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If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit New Zealand then you will know that New Zealanders are very keen on their coffee. Some may even say “fussy”. In fact, coffee culture is so important here that most gas stations across the country have an in-house barista.
So, it will come as no surprise that Queenstown – the brightest jewel in New Zealand’s crown, has more than its fair share of excellent cafés. In fact, in this blog, I list 7 of the best cafés in Queenstown to drink coffee. The list includes an old heritage building on the lake’s edge in Frankton and a café in central Queenstown that also serves up some of the yummiest homemade chocolates in the Southern Hemisphere.
Drinking coffee is one of the best things to do in Queenstown so I’m excited to share this list of the best cafés with you!
1. Patagonia Chocolates
Located smack-bang in central Queenstown is the super-popular Patagonia Chocolates, a staple in the coffee world in the Queenstown area. There’s a total of four Patagonia Café’s in Queenstown – one in central Queenstown, one in Wanaka, one in Arrowtown, and the last at Queenstown Airport.
Patagonia Chocolates was established in 2005 by Argentinian-born owners Alex Gimenez and Lorena Giallonardo, who felt Queenstown was seriously missing out on the awesome chocolate so famous in their homeland.
If I’m honest, Patagonia Chocolates are most famous for their amazing chocolates and homemade ice cream, but their coffee is great too. They roast their own beans and you can even buy a bag of their ground beans to take home if you fancy. Be prepared to queue here during Queenstown’s busy summer months or on weekends.
There’s plenty of seating upstairs and downstairs inside the café. For a really romantic activity in Queenstown, I love to get a takeaway coffee (and truffle) and sit on the wall outside overlooking Lake Wakatipu with my partner.
If you’re not a coffee lover, then be sure to try out their hot chocolate to warm you up on one of Queenstown’s cold winter days, you can literally see the melted chocolate being stirred around in vats at the counter. I assure you it is phenomenal! Also worth trying is their chocolate truffles, my personal favorite flavors being raspberry and passionfruit.
Related Read: Patagonia Chocolates is also one of the best cafes in Arrowtown – find out what my other choices are in my blog!
Very popular with locals is Odelay Café located in the Remarkables Park shopping district (just beyond the Airport). Their cabinet is filled to the brim with freshly-made sandwiches, pastries, and cakes. Their hot food menu is also excellent – I especially love their buttermilk pancakes from the breakfast menu. And for lunch, you can’t go wrong with the Odelay burger.
Odelay has a warm cozy atmosphere and it’s busy pretty much all of the time. So be sure to arrive before the breakfast and lunch rush to grab a seat. There are picnic-style benches outside if you fancy sitting in the sun on a nice day. But the majority of the seats are indoors and there’s a large shared table in the center and some booths along the sides.
Odelay is a regular haunt with Queenstown locals so it is definitely doing something right. After spending a few years in the area, I’ve come to realize the locals can be hard to please, and rightly so, it’s said that only the best survive on the Queenstown café scene.
The staff are always very friendly, and it has a relaxed vibe. That combined with their delicious food and coffee makes Odelay one of the best cafés in Queenstown.
Related Read: Sipping on a coffee with mountain views at Odelay is one of the most relaxing things to do in Queenstown – find out what the rest are!
3. The Boatshed
The Boatshed definitely has the best view out of all the cafés in Queenstown! Located right on the lakefront on the Frankton walking track, you can sit with your coffee and look out across Lake Wakatipu to Kelvin Heights and down to Frankton Beach.
The building itself dates as far back as 1869 and was previously used as a store. As the years passed, the building fell into disrepair, then, in 2011 a group of locals took it upon themselves to restore it to its current glory. It’s far to say this café is steeped in history and you can see photos of The Boatshed throughout the years inside.
I love the Boatshed’s seasonal french toast (ordered it numerous times!!) The flavor changes every few months, my personal favorite is the apple crumble french toast.
On a sunny day, grab a seat outside and watch the activity on Lake Wakatipu – the ferry going back and forth or one of Queenstown’s scenic lake cruise boats whizzing by. This beautiful location is really what sets The Boatshed apart from other cafes around Queenstown and is its claim to fame.
Why not make a day of it and cycle, segway, or walk the Frankton Walking Track from the Queenstown Gardens to get here, it should take about an hour to 90 minutes each way. If you don’t fancy the walk back you can catch the bus back to the center of town from the Marina bus stop nearby.
Related Read: Planning on going for a bike ride? Check out the best bike trails in Queenstown!
The best coffee in Queenstown is found at Vudu on 16 Rees Street. Deceivingly larger than it first looks, there is ample seating both inside and outside.
In the cabinet, they serve a ton of freshly baked goodies and even have a fantastic selection of gluten-free products. I personally love their chocolate brownies, they sometimes also have a raspberry chocolate brownie which is to die for!
From their breakfast menu, I urge you to try their grilled halloumi and poached eggs or their french toast pudding. If you’re here for lunch, then their flatbread with pulled pork is extremely yummy.
Not forgetting their coffee – Vudu serves up Allpress coffee beans which are extremely popular across New Zealand.
Vudu is always busy, so if you plan on dining here for their busy lunch service, show up early to snag a seat. You could always grab a takeaway and walk through nearby Queenstown Gardens.
Related Read: The trail in the Queenstown Gardens is one of the best easy hikes in Queenstown – find out what the rest are!
5. Bean Around the World
A quirky, lesser-known addition to the best coffee shops in Queenstown is the award-winning Bean Around the World on Athol Street (next to Four Square Alpine – one of the best supermarkets in Queenstown). Little known to tourists and hidden away from the hustle and bustle is Bean Around the World which is my kind of place to sit and read on a dark and rainy day in Queenstown.
There are very limited seats inside, maybe 10 seats max, but I think that’s what makes it so special. Grab a stool by the window and people watch.
They roast their own coffee here and have won numerous awards for their beans at the New Zealand Coffee Awards. Established in 1995, they’ve been selling their awesome coffee to businesses and locals for over 25 years! You can buy their coffee beans here for a great price – we found it to be cheaper than some of the coffee beans at the supermarkets! It’s also a family-run business.
When you visit be sure to look behind the counter to see their very beautiful, vintage coffee machine.
Also, worth noting is that they don’t serve food at Bean Around the World. With that said, their coffee alone makes them one of the best cafes in Queenstown. And if you don’t believe me, you will once you taste it for yourself!
Located in the picturesque old mining town of Arrowtown is this restored old miners cottage turned into a café. The building itself dates as far back as the 1870s and was restored and re-opened as a café in 2010.
Provisions of Arrowtown is all about fresh food with a modern twist and offers both a daily specials menu as well as yummy counter food. Provisions is extremely popular with tourists because it’s so goddamn cute to look at, but, thankfully their food and coffee are great too.
There’s a gorgeous garden seating area outside, particularly beautiful in the spring and summer because of the gorgeous flowers blooming in the garden. Be sure to try their lemon meringue donut or their sticky buns (which they’re famous for in the Queenstown area). Visiting Provisions is easily one of the top places to visit in Arrowtown.
Did you know Provision’s sister café is the aforementioned Boatshed Café in Frankton Marina? So, it’s no wonder that I love both of these cafes!
Ferbaker’s sister business is the infamous Fergburger. Trying one of their famous burgers is one of the most popular cheap things to do in Queenstown with everyone from Ed Sheeran to Johnny Depp gracing its store on Shotover Street! But locals know that the pies from Fergbaker are just as good as the burgers next door. Of course, their coffee is very good too.
As well as pies, Fergbaker also serves cakes, donuts, bread, and lots of other freshly baked goods. You must try their pork belly pie! And their Boston cream donut! Yum, my mouth is watering just thinking of both!
Also highly recommended is the gelato from Mrs. Ferg next door.
The staff at Fergbaker needs to wake up early, with the store opening daily at 6 am (which luckily for you means you can grab that all-important coffee before you go off on your day trip to Milford Sound or the likes.) Grab some food to go too, it is one of the best places for breakfast in all of Queenstown serving delicious croissants and sandwiches.
There’s no seating available at Fergbaker so you must get a takeaway but with Lake Wakatipu just around the corner, grab your coffee and sweet goodies and sit on the lakefront and enjoy the views.
Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
While in Queenstown there are plenty of other activities that will keep you busy… Honestly, there are so many it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites.
- Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting – This is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money, for $215 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
- TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise – This scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown is an activity great for any afternoon. The ship you will be cruising on is the Historic TSS Earnslaw and you will get to watch crew members add coal to the flames that power the vessel. Take in the mountain ranges and lush green valleys of Otago. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
- Queenstown Canyoning Adventure – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek your way down a part of a Queenstown canyon with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
- Day Trip to Milford Sound With Picnic Lunch – This tour will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a cruise in Milford Sound included. This small-group tour goes for $249 NZD a person and I think it’s a really great value for a more personalized experience.
- Extreme Jet Boating – Looking for a thrill? Jet Boating is one of New Zealand’s most unique activities. On the tour out of Queenstown, you’ll be able to zoom up the Shotover River through narrow canyons at high speeds and make 360-degree spins. Trust, me it’s epic!
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.
Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned!
To get you started, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.
Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $
The first is for budget travelers and that’s Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget private rooms and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu! Dorms are around $65 NZD, and private rooms begin around $230 NZD. It is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
La Quinta Queenstown – $$
If you have a little more money to spend, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. It’s a beautiful hotel in a quiet but close location and the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!). The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room. Prices start at $200 NZD and you can book online here.
Kamana Lakehouse – $$$
For a luxurious stay, you can’t pass on Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town, far enough that it’s peaceful but close enough to walk to take a short drive into the center of town. Many of the rooms boast lake views, and some even have outdoor baths! The trick will be snagging this for your dates (it’s a popular place!). Rooms start around the $400 NZD mark and you can check availability and book online here.
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It is what most budget backpackers get for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (DTRAVEL5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one, you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
- JUCY – JUCY is one of our favorite rental companies in New Zealand! They have a huge inventory and offer regular cars, small campervans, larger campervans, and even motorhomes! The prices are also super competitive and their multiple offices around NZ make pick-up and drop-off a breeze. You can check availability, prices, and book with JUCY online here.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
It’s fair to say coffee is almost a religion in New Zealand and I’ve had some of the best cups of coffee of my life here. Drinking coffee in Queenstown has become a favorite past-time of mine – there are so many awesome cafés to choose from. I hope you’ll find your next favorite café in Queenstown on this list!
Thanks so much for reading! if you loved this blog then browse around My Queenstown Diary for more great tips and tricks to visiting Queenstown and the surrounding area! I’ve also included a few guides to get you started here: