In my previous post to recommend an itinerary to spend 48 hours in Queenstown, New Zealand, I covered the the skies (Skyline Queenstown), nature (Queenstown Gardens), hot pools (Arthur’s Point) and accommodation (Mercure Queenstown Resort). They technically covered the after-dark and early morning activities, and here are some suggestions to fill your remaining daylight hours in Queenstown.
I listed this to get the obvious out of the way. If there’s only one question you can ask upon reaching Queenstown, it should be “Where do you find Fergburger?”
It won’t be easy to miss this place when you are in town centre, because it is typified by the long queues (or should I say crowd?) at its entrance and the whiff of grilled meat within a 1-store radius.
That being said, the queue turned me off and did not make up for the nothing-to-rave about taste of its food. There was literally no space for dining in due to the crowd, so many people were buying takeaways. If you must, visit Fergburger for a been-there-done-that.
Erik’s Fish & Chips
Fish and Chips in New Zealand is like the Bak Chor Mee of Singapore or baguette of France. And considering that Erik’s Fish & Chips is also tucked at a corner of the corner of town centre, what is so unqiue about this kiosk-esque diner’s?
Quality of the food wise, the fish is tender and juicy, wrapped in a batter that is crispy and fragrant. Eating this on a cold day is comforting and brings a fuzzy-warm feeling all over. Speaking of warmth, the food seemed to remain piping hot despite the cold weather, even though I took some time to take pictures of the food in different angles!
A unique item we ordered was Fried Kiwi. As the name suggested, it was a whole kiwi, deep-fried with the same batter for the Fish and Chips, but covered in sugar. To be frank, I think it was a waste to deep-fry fruits, because fruits are meant to be eaten fresh and un-treated. However, I believe this will be a children’s favourite, since it combines fried food with sweet fruitiness 🙂
Since the place is set in a corner of the town centre, the diner is especially peaceful and quiet. There is limited seating in the dining space made out of container, but I highly recommend one to find a seat and dine-in, because it offers an experience not commonly found in other Queenstown cafes. If you can’t find a seat, they have high tables around the diner, good for groups to huddle and chit chat over some chips.
Erik’s is just a stone’s throw from Queenstown Gardens, so you can plan for it either before or after your walk in the Gardens.
Winnie’s Gourmet Pizza Bar
This is a pizza-centric restaurant, found on the 2nd level (1st floor) of one of the buildings in the town centre. The interior of the diner’s is aviation themed (yes, that plane model hanging from the ceiling is mesmerising!), with a pool table, comfy seats and an “outdoor” seating area (that’s actually a balcony walled up with glass windows).
Other than a whole variety of pizzas, the place also serves other comfort food like hot wings (a recommended item). For the record, we ordered the Montonara, which has chicken fillet and usual pizza toppings, plus sour cream. With or without the sour cream, the pizza was great, because it was crunchy and yet tangy from the cheese. The hot wings also lived up to the reviews found online.
If you only want to have a decent meal, then I recommend you visit this place in late afternoon, before the crowd comes in, so that you can also take a seat at its balcony (where you get to people-watch while enjoying the autumn sunshine).
However, this is a bar after all, so they have DJs and dancing late in the evening. This will be good for those fun-loving chaps, though it means the chance of getting a good seat is low.
Cookie Time for the Sweet Tooth
In between meals and activities, you can drop by Cookie Time. On the flight to Queenstown, you would have been served snacks onboard your AirNZ flight that consist of a Cookie Time cookie.
If Queenstown is the only place you visit during your getaway, then a visit to Cookie Time is a must, since you get to fill your suitcase with a local popular favourite for your family and friends back at home. Other than a variety of cookies found in a variety of packaging, you can also bring home a plushie or keychain (or whatever that catches your fancy) from this shop!
In case you think the already walkable Queenstown is too much for walking, you can rent a bike! Just a turn from Erik’s Fish & Chips, you can find a bike rental at affordable prices.
A lot of people leave just enough time to check in and leave for their flight at the end of their staycation. If that’s the case, you will miss out a very interesting cafe right in the passenger terminal building of Queenstown Airport!
Airspresso is a spacious cafe that has an extensive view (complete with full length floor-to-ceiling windows) of the apron, beside Gate 1. If that’s not enough, they have a display case of huge airplane models in vintage Air New Zealand livery, and a table doubled as a display case for numerous old, nostalgic aviation magazines.
In other words, Airspresso is an aviation geek heaven.
If you are not an aviation geek, the ambience, good coffee and spread of food would add a great ending touch to your trip to Queenstown (notwithstanding that hellava-view you get of the surrounding mountain ranges as you take off and leave the Otago region!). Remember, the flight back to Auckland or Christchurch is a short, domestic one, so eating one’s fill is also recommended before your flight!
OK. this might be a bit of a stretch, but I’ll try anyway.
Though Queenstown airport is a small outfit, it is an interesting place itself to explore. The mountain ranges embracing the airport notwithstanding, the grounds itself is dotted with sculpture and interesting fixtures.
I liked the self-service check-in, which was easy to use, though there was a staff standing by to give a hand to the uninitiated (someone like me, because Singapore is REALLY slow in adopting self-service check in!).
Unlike a huge airport like Changi, Queenstown is small (walkable) and gives this sense of achievement when one manages to walk the entire public area within 30 minutes. I thought that since we’re going to spend time at Airpresso, you might as well allocate an additional half an hour for the tour!
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Erik’s Fish & Chips
13 Earl St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
+64 3-441 3474
7-9 The Mall, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand
+64 3-442 8635
42 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
+64 3-441 1232
18 Camp St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
+64 3-442 4891
Airspresso in Queenstown Airport