Mandurah, Rottnest Island, WA ©Tourism Australia
Smashing Aussie food and wine experiences
Cricket is a religion in India – but food isn’t far behind. In recent years, Australia has been leading the way in innovative food and wine experiences that you won't find anywhere else. Here are some of the best Australian food and wine experiences that are worthy of your travel bucket list.
Go from the sea to plate in Mandurah
The growing trend towards using fresh, locally sourced produce has taken off in a big way in Australia, making for some truly unique dining experiences. Just a one-hour drive from Perth in the seafood centre of Mandurah, a Wild Seafood Experience awaits. Learn how to catch Western Rock Lobster, also called crayfish, before digging into a fresh barbecue lunch – including the crayfish you just caught. Paired with local artisan cheeses, bread, salads and premium wines from the region, it's sure to be a memorable meal. After, continue your journey south to the state's most famous wine-producing region, the Margaret River.
Dine with kangaroos on Kangaroo Island
Kangaroo Island, located off the coast of South Australia, is a haven of spectacular nature and wildlife. But the island is also a destination of incredible food, wine and spirits. For an incredible culinary journey, take a three-day tour with Exceptional Kangaroo Island. You’ll begin with a picturesque bush barbecue – and may even be visited by a few kangaroos grazing on the grass. After lunch, take a private tour into the Australian sea lion colony that calls the coast home. Other highlights include tasting Pacific oysters fresh from the water, visiting a local honey farm and enjoying a cliff top picnic.
Follow the Whisky Trail in Tasmania
Tasmania’s whisky-making traditions date back over a century. Today, these traditions have been given a new life through a mix of small, boutique operations and larger distilleries that export their whiskies all over the world. But there’s one thing every sip of Tasmanian whisky has in common – they are all filled with the flavours of the island, from the locally grown barley to the fresh, clean waters. Have a taste at Tasmania's best distilleries, including Cradle Mountain Whisky in Cradle Mountain, and Hellyers Road Distillery in Burnie. The Nant Distillery in Bothwell is the home of Tasmania’s first highland single malt, and Hobart’s Lark Distillery is famous for its role in the revival of whisky production on the island (as well as its delicious whiskies).
Picnic on a private island on the Great Barrier Reef
The stunning Whitsunday Islands of the Great Barrier Reef have a number of indulgent experiences, and many of them revolve around the region's world-class food and wine. Sit down to an intimate beach dinner, or perhaps a chef-prepared picnic basket to be enjoyed on a private island. After a few unforgettable food experiences, sail away on a yacht or catamaran (self-skippered or crewed, it's up to you), and visit a new island or reef every day – it’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the sun-soaked beauty of this area. Or take a helicopter flight out to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. Don’t be surprised if you’re left speechless as you make your approach and first see the clear waters sparkling in the sun, flanked by the pristine silica sands of the beach.
Blend your own wine in South Australia
South Australia’s Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s oldest and most renowned wine-producing regions, with wines that are loved the world over. The fact that it’s just an hour out of Adelaide, the state’s capital, makes it an easy destination to explore. This region is dotted with established wineries and quirky boutique vineyards alike, along with artisan food producers and award-winning restaurants. You can uncover the Barossa’s secrets on a bicycle ride, in a vintage car, in a helicopter or even a hot air balloon. The Blend Your Own Wine experience at Penfolds, a winery of international repute, is a must-do, as is a stop at Maggie Beer’s farm shop, where you can sample local produce and even take some home with you.
Shuck oysters in Tasmania
Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula is a landscape of eucalypt forests, white sand beaches, aquamarine waters and pink granite peaks. One of the best ways to experience this awe-inspiring destination is with a stay at the stunning Saffire Freycinet lodge, which looks out over the Hazards Mountains and Great Oyster Bay. From this luxurious lodge, you can embark on an oyster shucking adventure to the Freycinet Marine Farm. Pull on a pair of waders and explore the working oyster farm before sampling some oysters straight from the bay, along with a flute of Champagne and a truly beautiful setting. For another taste of a local specialty, indulge in a bee-keeping experience that ends with sweet local honey fresh from the hive.
Embrace the Sounds of Silence in Uluru
Uluru is a place of beauty and spirituality, as well as incredible Aboriginal cultures that have existed for more than 50,000 years. The red rock monolith is the heart of Australia’s Red Centre, located in the middle of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Embrace this iconic landscape in a gourmet way at Sounds of Silence, a four-hour experience that combines history and culture with native Australian ingredients. Savour the tastes of Australia under the twinkling outback sky and enjoy the tranquil sounds of a didgeridoo. As you dine on the bush tucker-inspired buffet, you will gain an introduction into Aboriginal culture through a mesmerising traditional dance performance.
Immerse yourself in Melbourne’s coffee culture
Melbourne is one of Australia’s hippest destinations, and its residents take their coffee very seriously. The city is a hub of art, fashion and experimentation, as is evident in its eclectic mix of eateries, cafés and rooftop venues. As you walk down Melbourne’s network of quirky laneways and bustling side streets, you’ll come across a fantastic mix of secret bars, hidden restaurants and characterful cafés. Café-hop through the streets and try the distinctive offerings created by the baristas, from the well-loved flat white to the unexpected turmeric latte. Altius Coffee Brewers is worth the stroll down Flinders Lane, while Brother Baba Budan is a neighbourhood favourite. Take a Hidden Secrets Tour to sample some of the city's best coffee over three hours.
Dine in the Rainforest in Cairns
If you’re looking for a dramatic dining experience that is as theatrical as it is delicious, consider a meal at the Flames of the Forest near Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll walk into a secluded rainforest setting lit by flickering flame torches and candelabras, and that’s just the start of the drama. Sit down at a table under the billowing canopy, listening to Aboriginal culture come to life through song and storytelling. The food pays homage to Tropical North Queensland’s brilliant fresh produce, creating a dining experience that's both delicious and fascinating.