Food at  Amisfield Winery & Bistro, Queenstown, New Zealand - Courtesy The Pixel Trade, Shantanu Starick

Amisfield Winery & Bistro

Sitting on the large patio of this acclaimed winery, surrounded by massive lavender patches and the vineyards in the background, it’s easy to while away an afternoon. The menu is local sourced, farm-to-table cuisine, and the wine is plentiful and can be purchased in the adjoining cellar door (tasting room). If you have time for a leisurely lunch, Amisfield is a great option. A nice way to work up an appetite is the 5-mile walk around Lake Hayes.

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shrimp dish


On the edge of Lake Wakatipu in the heart of Queenstown, Boardwalk serves fresh fish and seafood with breathtaking lake and mountain views.
Exterior View -  Botswana Butchery, Queenstown, New Zealand

Botswana Butchery

Besides Rata, this is Queenstown's most stylish restaurant, housed in a historic cottage by the lake. The restaurant features beautiful views and wood-burning fireplaces inside the dining room and outside on the patio. The menu features a lot of local produce and products; it’s focused on meat but also has some nice seafood dishes on the menu. Have a drink in the private bar upstairs before settling in for lunch or dinner.

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Dinning Area at Eichardt’s Bar, Queenstown, New Zealand

Eichardt’s Bar

The small tapas bar at the bottom of the historic Eichardt’s Hotel has an industrial-chic design scheme, a roaring fireplace and a congenial vibe, making it a wonderful spot for an aperitif or for a light dinner of tapas to share. Located right in front of the busy marina, with its hordes of people, musicians and day trippers returning off the boats, the bar feels subdued and serene. It’s truly a gem of a small place for ordering a platter of oysters, heaping charcuterie and cheese boards or some nice seasonal vegetable tapas and sampling some of the local wines. The bar is open throughout the day (you can also grab a coffee before heading off to one of your excursions), but it’s coziest in the evening.

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Food at Ferg Burger, Queenstown, New Zealand


This is Queenstown’s answer to New York’s Shake Shack, serving burgers that have a similar cult following and the same long lines. There’s limited seating inside the casual burger joint and some more out front. Just be aware that no matter where you sit, you will be surrounded by throngs of people, even early in the morning. The Ferg Burger itself is about twice the size, however, as the delicate Shake Shack version, made with prime New Zealand beef and delicious special sauces. It’s a classic in Queenstown – and one that still delivers.

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Lounge at Jervois Steak House, Queenstown, New Zealand

Jervois Steak House

A classic steakhouse, Jervois, on the first floor of the Sofitel Hotel, serves hearty portions of beef, lamb and venison, with a long list of side dishes. Unlike your traditional steakhouse, however, the dining room is light and elegant, and service is lovely.

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Madam Woo

For a low-key dinner in the heart of Queenstown, head to this Asian street food–inspired hot spot where award-winning restaurateurs have designed a Chinese-Malaysian menu with bold flavors. Dishes include banana prawns with curry leaves and spiced duck with cabbage salad, as well as a variety of shared plates rich with lemongrass, cashews, sesame and soy that mimic classic street food dishes with an upscale twist. The dining room is modern in style and trendy in ambiance (though still family friendly), making Madam Woo a great choice for a group dinner filled with shared plates and Malaysian-inspired cocktail creations to match.

Exterior View - Nin's Bin, South Island, New Zealand

Nin's Bin

The coastal road between Kaikoura and Blenheim is lined with so-called "bins" – New Zealand's version of a New York City food truck. One of the most famous is Nin's Bin, which is located roadside a 20-minute drive north of Kaikoura (it's on the ocean side). In Maori, Kai-koura mean "eat crayfish," and Nin's focuses almost exclusively on this freshwater lobster (also on the menu in season are green-tipped mussels). The seafood is simply prepared and you eat at rustic wooden picnic tables with views of the sea.

Exterior View : Pegasus Winery & Restaurant, South Island, New Zealand

Pegasus Winery & Restaurant

About equidistant on the road from Christchurch to Kaikoura – along scenic Highway 1 – Pegasus Winery makes a perfect lunch spot (the on-property helipad also attests to the fact that some diners need not bother with long driving distances). Don’t plan on having anything but a multi-hour, leisurely lunch here. The winery’s garden setting is stunning and the food is some of the South Island’s best. Diners sit at casual wooden tables beneath white canvas umbrellas on a bluff surrounded by colorful flower gardens and with views spilling down a valley and up the mountains in the distance. The food is excellent and pairs well with Pegasus vintages, including a beautifully crisp Riesling.

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Interiors at Rata, Queenstown, New Zealand


Helmed by famous New Zealand chef Josh Emmet (he’s starred on Master Chef, the Kiwi version of Top Chef), Rata is one of Queenstown's most elegant restaurants. The dining room is modern and beautiful, with lots of plants, light-wood furniture and contemporary light fixtures. The Scandinavian-inspired setting serves as a modern-cool backdrop for the cuisine, which heavily uses local products. Portions are on the delicate side, which makes the set lunch menu a great deal (though Rata is busier and more fun for dinner). There’s a groovy soundtrack, a young wait staff and an often-changing menu that beautifully showcases seasonal fare.

Indagare Tip: Rata is not easy to find; it’s tucked in a new mixed-use building complex behind another restaurant called 1876.

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The Boat Shed

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Boat Shed in Nelson is a great spot for a leisurely meal with great views. Housed in a simple wooden building on stilts that sits right above the bay, and with sweeping vistas of the sea, the restaurant features a seafood-heavy menu with lots of small plates to share. It’s a good spot for lunch if you are driving towards the Tasman area, where Edenhouse is based.

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The Bunker

Hidden up a black staircase on tiny Cow Lane, the Bunker restaurant’s cocktail bar has heavy leather chairs, a roaring fireplace and a team of appropriately bearded bartenders who will mix cocktails customized to your preferences. The patio outside has a fireplace and is a stylish spot for a cocktail before dinner.

The Cow

If you’re traveling with kids, come to this hidden-away restaurant for pizza and pasta. It’s super casual, with a no-frills dining room and young staff, but it’s been around for some four decades and is a Queenstown institution.

Exteriors - The Store Kekerengu, South Island, New Zealand

The Store Kekerengu

In a stunning location along the coast, a 45-minute drive north of Kaikoura, this restaurant/cafe has large wooden decks and big lawns overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You can come for breakfast, lunch or even just a coffee, then take a long walk along the beach or set off on a more challenging hike from here. If you get sold out of a Kaikoura Whale Watch or want a more extensive menu than offered at Nin’s Bin, The Store is a fabulous place in the Kaikoura region to spend a half-day exploring.

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Food at The Winery, Queenstown, New Zealand

The Winery

Sample some 80 different New Zealand wines by the glass at this spacious wine bar/shop in walking distance to Eichardt’s. Patrons are given a pre-loaded cash card that gets you access to the wine dispensers where you can choose to sample a tasting, half- or full glass of wine from vintages across New Zealand, but especially from the Central Otago region. Settle into one of the cozy chairs, order a cheese platter and sip away – if you fall in love with any of the wines, you can purchase them at the shop and also ship them home. For travelers who have toured the Gibbston Valley and other wine regions around Queenstown will have fun recognizing and sampling the local vintages.

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Exterior - Twelve Trees Restaurant, South Island, New Zealand - Allan Scott

Twelve Trees Restaurant

A winery lunch is a must when touring Marlborough, and Allan Scott Family Winemakers' Twelve Trees has one of the best setting. Book a table in the pretty al fresco courtyard and mingle with local families who come for weekend lunches. There's also a tasting room for sampling the vintages (tastings are complimentary when you have lunch), and a shop with a great selection of New Zealand–designed gifts.

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Dinning Area at Vudu Cafe, Queenstown, New Zealand

Vudu Cafe

Everyone’s favorite morning coffee comes from Vudu, located in walking distance to Eichardt’s. There are piles of homemade pastries, including incredibly flaky almond croissants, and strong Fair-Trade coffee and teas. There’s also a menu of heartier breakfast and brunch fare, communal tables, WiFi and a fun soundtrack – in short, Vudu is a fabulous local spot to start the day. As one local put it, "This is where the beautiful people go for breakfast."

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