Since having bubs, hubby and I have decided that we should have more holidays within New Zealand. Obviously it’s difficult to travel long distances with a little baby, but also, it’s been a long time since I went anywhere in NZ without the particular purpose of visiting someone I know, going to a wedding, or taking part in a tournament. So after seeing some cheap(ish) flights to Queenstown, we decided to head there for an extra long Queen’s birthday weekend.
We thought that the slightly-less-than-two-hour flight would be a good trial for bubs to see how she went on a plane. Ironically, she fell asleep as soon as the plane took off and then happily sat on hubby’s lap once she woke up, and I spent a good part of the (almost) landing with my head in a sick bag. Why did I say, almost landing? Well, we were a few hundred feet off from landing on the runway when the pilot pulled out because it was too windy. We ended up in Dunedin and was then put on a 4+ hour bus ride to Queenstown, all while I was feeling sick and bubs contentedly slept, cuddled up to hubby. At least it was scenic.
If you live here in NZ and haven’t been to Queenstown, you must go. If you don’t live here in NZ, but plan to come here at some point, definitely pay Queenstown a visit. It is such a beautiful part of the country. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. We hired a car and spent a bit of time visiting nearby places like Arrowtown, Wanaka and Glenorchy, and just driving around provided incredible views and sights.
But this is a food blog after all, so I thought I’d document what we ate and where we ate at on the trip. Excuse the quality of the photos – I used my camera phone.
So, where to begin…
On our first morning, we went to Avanti Restaurant for breakfast. Hubby ordered the shearer’s breakfast and I had the eggs benedict with bacon.
It was quite nice, but nothing special for breakfast.
Then we went to Arrowtown and had lunch at Cafe Mondo.
I had a BLT sandwich with (a lot of) fries and hubby had the seafood chowder. Again, a nice meal, but not outstanding.
We also visited The Remarkable Sweet Shop in Arrowtown and bought some creme brulee fudge.
Soooo yummy! Creamy, sweet and decadent.
That night we decided we wanted some fish and chips and so we went to fiNZ on the lakefront. A lovely view and good fish and chips, with an early bird special where you got a free soft drink or beer as well.
The fish was blue cod – perfectly cooked and with a nice, crispy batter. Obviously a bit pricier than your local takeaway fish and chips, but definitely a good meal.
The next morning we decided to try Vudu Cafe & Larder after reading the rave reviews on Trip Advisor. It was really busy, so we had to wait a bit for a table, but not too long.
Hubby ordered the free range poached eggs and grilled halloumi (served with smashed avocado, cherry tomatoes, shaved radish and olive oil on sourdough) and I had the house cured Mt Cook salmon with potato rosti, poached egg, spinach and beetroot relish.
Both meals were really delicious! We were pleased that it all lived up to the hype. If you don’t mind a busy and slightly chaotic atmosphere, the food is definitely worth it.
It was hubby’s birthday that day as well. He felt like having ribs, so for dinner we went along to Brazz. (Initially we had wanted to go to Flame Bar and Grill, but it was closed.) We both ordered the wings and ribs combo.
From observing the dishes that went past, it’s the sort of place where a lot of the meals have exactly the same sides with a different protein. The chicken wings were average – I expected them to be more like buffalo wings instead of served with a not-very-spicy tomato sauce. However, the baby back ribs were yummy – the meat was falling off the bone and came with a decent BBQ sauce.
I also had a nice pineapple and citrus mocktail.
We had dessert as well – I had the sticky date toffee pudding which was lovely and warming. Very sweet and rich though – I would have liked a bit more ice cream on the side. Hubby had the creme brulee which he said was pretty standard, but not as nice as some he’s had before.
Hubby was also handed a free birthday beer with dessert! (Not a standard thing though – it was because they’d run out of candles to put on his dessert.)
We headed out to Wanaka the next day and tried out Water Bar.
I had the soup of the day (chicken and noodle) which came with ciabatta bread and hubby had the beef nachos. The food was okay, but nothing special. A cheap, fast meal before we headed further up north to check out the Blue Pools at Haast Pass.
That night we got takeaways from Fergburger.
It’s pretty much mandatory to visit here if you come to Queenstown, although it’s crazy busy. We phoned ahead first as I wasn’t prepared to stand around in the cold waiting for our burgers.
I had the Chief Wiggum – a slow roasted pork belly burger. It was yummy, although I found it quite rich and couldn’t finish it (the burgers are huge). I also ordered the onion rings with aioli. These were not great unfortunately – the onion was still raw. Disappointing.
Hubby ordered the Big Al – a monstrosity of a burger which included two beef patties, two eggs, bacon and beetroot.
He finished it without too much of an issue, even stating that he thought it would be more of a challenge, but also noting that it was a really good burger.
The next day we tried Fergbaker which is an extension of Fergburger, but obviously a bakery. They’re both right next door to each other.
We both ordered the Ferg with cheese (a steak and cheese pie). Hubby also had a Boston cream doughnut and I had a vanilla slice. The pies were REALLY good – I’d go so far as to say that it was one of the best steak and cheese pies I’ve ever had in my life. Flaky pastry and crammed full of tender meat. YUM! I’m so sad that I’m not eating one right now.
I realised as I was eating the pie that I was definitely more of a pie person than a burger person. Even though everyone always talks about how great Fergburger is, I would not wait half an hour in zero degree conditions for one of those burgers. But if it was for one of those pies, well that’s a different story… In the end, we had those pies twice!
We also went up the Skyline Gondola that day and the views were magnificent. While up there, we had some hot chocolates from Market Kitchen. They were… meh… not that good.
On our last night in Queenstown, we thought we’d go and check out Public Kitchen & Bar after hearing great things from some friends of ours. Unfortunately it was closed (again!), so we wandered around until we came across Captains Restaurant, which I remembered had been rated highly on Trip Advisor.
We both had the Captains beef and reef which was a beef ribeye steak and half a Karitane crayfish served with dauphinoise potatoes, green beans and a Bearnaise sauce.
This was SO delicious and our favourite meal from the whole trip. The steak was really good. As well as this, the service was efficient, the food came out quickly and the place had a lovely, cosy atmosphere. We even ended up having a lovely chat to the Australian couple next to us who now reside in Vanuatu.
Some of the other dishes on the menu looked delicious too – hubby and I had a few covert peeks at what the waiters were carrying past us. The lamb shoulder for two looked great, as did the seafood platter. Hubby told me later that he was thinking of suggesting we try it, but decided not to because “there wasn’t a steak on it”.
So as you can tell, we had a great time in Queenstown, eating and enjoying the sights. And even though this is a food blog, the landscape really deserves some attention, so here are a few photos from our trip!