Australia does outdoor dining like nowhere else on earth

Australia does outdoor dining like nowhere else on earth

Australia has some of the world’s best natural wonders and coastal escapes. But, its hidden secrets are in its food and wine culture.

Looking for a culinary adventure? Celebrity chef Curtis Stone shares how to experience Australia’s fresh flavours, friendly people and open air dining. And for wine lovers, explore what Wine Australia has to offer and experience their virtual tasting.

Feeling inspired? There are travel itineraries and deals to get you started.

Curtis Stone, Austrlian Chef

Curtis Stone, chef & author

Food & Travel Advocate
Q&A with Curtis Stone

Thinking of a visit Down Under? You couldn’t ask for a better tour guide than chef, author, and Top Chef Masters host, Curtis Stone. Born in Melbourne, Curtis is passionate about the sights, people – and of course the food – of the land he calls “Oz.”

Download the article as seen in Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure Magazine.

Domaine Chandon, Yarra Valley, Victoria

Why is Australia a hidden secret for food and wine?

Australia has a very interesting background and the cuisine very closely mirrors the culture and history. We are also a very multicultural society and there is a strong sense of European influence seen in our food. For example, Melbourne has the second largest Greek population outside of Athens. We’ve also got a huge Asian population in Australia, which has introduced some really creative, skilled and diverse Asian chefs.

There is an ‘Aussie battler/fair go for everyone,’ attitude (and to be frank, it’s a little anti authoritarian – we were settled by convicts after all!) showcased in our cuisine. Chefs are prepared to break rules in the kitchen.

Opera Bar, Sydney, Australia

Opera Bar, Sydney

Any chefs or food providers on your radar?

Matt Moran, founder of numerous Australian restaurants and often seen on cooking shows, is out and about, getting his hands on great quality ingredients. He’s bringing them to life in a couple of mediums, including the super casual, primely located Opera Bar, with arguably the best views across the Sydney Harbor. He also owns two branches of his fine dining restaurant, Aria, one in Sydney and the other in Brisbane, family friendly Chiswick in Sydney and Riverbar and Kitchen in Brisbane. Plenty of choice right there!

Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, dynamic Sydney chefs serving up fiery Argentinian food at Porteño have also caught my eye.

Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Yarra Valley, Victoria

Australia is known for its Shiraz, but what would wine lovers find surprising about Australia's wine scene?

Australian wine is super underrated yet it rivals anywhere in the world. The Australian wine scene is very diverse due to a range of grape growing climates, conditions and varying soils. Cool climate regions will fly the flag for Australian wine in the next 20 years. There has been a definite shift in the palate from warmer climate, ripe, fruity Shiraz to cool climate, spicy Shiraz and sweet-fruited Pinots. Australia has also had a big shift in its style of Chardonnay and this is evident in the wine produced in the Yarra Valley region. There is also a wave of young winemakers with strong international experience and avant-garde attitudes to their work that are pushing the boundaries of style with well known international varieties whilst also playing around with alternate varietals (such as Pinot Gris, Viognier, Savagnin, Tannat, Tempranillo).

Lake House, Daylesford, Victoria, Australia

'Lake House', Daylesford, Victoria

Those traveling to Australia expect to see big nature and wildlife. Are there any experiences that combine Australia's nature and food and wine?

Without a doubt! Daylesford, a ninety-minute drive from Melbourne, is an epicurean destination that is surrounded by mineral springs and lush forests. Alla Wolf-Tasker, owner of award winning regional restaurant, The Lakehouse, is considered somewhat of a foodie legend. Her Two Chef Hat restaurant with accompanying boutique lodges are located on the lake’s edge where stunning nature can be appreciated in full, year-round, whether you’re there for misty winter mornings or sun drenched afternoons – you may be lucky enough to experience both! We tend to get four seasons in one day.

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

You love to surf. What would you recommend as Australia's best coastal experience?

The Australian National Heritage listed Great Ocean Road in Victoria is pretty hard to beat, especially if you’re a surfer. There are incredible surf spots along the coast and popular surf towns along the 243km stretch of road such as Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne. There’s nothing better than to dig into some quality fish and chips on the beach after a day out catching waves. If you’re a bit more tropically inclined, head north to Queensland, where you’ll experience a natural wonder and national treasure, the Great Barrier Reef. In Queensland you’ll get the best waves and best reefs in the world.

Melbourne Laneways, Australia

Melbourne Laneways, Victoria

We've heard Melbourne is Australia's culture and culinary capital. Since you're a Melbourne boy, what would you recommend?

Kick start your day with a coffee and pastry from one of Acland Street’s patisseries, where cakes are on display in the windows. Le Bon Continental Cake Shop (93 Acland St, St Kilda, Melbourne) does a mean vanilla slice. Step things up a notch for lunch with some Italian fare at Café di Stasio on Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Melbourne. At the super high end, lock in for the night with a degustation at Attica in Ripponlea. The incredibly inventive head chef Ben Shewry takes the garden-to-table philosophy one step further as he personally harvests much of the produce used.

Farm to Table, Australia

Farm to Table

Australia has been ahead of the farm-to-table movement for years, with fresh produce and flavors gracing Aussie dishes. What aspect of your Australia travels inspires you in your cooking?

Aussie food producers continuously inspire me with their passion and individual style, whether it’s a crab fisherman, mussel farmer or an organic mango producer. The beaut thing about Australian food production is that a lot of it is family owned and operated. So much of our produce, especially in the States, is mass-produced with little love or respect for consumers, animals or the environment, so I enjoy meeting with and using produce from smaller producers who can control quality.

Outback Australia

Outback Australia

What in Australia would you want to do next?

A big outback trip in the Northern Territory is sitting pretty close to the top of my bucket list. The Northern Territory is two and a half times the size of Texas and has so much to offer both international and local travelers alike. I don’t like to take my holidays lying down so I’d love to trek through King’s Canyon, encounter wildlife at Alice Springs National Park and of course enjoy the lush, greenery of Kakadu National Park. Just thinking about it has got me wondering when I can pinch a spare few weeks to fulfill this dream.

Curtis' Top 5 Can't-Miss Australian Foodie Destinations

Opera Bar, Sydney

Attica, Melbourne 


Dinner with a view in Sydney
Matt Moran’s Opera Bar has arguably the best view of the Opera House and delicious, casual fare.


Four'N Twenty meat pie
Score one of these traditional savory pies at an Australian Football League game, which run from late March through September.


Acland Street patisseries
Make a mid-morning or afternoon pit stop for coffee and pastry in St Kilda, Melbourne. Le Bon Continental Cake Shop turns out a mean vanilla slice.


Fish and chips on the beach
Pull off the road in Lorne, or any of the other beachside towns on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, for a bite on the sand.


Garden-to-table dining in Melbourne
The chef’s table 5-course degustation at Attica is the perfect way to experience some of Australia’s latest culinary innovations.

Experience Australia's Food & Wine


Ready to go on your own culinary walkabout inspired by Curtis’ suggestions? We’ve put together several itineraries, whether you want to experience Melbourne and its nearby Daylesford, Great Ocean Road and wine country or just the Best of Australia.

Experience Australia's Food & Wine

Melbourne, Victoria is the cultural capital of Australia, home to a thriving arts scene, glorious colonial architecture, and world class food and wine. As Australia’s smallest mainland state, Victoria offers a variety of regional attractions, from the wineries and wildlife sanctuaries of the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula to the penguin reserves of Phillip Island and not to mention the unique rock formations of the Great Ocean Road. Victoria has something for everyone, come and see what you're missing!

Lambert Vineyards, Yarra Valley


Australia has a hugely diverse wine community, with more than 60 wine regions, spanning from coast to coast. All of these regions offer distinct flavors, wine styles and some of Australia’s most colorful and unique characters. Visit Wine Australia to share their stories and don’t miss the virtual tasting!

Wine Australia


More Australian Food & Wine Ideas