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Apply for an Outdoor Dining Licence

Tonoa tētahi raihana kia kai ki waho

An Outdoor Dining Area is an area on a public footpath or public property (such as a Park, Reserve or Road Reserve), attached to a restaurant, café or licensed premises, where people can sit down and eat or drink. Check out all the information you need to know for applying for an Outdoor Dining Licence below.

Use of Outdoor Dining Areas

An Outdoor Dining Area must be part of an adjacent restaurant, café or licensed premise that is licensed to sell food or alcohol.​

If you would like to establish an Outdoor Dining Area as part of your business you will need to complete an application and receive permission from Council via a Outdoor Dining Licence.


Pre-application engagement

If you are considering an application for an Outdoor Dining Licence, require an amendment of an existing Licence or wish to transfer to a new party, we encourage you to lodge an inquiry with us in the first instance before completing the detailed application documentation.  We will work with you collaboratively to ensure your application will comply with our requirements.​

We will contact you and arrange an onsite visit if appropriate to assist you with any questions you may have prior to submitting the full application.


Guidelines for outdoor dining areas

Work through our 5-step process for understanding the Outdoor Dining in the District​

Read our Outdoor Dining Policy 2024. The policy includes detailed guidelines for siting tables and chairs, design guidelines and outlines the rights and responsibilities of a License holder.

5-Step Process

  • You will need an Outdoor Dining Licence if you plan to have customers eating or drinking on the footpath, shared space or public space outside or adjacent to your café, restaurant or licensed premises.​

    For Footpaths and Shared Spaces, you can assess the viability of using the space for outdoor dining by reviewing our design and layout guidelines or contact us for a pre-application meeting​.

    Shared spaces (areas in Queenstown Town Centre, such as Beach Street, where there is minimal segregation between types of road users), must be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please lodge an enquiry and we will work with you on your request.

    For use of space within a Park or Reserve (Reserve Land), the visibility of using the space and process to be followed is dependent on the specific location requested. Please lodge an enquiry and we will work with you on your request.

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  • ​You must operate in accordance with the specific and general conditions of the licence and the requirements set out in the Outdoor Dining Policy 2024. This section provides high level guidance only.

    • Outdoor Dining Areas are public space. The Licence only gives permission to use the space for a period of time while the business is operating.​

    • Outdoor dining areas must be operated in conjunction with restaurant, café or licensed premises.​

    • Licences are valid for up to 3 years, with licences expiring on 30 June 2027. At that time you will need to re-apply for a Licence.​

    • You must abide by all relevant legislation, regulations, bylaws or the District Plan.  ​

    • If you are planning to serve alcohol in the Outdoor Dining Area you will need to apply for an amendment to your alcohol licence. You can find more information here. You will need to provide a copy of your Outdoor Dining Licence as part of your application.​

    • You may also need to apply for a Resource Consent. You can find more information here. You may wish to speak with a Duty Planner to understand if a Resource Consent will be required. ​

    • Licence holders must maintain a high standard of presentation for all Outdoor Dining Areas by ensuring that furniture is clean, in good order and well presented.

    • Outdoor Dining Areas must be maintained in a clean and hygienic state at all times​

    • Protection from vehicles may be required where tables and chairs are close to roads or intersections e.g. installation of Council approved bollards. No chairs placed immediately adjacent to roads are to be placed with their backs to the roadway.​

    • The licence holder is required to hold valid public liability insurance to the satisfaction of the Council. ​

    • The Council retains rights of access, such as for maintenance works.​

    • Streets where pedestrians and vehicles share the street (‘Shared Spaces’) (e.g. parts of Beach Street and Rees Street) have slightly different rules of use. Please lodge an enquiry for more information.​

    • Where an Outdoor Dining area is adjacent to another premises (for example for an upstairs business wanting to use a downstairs location) the consent of adjoining affected occupiers and landlords must be obtained.

    Layout and Design Guidelines:

    • Existing verandas and street trees should be integrated into the siting and layout of Outdoor Dining Areas to maximise a comfortable environment for patrons. ​

    • A minimum pedestrian width of 3 metres will be maintained at all times between the licenced area and the edge of the footpath, or as an unobstructed pathway for pedestrians (lessor widths may be considered in limited circumstances).​

    • No chair can back to the road unless there is at least 800mm clearance to the kerb.​

    • Specific requirements apply to Queenstown Mall, please refer to the Policy for details or lodge an enquiry.​

    • The type and design of outdoor furniture must be of a high standard in appearance and style, made of quality materials, with finishes that are attractive and durable. In all circumstances, furniture must be approved by the Council before use.​

    • Umbrellas, heaters, screens, landscaping features/planters and waiter stations may be appropriate in specific circumstances  For specific requirements refer to the Policy or lodge an enquiry.​

    • The licence holder is responsible for ensuring that all furniture remains within the approved area and that pedestrian clearances and safety requirements are maintained at all times during the operation of the Outdoor Dining Area.​

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  • If you have not done so, we recommend you arrange for a free pre-application onsite meeting with us to discuss your proposed Outdoor Dining requirements before you submit your application.​

    When you are ready, complete the application form.

    You will need to have ready:

    • Accurate and scaled site plan of existing conditions: a plan at scale 1:50 accurately showing the existing conditions adjacent to the restaurant including: ​

      • the width of the building frontage and the footpath from the outside face of the kerb to the building line;​

      • the location of building lines; and ​

      • an accurate location and type of abutting properties, existing trees, litter bins, light poles, signs, existing street furniture, pits, fire hydrants, parking meters, utility supply boxes, telephone boxes, bicycle rails, car parking and other features. ​

    • Accurate and scaled site plan of proposed table and chair layout: A plan at maximum scale of 1:50 accurately showing the area of the proposed Outdoor Dining Area and layout of all tables, chairs, umbrellas, etc. All dimensions associated with the Outdoor Dining Area should be shown including the required clearances.​

    • Photographs of the site: clearly showing the proposed Outdoor Dining Area relative to buildings and existing features in the footpath. ​

    • Details of furniture: Colour photographs and/or detailed architectural drawings of chairs, tables, umbrellas and other items proposed. ​

    • Measurement of furniture: including the width span and clearance height of umbrellas (note that umbrellas should be free of product advertising).

    • Letter(s) of Consent: any letters of consent as required under the Policy.

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  • The application fee for an Outdoor Dining Licence is $450. This is payable once and the licence will be valid through until the end of the licence period (currently 30 June 2027)​

    In addition, a market rental rate (per m2) is payable annually for the period 01 July – 30 June. The rental rate that applies will depend on the size of the Outdoor Dining area in square metres and the location. You will be invoiced this at the start of July each year.

    The rental fees applicable are:​

    Location Market Rental 2024 (ex GST)
    The Mall $600
    Lakefront Reserve/Marine Parade $600
    Beach & Rees Street $550
    Shotover & Lower Brecon Street $450
    Camp Street & Cow Lane $450
    Remaining Queenstown Pavements $250
    Arrowtown - Buckingham Street $250
    Remaining Arrowtown Pavements $175
    Wānaka Lakefront $225
    Remaining Wānaka Pavements $125
    Glenorchy $50
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  • The application form can be downloaded from the link below. 

    Upon payment of your application fee we will commence work on your application. Applications are normally processed within 20 working days.

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Changes in ownership

If you are the new owner of a business holding a current licence, you will need to change the ownership details. You need to tell us within 10 working days of the transfer of ownership.​

You will need to pay an Assignment Fee of $140, plus any other costs incurred by Council from third parties.  ​

Please log an inquiry and we will work with you on your assignment.


Amendments to an existing Licence

Any changes to an existing licence require a licence holder to apply for a Deed of Variation. Amendments may include:​

  • Changes to furniture style or design. ​

  • Addition of gas heaters, umbrellas or any other furniture.​

  • Any other variation.​

You will need to pay an Amendment fee of $250 plus any other costs incurred by Council from third parties.   ​

Please log an inquiry and we will work with you on your assignment.


Renewing an Outdoor Licence

At the end of the Licence period. You will need to reapply for a Licence for the subsequent 3 year licensing period. We will be in touch with you before the end of the licence period to facilitate re-applications.