New cafe in historic office just the ticket

The restored and landscaped historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office at the Frankton Marina will reopen as the Boat Shed Cafe and Bistro tomorrow. Photo by James Beech.
The restored and landscaped historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office at the Frankton Marina will reopen as the Boat Shed Cafe and Bistro tomorrow. Photo by James Beech.
Prospective patrons are already eagerly entering the Boat Shed Cafe and Bistro at Frankton Marina, even before it officially opens its doors for business tomorrow.

"There's so much interest in when we're opening; it's a constant stream of people through the front door," owner-operator Jane Shaw said yesterday, while tradesmen added the finishing touches to the premises.

The attractive eatery is the result of extensive renovation throughout the year of the former New Zealand Railways Shipping Office, a previously abandoned relic of Lake Wakatipu's rich maritime heritage.

The ticket office was built between 1866 and 1876 near the corner of Hay and Beach Sts, Queenstown.

It was used as a storage shed, then by the Lake Wakatipu Steam Shipping Company and then New Zealand Railways.

In the mid to late 1930s, the office was moved alongside the boat shed at Frankton Marina, on Sugar Ln. The boat shed with its dual slipways was built in 1934 and 1935.

The office became a private residence, then was a dilapidated shell until 13 years ago, when volunteers in the Wakatipu Community Maritime Preservation Society began their fight to save the complex from demolition and secure its future as a community asset.

The shed is destined to become a maritime museum.

Ms Shaw, who also operates the cafe Provisions of Arrowtown, said Wakatipu residents were the target market for the Boat Shed Cafe and Bistro.

It had the benefits of being located on the Frankton Trail, near plenty of car parking, "and there's not many places in Queenstown with an unobstructed view of the lake and the Remarkables."

Eight to 10 jobs were created to staff the seven-day and fully licensed operation. It seats 40 patrons inside, with room for 40 more in the conservatory, on the deck and in the courtyard.

Brunch and lunch will run daily from 7am to 3pm. Evening meals will be served from 5pm to 10pm Thursday to Sunday.

Chef Shaun Fa'amalepe said the menu would be European, North African and Middle-Eastern influenced, using southern and West Coast produce.