There’s not a cloud in the sky, the heat is up and you’re ready to emerge, but where to go? We hunted high and low for places worthy of your time in the sun.
Words Gaynor Stanley
New life continues to be breathed into the splendid heritage buildings of Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct. Built to house companies riding high on the Otago gold rush, over the past couple of years
these historic gems have been revived and gentrified to attract creative workspaces and ‘it’ places to eat like Vogel St Kitchen, Precinct Food and Taste Nature. Talk of the town over the winter months was restaurant newcomer Moiety taking up residence in the former Terminus Hotel. Diners are flocking to enjoy Sam Gasson and Kim Underwood’s five-course menu unpretentiously plating the best of local produce (venison tartare anyone?) in an intimate dining room stripped back to the building’s original brick, steel and hefty beams.
Coming very soon to Vogel St in the Warehouse Precinct is Kind Grocer, a plant-based grocer, deli and herbal dispensary.
For more warehouse architecture done with thoughtful attention to detail, you can book to stay right upstairs in a one- or two-bedroom loft-style apartment at The Terminus.
Elsewhere in the Terminus Hotel building you’ll find Brendan Seal making wine. Yes, actually pressing grapes and cellaring right on the premises. When not winemaking for Chard Farm, Mt Difficulty and Mt Edward, Brendan has finessed pinot noirs and aromatic whites in California, Oregon and Alsace. Observing the trend to urban wineries in cities like Portland and Melbourne, with similarly exceptional winemaking regions in their backyards, Brendan decided the concept was ideal for Dunedin. After trialling a pop-up venture, URBN VINO Project has now established a permanent home in the historic pub to craft small parcel, single vineyard wines from Central Otago. Visit the new cellar door open Saturdays from 1-5pm or by appointment, or try an URBN VINO wine at Ombrellos Kitchen & Bar, NOVA or Vogel St Kitchen.
Speaking of Ombrellos, this much-loved Dunedin eatery is poised to open a new venue underneath Petri Dish on Stafford St.
We didn’t need another excuse to take the spectacular 40-minute drive up Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy but the Full Monty has us planning our next trip. This fully-clothed experience is a gelato sundae served in a waffle cup with raspberries and organic chocolate chips on top. The gelato is just one of many temptations at Mrs Woolly’s General Store, where you can furnish a picnic from fresh local meats and produce and breads, cookies and pastries, all made in-house.
Definitely don’t limit yourself to a day trip though when Camp Glenorchy and Mrs Woolly’s Campground are new at the head of the lake too. Glampers can bunker down in one of eight canvas tents that fling open their flaps for the summer season this month. Each features a king, queen or two twin beds, fresh linens, a carpet, cushioned chairs, and coffee and fresh pastries delivered each morning. For a family camping experience that’s way more ritz than rustic, then Camp Glenorchy offers en suite bathrooms and designer interiors in quirky cabins rivalling the Humboldt Mountains backdrop for eye candy. You’ll sleep even sounder knowing Camp Glenorchy is the country’s first net zero energy use visitor accommodation and that all profits from each of these associated endeavours are directed back into a community trust.
Eichardt’s Bar in Queenstown was crowned Asia & Pacific’s Best Hotel Bar in this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Awards, so make sure you peruse the cocktail list before ordering your go-to glass of Bollinger.
Following the bad luck of a fire in August, the hidden away gem that is Ode Wanaka expects to reopen later in October and has just been named as a finalist for Cuisine’s Good Food Awards (along with neighbours Bistro Gentil and Kika). Serving the best of local organic produce in a three- or eight-course menu alongside a full organic and biodynamic wine list and locally distilled spirits.
It’s now been more than a year since Original Sin began tempting us back to The Terrace, soon followed by the cocktail lounge Kong. Fast-forward to today and the choice is all yours – Craft Embassy, Botanic, Terrace Tavern, Bangalore Polo Club, Amaterrace Teppanyaki, Fat Eddie’s and Amazonita, all injecting new blood into the old ‘strip’. If you haven’t yet ventured to explore the precinct’s laneways and stairwells, you’ll find the vibe these days is much more ‘grown up’ with some very glamorous fitouts, serious kitchens and striking architecture embracing the Avon River outlook. We wait with bated breath for Chiwahwah to add Mexican to the menu options… any day now.
And after a year and a half in development, the new Hoyts multiplex complex EntX Entertainment Centre opened September 28 to enliven the prime Colombo and Lichfield street corner with seven cinemas and 13 eateries.
The southern end of town is also getting some serious love from the hospitality sector as the city rebuilds. Blink-and-you’d-miss-it Welles Street is becoming quite the hospo hub with its namesake pub where the beers rotate but the mezze and rotisserie chook are consistently flavour-packed. Next door is Bootleg BBQ Co and along the street it’ll be double delights when Auckland fave Burger Burger moves in with Supreme Supreme at the end of the year to introduce Cantabs to its slow-cooked meats, vegan specialties and sustainable ethos.
While you weren’t paying attention, Sydenham has become something of a foodie hotspot too. 5th Street (Elgin Street) took out the gong for Outstanding New Establishment of the Year in the recent Christchurch Hospitality Awards, as voted by industry peers. Its older sister across the road, Hello Sunday, claimed the People’s Choice award and was a finalist in the Outstanding Café category, along with newcomer Southside Social (Wordsworth Street) – abrought to you by Eaton Drink Co, which has added this delicious daytime eatery to its catering operations and promises a garden bar this spring. Over on Colombo Street, The Fermentist was in the running for Outstanding Ambience and Design but its inexpensive wholesome food, kombuchas and craft ales and garden are even more compelling reasons to visit. And the feline inclined should book in for an hour-long cuppa with a side of furry snuggles at the cat-café-cum-adoption-agency, Catnap, just across the street.
And if that’s whet your appetite for exploring the far reaches of our city, set your GPS for Roydvale Ave in Burnside to enjoy Strange Bandit, the second venture by celebrated Moorhouse Avenue barista Luciano Marcolino. Go east to discover the organic deli delights of BearLion Foods in New Brighton, head up Mount Pleasant to the Summit Road and stupendous views of My Coffee at Hornbrook, or drink in the harbour view from the rooftop bar at Eruption Brewing in Lyttelton.