VENUES

INDEX

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CANYON’S LODGE – CLICK HERE
GANTLEY’S RESTAURANT – CLICK HERE
GIBBSTON VALLEY WINERY – CLICK HERE
JACK’S POINT – THE CLUBHOUSE RESTAURANT – CLICK HERE
LAKE HAYES PAVILION – CLICK HERE
MILLBROOK RESORT – CLICK HERE
MOUNT SOHO WINERY – CLICK HERE
QUEENSTOWN GARDENS – CLICK HERE
QUEENSTOWN LAKE-FRONT – CLICK HERE
SKYLINE GONDOLA & RESTAURANT – OTHER – CLICK HERE
STONERIDGE ESTATE & THE CHAPEL BY THE LAKE – CLICK HERE
THURLBY DOMAIN – CLICK HERE
WINEHOUSE – CLICK HERE

CANYON’S LODGE

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Possibly with a marquee / Seating capacity: TBC / Catering provided: No / On-site accommodation: Yes, Distance from Queenstown: 4.5 km

Website: www.thecanyonslodge.com / Email: info@thecanyonslodge.com  / Phone: +64 (0)3 442 6108 / Address: 13 Watties Track, Arthur’s Point 9371 Queenstown

I have shot a several weddings at Canyon’s Lodge over the years and I think it’s a fantastic venue, mainly because of the awesome people running this venue*.

Canyon’s Lodge is located in Arthur’s Point, only about 5 kilometres out of town but in a peaceful rural setting with a huge lawn and stunning views over the Shotover River.  In short, it’s a beautiful venue and a great place to get married.

The Lodge itself has a small number of rooms providing deluxe accommodation.  Although the Lodge is a fairly large house it would only cope with a very small number of guests as either a (bad weather backup/indoor) ceremony or reception venue.  However they have a huge flat lawn so the option to set up a marquee is there.  Canyon’s Lodge is run by Sarah Hinch, who’s partner owns and runs the nearby Gantley’s Restaurant.

Note: Canyon’s Lodge used to be run by Sarah Hinch, good friend of mine and a generally awesome person.  It was mainly because of Sarah (because she does such an awesome job not because she’s a friend) that I recommended Canyon’s Lodge a fair bit in the past.  Usually in conjunction with having the reception at  Gantley’s Restaurant, as these two venues work very well together and Brent, the owner of Gantley’s, is Sarah’s partner.  As of July 2016 I am unsure who is currently running Canyon’s Lodge.  I know that Sarah’s lease was due to expire soon or has expired already and that she wasn’t renewing the lease.  Because I don’t know who will be running Canyon’s Lodge from now on I can’t speak to their efficiency and friendliness.
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GANTLEY’S RESTAURANT

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: 80 – 100 / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 7 km

Website: www.gantleys.co.nz / Email: gantleys@xtra.co.nz  / Address: 172 Arthur’s Point Road, Arthur’s Point, Queenstown 9371

Gantley’s is a fine-dining restaurant set in a beautiful old stone homestead with stunning gardens.  The gardens are beautiful in any season and almost any weather and the restaurant is gorgeous inside and out.  For these reasons Gantley’s is a great place for a wedding ceremony or reception and is a photographer’s dream.  The restaurant is located about 10 minutes out of town as you head towards Coronet Peak or Arrowtown (on the back road).  The food and wine at Gantley’s is FANTASTIC and Brent (the owner/manager) is a total pro.

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GIBBSTON VALLEY WINERY

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: yes / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 25 km

Website: http://www.gibbstonvalleynz.com / Email: online contact form  / Phone: +64 3 442 6910  / Address:  Gibbston RD1, 1820 State Highway 6, Queenstown

UPDATE: Gantley’s winery has recently launched the Wine Vault, a new building/room designed for weddings and the like.  I was lucky enough to attend the official launch party in January 2017 and will add some photos as here as soon as i have a chance.

I have been to quite a few wedding receptions at Gibbston Valley Winery over the years.  It is a great location – fantastic food and wine, beautiful gardens (and obviously vineyards) outside, there is also their wine-cave, which is quite a unique location for wedding photos.

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JACK’S POINT – THE CLUBHOUSE RESTAURANT

NEWSFLASH

On 10 August 2016 there was a large fire at the Jack’s Point Clubhouse and the building was “extensively damaged”.

In initial reports I read a representative of Jack’s Point said they would have the Clubhouse repaired and operational in “a few weeks”.  However, I have already been contacted by one bride who’s wedding was booked in at for October and she was told by Jack’s Point that they were cancelling all weddings for the year.  Earlier in the week a local radio station (I think from memory it was More FM) reported the rumour that Jack’s Point was waiting on the word from insurers and if the insurers gave them the ok on insurance they would be bulldozing the building.  This may of course be nothing more than rumour but either way I think it’s safe to say that Jack’s Point won’t be taking on any wedding bookings at The Clubhouse in the next 6 – 12 months at least.

I’ll keep you updated as and when I hear more.  And of course all of the above is second hand information so I can’t guarantee it’s accuracy.  Here’s a link to the Otago Daily Times report on the fire, including video footage – https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/fire-jacks-point-golf-course.

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: no / Distance from Queenstown: 16 km

Contact: Samantha Collins  / Website:  www.jackspoint.com/restaurant / Email: functions@jackspoint.com  / Phone: +64 21 178 9474 /  Address:  McAdam Drive, Jack’s Point, Queenstown

I have yet to shoot a wedding at Jack’s Point but I have worked out there on several other shoots over the years and know the place well.  I think Jack’s Point would make a great venue for a wedding, and so I have decided to include it in my list of Queenstown wedding venues.  I will add more information as and when I have it.

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LAKE HAYES PAVILION

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: No /  On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 14 km

Website:  http://www.qldc.govt.nz/events/venues/lake-hayes-pavilion / Email: info@lakesleisure.co.nz / Phone: +64(0)3 441 0499  / Address:  719 Gibbston Highway Queenstown

The Lake Hayes Pavilion is a very popular and quite affordable venue – usually for wedding receptions rather than ceremonies.  Popular spots near the Pavilion for ceremonies include Stoneridge Estate (across the road), the Lake Hayes Recreation Reserve (at the Arrowtown end of Lake Hayes and only a 5 minute drive from the pavilion).  Also quite nearby are Trelawn Place and Canyon’s Lodge (15 – 20 minutes).  Arrowtown is also only 10 minutes away so you could consider a number of ceremony venues there.

In the meantime I just stumbled across this post on stuff.co.nz re venue costs for weddings at The Lake Hayes Pavilion – http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/8032556/Wedding-tourists-to-pay-more.  It seems that from now on a 3 day hire of the Pavilion from Friday to Sunday (which it seems must be compulsory for a weekend wedding) will cost you $1300 incl GST if you’re a Queenstown rate-payer and $1720 including GST if you’re not.

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LAKE HAYES RECREATION RESERVE

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: No / Seating capacity: indefinite / Catering provided: No / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 17 km

Website:  unknown / Email: services@qldc.govt.nz / Phone (24/7): +64(0)3 441 0499 / Address:  roughly 229 Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road, Queenstown

Note: I believe that the Lake Hayes Recreation Reserve is managed by the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Department of Conservation just handles the walkway.  If’ I’m wrong about this and QLDC can’t help no doubt they will tell you who to contact regarding holding your wedding ceremony at the Lake Hayes Reserve.

There is no cover at Lake Hayes Reserve itself, but there is always the nearby Lake Hayes Pavilion.  The scenery is nowhere near as beautiful up there for photos in my opinion but you can drive between the two in five minutes so the pavilion could be an excellent bad weather back-up for Lake Hayes Reserve.  The Reserve is about 15 minutes from Queenstown (between Arrowtown and Queenstown but closer to Arrowtown).

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MILLBROOK RESORT

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: Yes / Distance from Queenstown: 19 km

Website: www.millbrook.co.nz / Email: weddings@millbrook.co.nz / Phone: +64 3 441 7000 ext. 7430 / Address:  Malaghans Road,  Arrowtown 9348

Millbrook Resort is a huge resort complete with golf course, it’s own restaurant, several small ponds, beautiful willow trees, a mill-house complete with water wheel etc.

There are lots of locations for stunning bridal party photos at Millbrook, and they can take care of everything for you – accommodation, catering, the reception venue etc.

Millbrook is located about 20 minutes from Queenstown, just a few minutes out of Arrowtown.

(Note: I have shot bridal party photos at Millbrook and have taken many other types of photographs there but I haven’t photographed a wedding ceremony or reception there yet).

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MOUNT SOHO WINERY

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 23 km

Website: www.mountsoho.co.nz / Email: mountsoho@gmail.com / Phone: 03-409 8995 / Mobile: 0274 956 221 / Address:  304 McDonnell Road, Queenstown 9371

This beautiful winery is five minutes from Arrowtown and approximately 20 minutes from Queenstown.

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PEREGRINE WINERY

PEREGRINE WINERY

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA /  Catering provided: No / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 27.5 km

Website: www.peregrinewines.co.nz / Email: info@peregrinewines.co.nz / Phone: +64 3 442 4000 / Address:  2127 Kawarau Gorge Road, Gibbston RD1, Queenstown 9371

Peregine is a stunning wedding venue and I would highly recommend it as an option to any couples looking to get married in the Queenstown area.

One of the things that Peregrine has that makes it so ideal as a venue is it’s roof – the swooping falcon’s (or Peregrine’s) wing that gives the building’s architecture such a striking look.

Apart from looking great as a backdrop what this roof does is keep the sun and weather off you (and me) while allowing stunning panoramic views. So you get all the benefits of being inside – protection from the strong Otago sun, or even wind and rain while being outside.  Not only this, but the roof is made of an opaque material that creates a soft diffuse light even on a hard-sun day at noon.  Now this may not mean much to you non-photographers out there, but it’s a photographer’s dream. It means nice soft light for flattering portrait photos and it also means as a photographer you don’t generally need to use flash which means less distraction for you and your guests during the ceremony and more natural looking photos.

On top of this, I recently stumbled across something on the Peregrine website mentioning a huge new Baytex marquee that Peregrine have bought for use at functions & weddings.  (It does get quite windy in the Gibbston Valley so this is a welcome addition.  I believe the marquis is not permanently erected but is put up as and when required, but I could be wrong).  I can’t for the life of me find this marquee mentioned anywhere on the Peregrine website when I tried to find it again.  However I did find this page on the Baytex website with photos of the marquis in place at Peregrine.  Please contact Peregrine for more info.

Peregrine offers a number of beautiful spots for bridal party photos, which means you don’t need to leave for a couple of hours of photos somewhere else and have your guests wondering where you’ve disappeared to!  Oh, and did I mention they do pretty good wine…?

Last but not least I would just like to say that no, I am not employed by Peregrine, nor (unfortunately) do I have shares in the business!

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QUEENSTOWN GARDENS

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: No / Seating capacity: Indefinite / Catering provided: No / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 0 km

Website: www.qldc.govt.nz/leisure-and-culture/parks-and-walkways/queenstown-lakes-district-parks-and-reserves/queenstown-gardens / Email: services@qldc.govt.nz / Phone (24/7): +64(0)3 441 0499 / Address:  Central Queenstown, 9300

A beautiful little gem in the heart of Queenstown.  It comes complete with a rotunda, stone bridge over a beautiful pond crowded with lily-pads and ducks.  The rose gardens and assorted trees and flower-beds also make a beautiful natural back-drop.  Ideal for small, casual ceremonies.

Some things to be aware of;

The Queenstown Gardens are very popular with picnickers, frisbee golfers, dog-walkers etc.  If you plan to get married in the Gardens be prepared to have a very public wedding.  This can actually add to your wedding rather than take away from it I feel – as long as you are prepared for it and aren’t expecting a very private, intimate affair.

The most popular spots to get married in the Gardens are in the rotunda, near the pond/bridge, near the bowling club end of the pond or in the rose gardens.

It’s not really practical to get married on the lake edge in the Gardens/on the Gardens peninsula.  The reasons for this are (a) because there is an incredibly popular walking path going right around the edge of the lake/Gardens peninsula and (b) it is generally quite windy near the lake edge.  Because of reason (a), if you want a lake-side Gardens wedding your only option is get married on the non-lake side of the walking track and constantly have people walking past (and therefore in most of your ceremony photos) or to have the ceremony on the very edge of the lake, ie on the lake side of the walking track.  You could only fit a half dozen or so people in such a spot and you would still have people walking within a couple of feet of you throughout your ceremony.

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QUEENSTOWN LAKE-FRONT

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: No / Seating capacity: Indefinite / Catering provided: No, On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 0 km

I have taken quite a few wedding photos on the Queenstown lakefront (usually after a ceremony in the nearby Queenstown Gardens, or after leaving the getting ready accommodation and before heading to the ceremony).  However there is no reason you can’t have the wedding ceremony itself right on the Queenstown Lakefront.You will need to speak to the Queenstown Lakes District Council (http://www.qldc.govt.nz/) for permits and costs and information.

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SKYLINE GONDOLA & RESTAURANT

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 0 km

Website:  http://www.skyline.co.nz/queenstown/weddings / Email: info@skyline.co.nz / Phone: +64 3 441 0377 / Address:  Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300

Skyline Restaurant offers stunning views and the convenience of a venue with gondola access located right in the heart of Queenstown (so you possibly don’t need guest transport to the venue, depending upon where your guests are staying).  I’m not really a fan of buffets but even I think their wedding buffet is awesome, so it must be good.

Things to be aware of;

Skyline Gondola & Restaurant is incredibly popular and there are always hordes of tourists up there.  The Wakatipu Room (where Skyline normally holds wedding ceremonies) is private and Skyline usually also fences off the deck immediately outside the Wakatipu Room so you don’t have tourists peering through the glass or getting in your photos.

However there will be times when you are surrounded by tourists and this cannot be avoided.  For example when the bride and her attendants arrive and wait outside the Wakatipu Room ready to make their entrance, and any time you go outside the Wakatipu Room.  Ie when you do the bridal party photos.

The other thing to be aware of with Skyline is that although it offers amazing views these amazing views are really only visible from the deck on the front of the building, which is normally crowded full of tourists.  This can make it challenging to find tourist-free spots for photos that still offer beautiful views.  I have scouted Skyline thoroughly and have found a few secret spots with stunning views but it is harder than you think!  Make sure your photographer has shot a wedding there before or scouts it thoroughly before your wedding.

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STONERIDGE ESTATE & THE CHAPEL BY THE LAKE

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: Yes / Distance from Queenstown: 14 km

Website: www.stoneridge.co.nz / Email: enquiries@stoneridge.co.nz / Phone: +64 3 442 1021 / Address:  756 State Highway 6, Lake Hayes, RD1, Queenstown

Stoneridge is located near Lake Hayes, ie about 15 – 20 minutes from Queenstown and about 5 minutes from Arrowtown.

It’s a gorgeous building that (as far as I’m aware) has been set-up specifically for weddings.  The main building and chapel are both stunning inside and out, and the property surrounding Stoneridge is gorgeous and ideal for bridal party photos.  One of the obvious favourites for bridal party photos is the bottom pond with the old wooden jetty on it. Stunning.

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THURLBY DOMAIN.

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: Yes / Seating capacity: 100+ for ceremonies, approximately 50 for a reception /  Catering provided: No / On-site accommodation: No (but Jewell On Speargrass is literally just across the fence and less than 10 metres from Thurlby Domain) / Distance from Queenstown: 17 km

Website: None / Email: Contact Patrick / Phone: Call Patrick on +64(0)21737356 / Address:  31 Speargrass Flat Road, Queenstown

UPDATES:

  1. As of 2016, the owners of Thurlby Domain have started allowing wedding receptions there.  In fact, I photographed my first Thurlby Domain reception (and ceremony) this past May.  I will post some of the photos from that wedding here when I get a chance but in the meantime email me at patrick@fallon.co.nz if you’d like me to send you some sample photos.
  2. After many years, Revell and Vicki have finally put up their venue costs for Thurlby Domain.  Please see below for details.

Thurlby Domain is a historic property located between Queenstown and Arrowtown.  It is located in a semi-rural setting on the beautiful Speargrass Flat Road and is both private and peaceful.

(Note: despite the “Domain” in it’s name, Thurlby Domain is private property and as such you must ask permission from the owners to go onto their property).

Thurlby Domain is surprisingly large and consists of rambling forested grounds, a small pond and creek and the stone ruins of the old Hallenstein Homestead (this is where most people choose to have their ceremony) at one end.  At the other end of the property is the wool-shed (where receptions are held), the cow byre, the old stone stables (which people typically use as a bad weather back up option for the ceremony, but the stables are so stunning I have shot several weddings where the bride & groom elected to get married inside them even though the weather was perfect) and several other beautiful historic buildings.

To me Thurlby Domain feels like  a rambling, long-lost English garden in a world where magic just might still exist.

As of July 2016, Revell and Vicki have finally updated their venue fees for Thurlby Domain.  The new fees are $230 incl. GST to have photos only at Thurlby Domain, $575 incl. GST for a wedding ceremony and $3,450 incl. GST for ceremony and reception.  However, obviously double check the pricing and other details with Vicki when you check availability/book.

I deliberately haven’t posted Revell and Vicki’s contact details here for a reason.  The love hosting weddings at Thurlby Domain but they don’t want their property too heavily promoted and they don’t want too many weddings there.  They feel (and I totally agree) that part of the beauty of Thurlby Domain is the fact that it’s not a wedding factory and it’s kind of off the radar.  If you are keen to have your wedding at Thurlby Domain please contact me for Revell and Vicki’s contact details.

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WINEHOUSE

Ceremony: Yes / Reception: No / Seating capacity: TBA / Catering provided: Yes / On-site accommodation: No / Distance from Queenstown: 35 km

Website: www.winehouse.co.nz / Email: info@winehouse.co.nz / Phone: +64 3 442 7310 / Address:  S.H.6, Gibbston, Queenstown, New Zealand

The Winehouse is a beautiful old restored homestead that now serves as (surprise surprise!) a restaurant and winery.  It is located right next to (but out of sight of) the Kawarau bungy bridge over the beautiful Kawarau river.  They have a large permanent marquee set up over the courtyard area which has beautiful decor and combined with the dry stone wall and fireplace make this the best looking marquee I have ever photographed.  (The marquee is a great asset as Gibbston Valley gets quite windy).  The food is excellent and the interior and exterior of the homestead and the surrounding gardens are beautiful and ideal for photos.

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By Patrick Fallon of Fallon Photography