Burger Overboard! NZ’s First Floating Burger Bar

photo credit: Coffee Afloat

New Zealand’s first floating burger bar will open next week on a lake in the mountains.

This unique new eatery and tourist attraction was born in the country’s first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

Richard and Jolanda Foale operated a popular helicopter attraction that took tourists for a closer look at some of New Zealand’s most spectacular peaks. However, when the borders closed, their business plummeted.

During the first lockdown, the pair were inspired by a TV show that had them questioning whether they could do something in their backyard.

The Foales were asked to be photography models for the new Lake Dunstan Trail, a cliff-side walking and cycle track linking Cromwell and Clyde. The trail is three to four hours each way, with no spots for refreshments. The idea to start a cafe hit an immediate roadblock – the trail is just a few metres wide, with no space for a brick-and-mortar shop. It was a while before the Foales’ came up with the idea of putting the cafe on the water.

Fast-forward a year, and Coffee Afloat has become extremely popular, with serving more than a hundred cyclists on busy days.

Given its popularity, the Foales decided to expand with a floating restaurant.

The restaurant will open on Friday, September 24, as part of Eat.Taste.Central – a month-long celebration of Central Otago’s local food and wine. Burger Afloat will be moored next to the existing cafe. Due to the logistical challenge of shipping fresh ingredients to Lake Dunstan each day, Burger Afloat will feature just one flavour to begin with: venison and thyme with smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, pinot pickled onions and Central Otago apricot relish.

As the trail becomes more popular by summer, Burger Afloat will look at adding several new flavours and vegetarian options.