The South Island of New Zealand, with the exception of Queenstown and Wanaka, was not the most Celiac-friendly place I’ve ever been, particularly in terms of finding gluten free restaurants. I ended up cooking for myself for 90% of the three week trip, and luckily New Zealand makes gluten free grocery shopping a breeze.
However, Queenstown was a little different.
There are some great gluten free restaurant options in Queenstown that are safe for celiacs, and I made it my personal mission to try all of them. I failed, and only made it to 5 out of the 8 on my list.
However, those five restaurants were among the best gluten free eats on the trip to New Zealand.
Heading to Queenstown? Click here to read my guide to 3 Days in Queenstown.
Traveling to the South Island of New Zealand? Here are some posts for you!
- A Crazy Detailed 2 Week New Zealand South Island Itinerary
- Gluten Free New Zealand: A Celiac’s Travel Guide
- The Best Gluten Free Travel Resources
- Gluten Free Wanaka: A Travel Guide for Celiacs
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, I would never recommend something to you that I don’t stand behind 100%.
The 8 Best Gluten Free Restaurants for Celiacs In Queenstown
World-Famous Burgers – Made Gluten Free – at Fergburger Queenstown
Fergburger is a must-stop for celiacs in Queenstown if you are craving a good burger made safely for you.
YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM YOU ARE A CELIAC, AND THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.
I sat in the corner of Fergburger in Queenstown, staring down at a monstrosity of a burger trying to figure out where to start. I looked up for a split second and I saw a signed Fergburger wrapper claiming “BEST BURGER IN THE WORLD”, framed and hung on the wall. Who could it be from?
I smiled to myself, and looked back down at my burger – the “Sweet Bambi,” a venison burger made on a gluten free bun in a separate part of the bustling kitchen – and took my first bite.
If it’s good enough for Ed Sheeran, it’s good enough for me.
Naturally, I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to eat at Fergburger, until I started doing some research into gluten free options in Queenstown. I found out that they check all of the celiac boxes:
- Dedicated fryer for french fries
- Knowledgable staff who perked up when I said “coeliac” and knew exactly what to do, and explained it to me despite the chaos around us
- Separate prep area for celiacs
- Great gluten free buns
This place is world-famous. It has been on lists of best burger in the world, and has even won a few times. They have a wide range of burger options, from a classic cheeseburger, to lamb and venison alternatives. Their fries are gluten free and made in a dedicated fryer (the onion rings are not gluten free).
Be prepared to wait for 30-45 minutes for your burger, but it’s worth the wait. It’s a small place, so grab your burger to go and take it to the waterfront, grab a seat, and dig in.
Was it the best burger I’ve ever had? Maybe. It’s certainly up there.
It is SO GOOD, so fresh, and so safe for celiacs.
It’s kind of like Chipotle with a Mediterranean flair (and better food). They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is a little different – they have some pre-portioned dishes to choose from, including buckwheat pancakes most times.
Here’s how lunch and dinner works. You pick a bowl size, pick a meat (they had a range from rotisserie chicken, to slow roasted lamb, to beef cheeks braised in a pomegranate sauce), and then fill your plate with side dishes. The sides rotate daily – I had everything from roasted potatoes and stuffed tomatoes, to harissa carrots and a watermelon feta salad.
Everything is made fresh in house daily. It’s not a dedicated gluten free kitchen, but everything is clearly labeled, and I asked the staff a few questions and they were knowledgable about how things were cooked. The majority of mains and sides were gluten free when I was there, but be sure to tell them you have celiac disease and need their help.
Big Fig is a reliable choice for all meals, and you should make at least one stop here while you’re in Queenstown, and maybe another stop while you’re in Wanaka.
Don’t eat the gluten free baked goods if you are a celiac – they are baked and prepared on the same equipment as the gluten-full options.
Tacos in a Dedicated Gluten Free Kitchen at Taco Medic
I’m a sucker for tacos, and this place scratched that itch in a big way. So much so that I went back for seconds AFTER DINNER the next night.
Taco Medic is a dedicated gluten free restaurant in the middle of Queenstown, and they have a range of roughly 8 tacos. Grilled fish and fried fish (gluten free!) that rotate with the catch of the day – they had prawns while I was there – fried chicken, grilled pork belly, and a couple of vegetarian options. They also have a range of three salsas to choose from – mango, jalapeno, and habanero (from mildest to spiciest) – which you should use.
You should definitely order the fried chicken, the pork belly, and the fried fish.
Their tacos were really good – the masa for the tortillas is brought in from Mexico, so you know it’s the good stuff. Side note: for whatever reason, I have never had a tortilla in the US or abroad as good as even the worst tortilla I had in Mexico City. Why is their masa so good? The real hero is the slaw, which is an underrated taco component. It gives their tacos a nice crunch and differing textures, which I think makes them more interesting.
They also have fresh-fried chips that are safe for celiacs, and you could get nachos if you weren’t excited about tacos. But who isn’t excited about tacos?
100% Gluten Free Fish and Chips at Erik’s in Queenstown
Their offering is pretty simple – pretty much any kind of seafood you could ever want – fish, oysters, you name it – fried in a gluten free batter, in a 100% gluten free facility.
And fries. Or chips. Whatever they’re called, they’re delicious, crispy, and perfectly cooked.
Make a stop here for lunch after a day of adventuring in Queenstown for some good old fashioned gluten free fish and chips. They also have a location in Wanaka.
Public Kitchen: a Gluten Free Restaurant on Queenstown’s Waterfront
This place is a good, solid gluten free option in Queenstown.
It’s not amazing food, but the thing I like is that on their menu, they differentiate between “gluten free” and “gluten free for coeliacs.” I appreciate the transparency and willingness to help coeliacs navigate their menu and food offerings.
It’s on the water, so that’s also a big plus.
The choices that are safe for coeliacs include braised beef cheeks, roasted fish, baked pork belly, and two vegetarian options. Among other things.
Good place to grab a gluten free bite and hang out on the water in Queenstown.
Other Celiac-Safe Gluten Free Restaurants in Queenstown
I didn’t make it to these three gluten free restaurants while I was in Queenstown (I was too busy at Big Fig three times in 24 hours), but they were on my list.
Hell Pizza – Certified by CoeliacNZ and their dining out program, they have gluten free crusts, prepared safely for coeliacs. Make sure to let them know your situation and ask for their help!
Rata – Slightly more upscale, but worth making a reservation. The food is supposed to be good, and most things can be modified to make them gluten free.
Rehab – good takeaway lunch spot with juices, small meals like spring rolls, and a variety of gluten free options.
Where to Find Gluten Free Groceries in Queenstown
In Queenstown, unlike other parts of New Zealand, there are plenty of gluten free restaurants to explore.
However, if you need to pick up some groceries, here’s where to do it. Here’s a list of my favorite gluten free foods I found at NZ grocery stores.
- There is a FreshChoice in town with a great selection of gluten free groceries.
- There’s a New World right next to the airport with a solid selection
- Soul Food Organics, which has a location in Wanaka, also has a new location in Queenstown stocked with organic and gluten free grocery items that are hard to find at the usual grocery stores.
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Queenstown isn’t that big, but you’re still going to want to stay fairly central to the downtown area.
Wondering where to stay in Queenstown? Here are some options for all budgets.
Budget-friendly: Jucy Snooze
With options from a “pod” (fancy term for a bunk) in a shared room for ~$20, to private rooms at around $90, you’ll find an option that works for you. Plus, it’s super central, just a few blocks away from everything you’ll ever want to do in Queenstown.
Sherwood is an Eco-friendly hotel overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. Beautiful rooms and amenities, and a short bus ride or walk to Downtown.
Mi-Pad is a modern hotel smack dab in the middle of Queenstown. 4 star accommodations, mountain views, and did I mention it’s literally in the middle of downtown Queenstown?
Airbnb options in Queenstown
Here are three Airbnb’s in Queenstown.
- Comfortable 1 Bedroom Apartment – Lakefront
- Stylish Lakeview Apartment – 10 mins walk to downtown
- Ultimate Lakefront Apartment
What to Do in Queenstown?
There is SO much to do in and around Queenstown. Whether you’re looking for something relaxing, or something to get your blood pumping, you’ll find it in Queenstown.
Here are some of the things that were on my list, along with my favorites from my trip.
- Take the Gondola to the top of the Tiki Trail.
- Go Ziplining!
- The Central Otago region is one of New Zealand’s best wine regions. Go on a wine tasting tour. Make sure to stop at Wet Jacket Wines, who have a lovely outdoor tasting area and a CHEESE ROOM featuring Whitestone Cheese, our favorite cheese we had in New Zealand.
- Go on a Jet Boat tour of nearby canyons.
- Last, but certainly not least, go bungee jumping in the world capital of bungee jumping. When in Rome, right?
Queenstown is a fantastic adventure town where you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for. Skydiving? Good gluten free restaurants? Bungee jumping? Wine tasting?
You can find all of those things, and more, in Queenstown. I highly recommend New Zealand’s South Island for all travelers, even those of us with celiac disease.