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12 unforgettable gourmet experiences of Australia


4Fine fare is worth travelling for, whether it’s found in the heart of the seaside city, on a remote, forest-fringed beach or alongside a lush wetland in the outback. Each of these gourmet experiences is as memorable as it is tasty – enjoy.

  1. Dine over water at Australia’s most awarded restaurant

Quay restaurant, Sydney, NSW (p35)

Before you even get to the food, there’s the view. Looking out the window at Quay, three icons gaze back. The Sydney Opera House (with its unique swan-meets-tutu shape) is out one side of the restaurant’s glass box; ahead is beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge; and linking the two are the gently rocking waters of Sydney Harbour. It takes some pretty amazing dishes to tear your eyes away from it all, but Chef Peter Gilmore delivers with intricately composed culinary works of art, dusted in petals and repeatedly recognised by the World’s Best 100 Restaurants list. Order the snow egg – trust us.

  1. Stroll the farmers’ markets by the sea

Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW (p39)

Cashew milk infused with lavender, orange and mint. Dried sugar plums. Deep purple heirloom carrots. Not what you’d expect to find opposite Sydney’s most famous beach, but the Bondi Farmers Markets bring home-grown and hand-crafted delights to the sandy waterfront each Saturday morning, allowing city-dwellers access to breakfast burritos, juices squeezed in front of you, picked-that-morning flowers and a range of artisanal goods as they chat to the farmers. Come with an empty stomach and pack your bathers.

  1. Explore a chic waterfront foodie strip

Kingston Foreshore, Canberra, ACT (p51)

Heritage buildings, chic cafés and lively restaurants are woven together with watery canals at By The Water on the Kingston Foreshore, an emerging waterfront precinct in Canberra. Fresh pressed juices, fluffy eggs and paleo granola will lure the early morning walker, while juicy burgers, rustic Italian pizza and smooth coffees will sate lunchtime visitors. There’s a piano bar mixing delicious cocktails come evening, along with refined Asian fare and seafood-spiked modern Australian. You might want to move in.

  1. Sip a seaside latte

Any café you please in Melbourne, Victoria (p62)

People in Melbourne are as passionate about their coffee as the French are about bread. Standards are high; baristas are terribly proud and cafés are as much a destination as any tourist hotspot. One that’s particularly special is6 Ponyfish Island (, tucked beneath the Southbank pedestrian bridge. Surrounded by water, its deck floats atop the Yarra River and, naturally, the team makes fantastic coffee. Otherwise, head to Brighton and see the iconic bathers’ boxes as you enjoy a macchiato, or stop at one of St Kilda’s irresistible patisseries for a creamy cappuccino.

  1. Uncover a gourmet treasure trail

Mornington Peninsula, Victoria (p67)

Can you think of a better marriage than beach and wine? The Mornington Peninsula’s dreamy coastline gets you in the perfect mood for touring its produce-blessed region. There are countless wineries pouring delightful whites and reds – and you can visit them in a car, or on horseback. Grab a bottle to drink by the sea later on and follow the Mornington Peninsula Wine Food Farmgate Trail, which invites you to pick cherries from the trees, wander through apple orchards and linger at restaurants serving wholesome, exquisitely prepared food.

  1. Experience an Aussie seafood BBQ

Hobart, Tasmania (p89)

5When your guide suddenly plunges into the mirror-like water, don’t worry; they’re simply sourcing your meal. On the eye-opening Tasmanian Seafood Seduction cruise, with rugged Bruny Island as your backdrop, they like to serve things fresh. Abalone and mussels are prised from rocks, crayfish are pulled from the deep and oysters are shucked moments after they leave the water. It’s foraging like you’ve never experienced before – paired with local wines, of course.

  1. Take the ultimate foodie road trip

Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia (p78)

The Fleurieu Peninsula’s first surprise is how close it is to Adelaide. The second is how many wineries, eateries and beaches lie within its borders. McLaren Vale’s widely admired wine is now equalled by the output of its local kitchens – try d’Arenberg’s bistro and, further south, Fino and Star of Greece. The beaches are just as worthy of your attention: dip your toes in the water at Aldinga Beach, Port Noarlunga and Port Willunga.

  1. Catch and cook a Kimberley mud crab

Dampier Peninsula, The Kimberley, WA (p112)

Is there anything more special than spending a day with an Aboriginal elder as they peel back the layers of their culture and share their ancient wisdom with you? As the turquoise waters and rusty red earth of WA’s Dampier Peninsula glimmer in your vision, a local will bring you on a bush tucker tour, where you’ll spear a hefty mud crab and cook it on the coals, before devouring its sweet meat on the beach.

  1. Dine on the beach with celebrity chefs

Margaret River, WA (p109)

With alumni including Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi and Rick Stein, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape is a non-negotiable event on the serious foodie’s calendar. The fine food feasting is elevated by the region’s breathtaking surrounds: forests meet the ocean, beaches stretch forever with barely a footprint and cliffs overlook whale migration highways. The show may get you there, but the environment will make you want to stay long after it’s over.

  1. Embark on a bush tucker tour

Kakadu National Park, NT (p92)

Spend the day on safari with an Indigenous Australian who’s grown up amongst the wetlands of Kakadu and can source everything they need from the land. They’ll show you how to make baskets from native plants, find bush medicine in unlikely places and track down wildlife for food.

  1. Eat atop the waves at a surf icon

Currumbin Beach, Gold Coast, Queensland (p28)

Surf clubs are found in beach communities across Australia. These relaxed, beachfront institutions offer a classically Australian experience – and nowhere more so than at Currumbin Surf Club on the Gold Coast. Famous for being so close to the ocean it feels as though you’re sitting on top of the waves, this cultural icon serves up some of the loveliest simple meals you could ask for, such as salt-and-pepper squid and the ‘fisherman’s basket’ – a selection of fresh, local seafood. Surf clubs are also the home of Australia’s famous lifesaver communities, so feel free to say hello – they don’t mind posing for photos, either.

  1. Eat a mango with your hands

All along the Cairns coastline, Queensland (p18)

Eating a mango is a messy affair, but the soft, smooth orange flesh is so maddeningly delicious you probably won’t even notice its sticky nectar running down your arm and dripping off your elbow. If you’re on the beach, perhaps in lazy Port Douglas or action-packed Cairns, it won’t even matter: splash into the ocean and its warm waters will happily cleanse you. Then all you have to do is dry off, sit down and repeat.

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