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South Island, NZ restaurants


We'll be traveling to the South Island in August. We're hoping to get some restaurant recommendations for the following places:

Breakfast in Christchurch

Lunch between Christchurch and Hokitika

Lunch between Hokitika and Queenstown

Dinner in Te Anau

Dinners in Queenstown

Both fine dining and casual are fine, as long as the food is good.


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  1. Te Anau:

    We ate at La Toscana (on the main street) - good pizza and pasta - there are a number of cafes along that street with nices sandwiches/meat pies etc (I think one was called The Bakery) but I don't think they stay open for dinner.

    We stayed at the Lakeside Motel and really liked it - there are 3 nice motels in a row there - the Lakeside, Campbells and Radfords - if it's important to you Campbells has free in room broadband


    No restaurant suggestions but we stayed just outside of town at the Best Western Shining Star in a very modest cabin (only $75 NZD per night) for one night - it was cheap, cheerful and clean. They also had some nice looking bungalows right at the beach.

    Lunch between Hokitika and Queenstown

    That's a long drive - we did Hokitika to Wanaka in one day (although we didn't leave until about noon as we did a flight over Fox/Franz from Hokitika - you might want to consider doing that from Hokitika if you're considering a flyover)......it was about 5 hours and not many places to stop along the way (other than Fox and Franz).

    Wanaka has a lot of nice restaurants - we had a really good dinner at the Mexican restaurant and there are lots of other cuisines choices such as Thai, Sushi, etc.

    1. You might want to stop in Fox Glacier or Franz Josef Glacier and see (or hike on) one of the glaciers. If you do that, the Cafe Neve in Fox is really nice. If you want a good burger, Fergburgers in Queenstown is great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChemWork

        Fergburger! Definitely worth a stop. The aioli they serve with their fries is to die for. And the burgers are good too.

      2. Can't help you with Christchurch or Te Anau, but in Queenstown we enjoyed our dinners at Solera Vino, Boardwalk and Captains. The Bathhouse was also recommended to us but it was closed on the night we wanted to go.

        As ElizabethS mentioned, the drive between Hokitika and Queenstown is a long one, with few places to choose from along the way. Beeches in Franz Joseph would be one possibility.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Roundelay

          Thanks so much for the suggestions. You guys are right- the drive between Hokitika and Queenstown is very long. I screwed up. I meant to say lunch between the Glaciers and Queenstown, instead of Hokitika and Queenstown. We're planning on doing a heli-hike at Fox Glacier and spending the night and then driving to Queenstown the next day. Hopefully the weather will cooperate for our heli-hike.

          If anyone has any other suggestions, I would love to hear them! Thanks again.

        2. If you are willing to lunch a closer to Queenstown on the drive from the glaciers, the restaurant at Carrick Winery in Brannockburn (Central Otago region) is really terrific.

          I remember the options being pretty limited in Te Anau, but we had a decent meal at the Olive Tree Cafe.

          We had a terrific meal at The Bunker in Queenstown, but it was very expensive (even by NZ standards). We also had good pizza and pasta at the Cow Restaurant.

          1. Dinner in Te Anau: Cafe La Dolce Vita

            Dinners in Queenstown: Another vote for Solera Vino, or drive a bit toward Arrowtown (Lake Hayes Rd I think) to Amisfield Bistro (early closing) for the chef's menu.

            If you are going the Arthur's Pass Route, Oscar Haus/Wobbly Kea in Arthur's Pass is excellent.

            1. For breakfast in Christchurch, try either Caffe Roma or Drexels (american style).

              If you are strictly limited to Queenstown you should give Bathhouse (http://www.bathhouse.co.nz) or Amisfield Winery Bistro (http://www.amisfield.co.nz) a bash. That said, personally we found better dining experiences in Wanaka, so if you have the time you should head over the mountain range.

              As for the other stops on your journey I'd also try http://www.cuisine.co.nz for more suggestions.

              Hope this is helpful.

              1 Reply
              1. re: megandavid

                I second Caffe Roma - great flat whites, served with a chocolate fish. Which is neither as nautical nor as unpleasant as it sounds.

              2. Frankly, I'd pack a lunch between the glaciers and Queenstown. There's a few places you could pull over and enjoy the view with a sandwich. There's not much restaurant wise until you get to Wanaka--which had some nice cafes. Don't stay in Haast.

                In and around Queenstown, we enjoyed the Mount Difficulty Winery in Bannockburn and the pricier and fancier Postmasters House in Arrowtown. An inexpensive option is Vnow (http://www.vknow.co.nz) in Ferndale up above Queenstown. It's a little place with shanks, ribeye, pizzas and the like.

                1. Thanks for all of the great suggestions - I really appreciate it. They're going on my list. Can't wait until we go!

                  1. Aww...so jealous! I LOVE the South Island of NZ! :) I only remember the names of places I ate in Queenstown, but musts while I'm there...

                    Joe's Garage: Hidden...you wouldn't know it's there but a GREAT place to get breakfast or lunch! Kind of a local's place but one of my faves there...

                    The Cow: Once again, kind of hidden (but not as much as The Bunker) and it's got a crazy garlic loaf you can get.

                    Winnie Bago's: a pizza place where the pizza is good but it's more the atmosphere on a nice day...they open up their roof and you can sit on comfy couches by the fire!

                    Saffron: this is in Arrowtown and I never ate there but it's supposed to be very good.

                    Have a blast and post your food discoveries while you're there or when you're back! Cheers! :)

                    1. We did much the same path. And some was so-so, some hearty and some fantastic. Oddly enough this little treat shone through as an absolute gem. I ordered the eggs benedict but had salmon instead of ham and OMG to this day I think about how good it was. It was the most fantastic "brunch" of my life.


                      Weird but true. Rock on Hokitika!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Junipery

                        Went to Saffron 2 weeks ago. The chef was nice enough to open up the restaurant at 6:30 for us to eat. Food was very interesting. He spend time in ChengDu culinary academy and integrate a lot of Asian flavor into the food. The combination was very interesting. The Seafood Risotto was excellent as is the beef cheeks.
                        We also ate at the COW, the pizza was excellent as is the chicken liver pasta (arteries blocking good)

                      2. Also check out the restaurant and travel sections in New Zealand's best food magazine, Cuisine. www.cuisine.co.nz.