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Where to have a fire in Queenstown

Campfire | Credit: Ethan Hu

Camping and wood fires go together like pizza and pineapple, or kebabs and 2 am (can you really have one without the other...?). When it comes to picturesque DOC campsites, visitors to the Queenstown region are spoilt for choice as to where to stay, however due to safety concerns and some recent unfortunate events, campfires are banned year round at all DOC campgrounds except for Walter Peak. Worry not though as there are still plenty of great spots where you can have the campfire experience around Queenstown.


Walter Peak campsite, on the edge of Lake Wakatipu is the only Department Of Conservation campground where you are permitted (at the time of writing) to have a campfire in the Queenstown region. All other public DOC campsites have a year round ban on open fires. If you are looking to have an outdoor fire on private land in the area you will need to apply for a free permit from Fire and Emergency New Zealand. Also note that there is a 'total fire ban zone' around Queenstown that stays in place year round.

Worry not though my dear fire starters as there are still plenty of places to get you wood fire fix around the Queenstown area without the risk of breaking the law and starting a wild fire! I've compiled a wee list of venues in the region that have a great wood fire to warm your bones on a cold winter's day and get your crackling flame fix.

Where to find wood fires around Queenstown:

1. Paradise Huts

A true kiwi experience and the next best thing to a campfire. The rustic huts and accommodations on offer at Paradise Trust (30mins from Glenorchy) will take you back to simpler times, before Wifi and Netflix were all that mattered. This place will have you reconnecting with nature whilst getting back to basics. Each of the rustic cabins has a wood burner fireplace inside to keep you warm and satisfy those fire-building primal urges. Set in the wilderness and on the edge of both Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, the scenery here is beyond breathtaking. If you are after a 'no frills' style getaway and looking to lose the crowds, this is your place. You may even find yourself in a wood heated bathtub if you are lucky enough!

How to get here? Some things are best left a little more mysterious and hard to find, so we'll leave this one to work out for yourself.

2. Camp Glenorchy

With state of the art accommodation with old school camping traditions and environmental friendliness at its heart, Camp Glenorchy is like no other accommodation you've ever experienced. It's New Zealand's first 'net zero energy' destination that offers guests private/shared cabins as well as camping and campervan spots. The grounds are beautifully and functionally designed/landscaped and offer a number of amenities including an outdoor campfire shelter where guests can soak up the views of the southern alps whilst enjoying the crackling of a wood fire no matter the weather. Located in the quiet town of Glenorchy at the top of Lake Wakatipu (45mins for Queenstown) Camp Glenorchy offers the camping experience with fire included whilst not foregoing the luxuries of modern living and being bloody great for the environment! What's not to love about that...?!

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

3. Sherwood

One of Queenstown's hippest and trendiest spots, Sherwood is a restaurant, a bar, a live music venue, a yoga studio and accommodation. On second thought it's probably easiest to describe Sherwood as an immersive experience for all things awesome! No matter why or when you visit, be sure to make time for a drink and some food to enjoy by the outdoor fire pits. Well stocked with dry timber, the fireplaces are a popular choice to keep warm all afternoon/night long in the outside courtyard, underneath the very cool lighting. Grab yourself a mulled wine and pull up a pew to soak up the alpine/campfire vibes in truly unique setting.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

4. Bardeaux

Small bar, huge wine and whisky menu, comfortable lounges, smoldering fireplace, what more do you need?! Hidden down one of Queenstown's laneways, Bardeaux offers the perfect spot to swap the rowdiness of town and busier bars for comfort and quality. With an immense wine, whisky and cocktail menu, Bardeaux definitely serves your poison. Stepping inside you will be met with a small and darkly lit space (a third of which is taken up by the well stocked bar), comfortable lounges and seating and a wood fire slowly burning away, making it the perfect spot to escape on a moody eve or a relaxing aprés ski drink.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

5. Barmuda

If it's something a little more lively you are after but still with the warming glow of a real fire then check out Barmuda. Just a hop away from Bardeaux and specialising in a bit more of a party vibe, this bar often has Dj's spinning the decks in the evening and their indoor/outdoor large fireplace is the perfect spot to gather round with some mates and get lit... (get it? 😉 ). I have to mention that it's not always a raging party in here and it's well worth checking out for relaxing drink in the arvo or on one of the quieter mid-week nights before all the party animals emerge.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

6. Nugget Point

Conveniently located close the the Coronet Peak turnoff, Nugget Point is quite possibly Queenstown's ultimate winter destination. The double fireplace located in the well stocked bar and restaurant is just one of the reasons you will want to add this place to your list. Heading back from a day on the slopes? Then why not pull in and check out the incredible spa complete with hot tubs, sauna, steam room and pool (see the full list of treatment packages here). After chilling out and pampering yourself, head into the bar for a wee beverage and lounge by one of the log burning fireplaces before indulging in some Kiwi/Fijian inspired cuisine at the hotel's restaurant, Kanuka.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

7. Jack's Point Clubhouse

Nestled between The Remarkables mountain range and Lake Wakatipu sits (in our opinion) one of the world's most scenic golf courses, Jack's Point. And what would a world-class course be without an equally stunning clubhouse? Jack's Point does not disappoint! The simple, stylish and modern design seems to blend wonderfully into the surrounding landscapes and the lakefront position makes it the perfect spot for, breakfast, lunch or even just a beverage or two following a round of 18. Soak up the sun on the grass or enjoy the comfort of one of the large tables to relax in. However we are supposed to be talking about where to find the best wood fires in Queenstown, so let's do that. Inside the clubhouse there are three wood burning fireplaces to choose from, making it a perfect spot to warm yourself in the cooler months and its close proximity to The Remarkables ski field access road could have you tempted to swing in for a quick post-ski drinky-poo.

- Ironically, part of the clubhouse burnt down back in 2016! Since then it has been rebuilt and and the flames have been contained to the fireplace.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

8. The World Bar

A list of venues in Queenstown wouldn't be complete without the inclusion of The World Bar. It's been a Queenstown icon for years now and although the old venue unfortunately (and again, ironically) burnt down back in 2012, the new premises is a perfect spot to socialise, eat and warm yourself with a drink by the open fireplace. The alpine decor only adds to that winter wonderland/mountain cabin vibe that will have you never wanting to leave its cosy embrace.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

9. Brennan Winery

What goes better with a wood fire than a glass (or bottle) of wine? Not bloody much in my opinion. And when you are going to drink wine you are best to go straight to the source itself. Located in the Gibbston Valley wine region, Brennan Winery is a boutique and family owned producer of some of the region's best vinos. The quaint and intimate setting coupled with a few glasses of the region's best and a roaring fireplace makes for the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Queenstown. If you are lucky enough you may even get to snuggle up with Phoebe, Brennan's resident doggo/snacks enthusiast.

How to get here? Click here for location and directions in Google Maps.

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