Queenstown’s scenic backdrop makes it the perfect location for a picnic. Whether you’re keen to escape the hustle and bustle of the dynamic township, or you’d like to revel in the central public spaces, you’re guaranteed to find your happy place in this cool New Zealand destination. To help make your decision easier, here are eight of the very best spots to visit.
St Omer Park is just a few minutes’ distance from downtown, and has plenty of facilities to please local picnickers. Grab all your essentials from the nearby Four Square Alpine, and make your way over to Esplanade Road. As you venture into the park itself, you’ll have a choice between lighting up one of the area’s barbecues, or simply setting up station by the exquisite Lake Wakatipu.
Even closer to town, the tranquil Queenstown Gardens are a great place to rest up after a busy morning. Settle yourself by the grassed areas to soak up the beautiful blooms in your vicinity. If you’d like to stretch your legs, a walking trail will lead you towards Lake Wakatipu. The gardens also include an 18-hole disc golf course, a tennis and bowling club, and a seasonal ice skating rink that comes alive every winter.
Earnslaw Park is located right at the heart of the town centre, overlooking Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range. It’s a popular spot over the summer — people love to go here to kick back and relax with a good book. Every Saturday, the park hosts the Queenstowns Arts and Crafts Market, and the Winter Festival is also held in this location every year. Needless to say, there’s plenty to keep you entertained while you enjoy a scenic lunch downtown.
Stock up on supplies in Frankton before going on a 20-minute drive to Kelvin Heights Peninsula — there’s a New World supermarket at the nearby Remarkables Shopping Centre. Once you’ve reached your picnic destination, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panorama of Lake Wakatipu. Fuel up, take a breather and, if you’re feeling up to it, head to the walkway for an easygoing 90-minute stroll.
A scenic 15-minute drive towards Arrowtown will lead you to the lovely Lake Hayes. Along with the exquisite lake and alpine views, you’ll get to relish a walking trail that’s quite popular among joggers and cyclists. Lake Hayes is also quite close to the Amisfield Vineyard and Bistro, so you could always add a bit of wine tasting to your itinerary if the occasion suits.
How about a road trip? Wilson Bay is right on the route from Queenstown to Glenorchy, making it a worthy contender for a picnic. The serene reserve is beautifully adorned with still waters all around. It only takes 10 minutes to reach Wilson Bay from Queenstown, and there are plenty of hiking and cycling trails for active travellers to enjoy.
This one is also en route to Glenorchy, though it’s slightly further afield. The Twelve Mile Delta is located 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) from Queenstown, and comes with ample picnic and camping facilities. A pebble beach overlooking Lake Wakatipu is right on its doorstep, and there’s plenty of greenery to admire too. As a bonus, all The Lord of the Rings fans will receive bragging rights for feasting at the film site for Ithilien Camp.
A winding road, tightly enveloped by Lake Wakatipu, is the highlight of the idyllic 45-minute drive from Queenstown to Kingston. Right on arrival, you’ll have your pick of lakeside picnic tables to settle into. From there, you can just relax by the water’s edge as you marvel at the South Island’s breathtaking beauty.