Heading South? Where to wine and dine this Christmas and New Year in Queenstown

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Don’t expect a white Christmas in New Zealand’s snow playground because in December the sun is shining down in Queenstown.

Many head to the adventure capital in summer to make the most of the warmer weather with plenty of fun activities to explore in and around Lake Wakatipu.

The town is also renowned for its food and wine scene with restaurants serving up premium Central Otago and Southland produce.

We’ve pulled together a round up of the best spots to celebrate this festive season, so ditch the dishes and rally the troops together.

For a Christmas do with a picturesque view, you can’t go past The Grille by Eichardt’s.

Mull over the year that was with a glass of Moët and an entrée of light, zingy scallop carpaccio before moving on to Havoc Farm roast ham carved off the bone served alongside crispy potatoes.

For the fancy foodies in the fam, smoked goose breast with local cherries and hazelnut praline – a meal fit for a king – is also on the menu.

Kiddies are catered for with delicious bites like crispy chicken dumplings, pigs in blankets, Christmas ham and potato gnocchi up for the picking.

When dessert rolls around prepare to share (because, children, right?) an old Kiwi favourite – the Pavlova – or an indulgent Christmas pudding.

Spending longer in the adventure capital? Send off 2019 in style, securing the best seat in the house to watch the fireworks over Lake Wakatipu while you wine and dine.

Just around the corner from The Grille, enjoy a relaxed Christmas lunch or dinner at No5 Church Lane. The team will serve up a twist on the classic Kiwi Christmas barbie, with a four-course menu of dishes like Hangi-style spring vegetables, Horoptio arancini and Otago stone fruit mince pies.

Peruse an extensive list of Central Otago vinos to complement your meal or have the mixologist whip you up a Christmas cocktail – Mistletoe Margarita, anyone?

If still in town by the time New Year rolls around, book a table at No5 and delight in a five-course sharing degustation before wandering (or rolling) down to the waterfront to catch all the buzz.

Book a babysitter and keep the good times rolling with an authentic dining experience that makes no apologies for unashamedly celebrating a love of meat every time of year at Jervois Steak House. With a set Christmas and New Year menu to please parents, its Savannah Angus Petit Eye Fillet, Wakanui scotch and Robins Island Wagyu sirloin is the meatiest way to ring in 2020.

Grownups can then nestle in at the iconic and very cosy Eichardt’s Bar and enjoy the best tipples in town, with a range of specialty cocktails to choose from like the Lock Stock & Barrel, Treacle Cherry Smoke and the Apple Pie Martini. Christmas and New Year bookings are essential.

Not heading on away on holiday?

Recreate a taste of summer in the south at home with this thirst-quenching Lady Violette recipe from Eichardt’s Bar perfect for warm climes and BBQs on the deck.

Eichardt's Bar Lady Violette

Lady Violette

Use a mall chilled goblet or coupe
45ml Beefeater gin infused with Lavender flowers for 24 hours
5ml Creme de violette liqueur
10ml Earl grey syrup (made using 2 parts sugar: 1 part strong tea)
10ml Cointreau
20ml Lemon juice
1 egg white


Espress oils from orange peel over drink, then cut peel into small ribbon and wrap around two lavender flower stems to create a small bouquet.

Add all ingredients to tin and shake with good sized ice cubes. Remove ice by straining and shake again without ice (dry shake). Fine strain into glass, place garnish on the edge of the glass and serve.

Content provided by The Grille, No5 Church Lane and Jervois Steak House

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