to stay in Queenstown
Situated on Lake Wakatipu, the chic five-star Rees Hotel Queenstown has spacious apartments and great facilities for families and children, in all seasons.