Where to find Queenstown's best coffee and brunch spots
14 July 2020
A question often asked by our guests on arrival (and one we always ask for ourselves when arriving in a new town) - where is the best coffee in Queenstown? It's a subject we have previously blogged about, and a page which is very popular on our website, but with Queenstown's ever changing plethora of offerings to navigate, we thought it was time for a bit of an update to bring us into the new decade.
When it comes to picking an updated list of Queenstown's best cafes, we've stuck with some firm favourites which have retained their position in our top ten, and a handful of newbies feature, but we will fill you in, from a locals perspective on where to find the best coffee & breakfast in Queenstown and the surrounding area.
So support local, skip to major coffee chains, and indulge in a delicious cup of joe from one of these locally owned and operated cafes (listed in no particular order - we don't do 'favourites' here…):
Multi-time winner of 'NZ Café of the Year', You will find some bloomin' good organic coffee at Bespoke Kitchen, but what really shines here is the food. Bespoke Kitchen's menu is full of nourishment, without compromising on flavour and fresh seasonal ingredients are crafted into beautiful dishes without any nasty processed foods, but still offering deliciousness that is hard to rival. The menu also caters well to vegetarian, vegan and gluten free diners. It's hard to find a "best café in Queenstown" list which doesn't feature this gem, and once you've tried it you'll understand why.
Insider Tip: Just after a quick coffee without food? When busy (which is most of the time) there is normally a dedicated staff member for coffee-only orders, so you can skip the long queue for food and grab your caffeine fix nice and quickly.
Escape the bustle of town, and relax at this charming café on the shores of Lake Wakatipu - sip your coffee outside on the deck overlooking the lake, or keep cosy inside next to the log burner. Grab one of the famous sticky cinnamon buns, or order brekkie from the menu which caters to all, even if you fancy just simple toast and local jams.
Insider Tip: Sometimes you just need to escape the parking struggles of the town centre and enjoy your morning coffee in a peaceful setting, and The Boatshed is a great option for this.
If you are staying in or visiting Arrowtown for the day, then this hidden treasure (tucked away off the main high street) is definitely worth seeking out. The coffee is crafted with care, and the food is fantastic, with constantly evolving seasonal menus, and daily specials. The interior is cosy with quirky vintage industrial styling, and some really cool chandeliers made from bike chains.
Insider Tip: If the weather is good enough, the balcony is a great spot to sit and people watch, with a view towards the main high street.
Another great option for those times when you just can't face the struggles of parking and are looking for a destination café - the type of café you drive out to just to visit as it's so charming. From the gorgeous historic cottage, to the beautiful gardens, the setting is immediately a winner, and the coffee and food just tops it all off. It's hard not to let your coffee date drag over into brunch/lunch/a lazy afternoon drinking wine, and you can easily pass hours in this divine spot. The food is authentic and generous, and this café/restaurant is a team favourite.
Insider Tip: If you are planning on brunching, it might pay to book ahead, as this popular café can be very busy and often turn clients away. You can book online via their website.
Perfect for a grab-and-go cup of joe, and with a fantastic selection of freshly prepared pastries and baked goods to choose from, you can also pick yourself up a little treat to nibble on as you go about your morning. There is no seating here, so avoid this choice if you are looking for somewhere to peacefully sip your coffee and relax, but the coffee is great and with the lake just around the corner, why not take a stroll and enjoy your caffeine fix and bakery delights with a side of fresh air and mountain views.
Insider Tip: Forget about the diet, and indulge in an almond croissant - full of buttery goodness, and entirely delicious.
With so many visitors now choosing to stay outside of Queenstown town centre, Odelay is a great choice for anyone in Frankton, Kelvin Heights or Lower Shotover. It's also a great option if you have some time to kill before a flight, as it is located just a minute away from Queenstown Airport. Always bustling with locals, you'll find good coffee, plenty of delicious treats in the cabinet to choose from as well as a breakfast/brunch menu with all the classics.
Insider Tip: Kids will love watching the planes and helicopters take off and land at the airport, which is right by the café - but don't worry, you won't be disturbed by the noise of the planes when sitting inside.
Perfect for the early birds amongst us, this lovely local café opens from 6am. Choose from outdoor or indoor seating, both with great views of the street for some downtown people watching. The coffee is great, there is a wide selection of loose leaf teas, and some divine freshly squeezed juices. The breakfast menu offers the usual classics, but also some 'light breakfast' options should you prefer something smaller to start your day.
Insider Tip: There is handy parking right outside this cafe, and Queenstown gardens are accessed just across the road – perfect for enjoying a stroll afterwards to walk off your breakfast scone!
Channel your inner hipster and mix with the trendy souls at Yonder. This is one of the very rare few places which seamlessly transitions from morning breakfast spot to evening cocktails and live music, so you can give yourself a hangover and cure it all in one spot…. The lovely outdoor terrace is a fantastic place to enjoy your morning coffee - even in winter months, offering heated seats and cosy blankets! Yonder is another great choice for the health conscious, and features some fantastic choices on the menu for vegetarian, vegan, dairy free and gluten free diners, but still has the trusty bacon butty for those mornings when you simply need something indulgent.
Insider Tip: We love their range of lattes to rival the coffee - turmeric is our fave, but you will also find a beetroot latte and charcoal latte on the menu for those mornings when you need something a little more nourishing that caffeine.
Although not quite fitting the criteria of 'independent' cafes (there are a number of Joes' around New Zealand), this new kid on the block is simply too cool to ignore. We love the industrial deck out of the interior and the handy location in Queenstown's newest shopping hub. The coffee is great, the staff are hip and the menu is full of hearty dishes, perfect for starting the day with a full tummy.
Insider Tip: Grab yourself a booth next to the far window for views out to The Remarkables mountain range whilst you sip your coffee.
Ye olde faithful, Vudu café has been a go-to for Queenstown locals for over 10 years, and it is still going strong. Bought to you by the same people who run Bespoke Kitchen, this tried and true formula of good coffee and nutritious and delicious food is complimented by the lakeside location. The only downside is trying to find a place to sit, but the team is on hand to help manage the queue and table allocation.
Insider Tip: If the weather is warm enough, sit outside and watch the people strolling around the lake – there are often buskers entertaining the crowds just outside, including Queenstown’s famous “singing” dog.