Three Blue Ducks, Bronte, New South Wales © Tourism Tasmania
Australia's Bucket List Food Experiences
From the quintessential Aussie BBQ to world-renowned restaurants, there's plenty of ways to dig into Australia's cuisine.
By Jessica Wilkinson
Australia's food scene is a wonderful mix of fresh produce (think farm-to-table and freshly caught seafood), native Indigenous ingredients, innovative food festivals and award-winning restaurants pushing the limits on culinary creativity. The dining landscape is a mix of an open, inquisitive take on food, quality ingredients and global food influences, but we also stay true to our roots and love a good BBQ and a humble road trip snack. From meat pies to fine-dining, here are our picks for Australia's bucket list food experiences (and yes, vegemite is on the list).
But first, coffee
We take our coffee pretty seriously here in Australia. While the whole of Australia is a top tier coffee destination, Melbourne’s coffee culture takes the crown. Famed for having some of the best coffee on earth, Melbourne’s roasters and baristas are some of the most innovative in the world. From espresso to a latte, you'll find a range of coffee options on every cafe menu, including coffee cupping experiences (or tastings). So, how do you know where to start? As a basic guide, if you want milk, order a flat white, cappuccino or latte and if you prefer your coffee black, a long black, espresso or pour-over is your best bet.
Brunch like an Aussie
There's no two ways around it, Australian's love brunch and every cafe worth its salt serves it up each weekend. There are a few Aussie classics you'll want to keep an eye out for when perusing a menu. First up, there's the infamous smashed avocado on toast (blamed as the reason young Australian's can’t save up a home deposit) which can be as simple as fresh avo with lemon to pairings of feta, beetroot hummus, dukkah, macadamias, lemon myrtle, and roasted tomatoes. Then, you have corn fritters, free-range eggs any way you like, ricotta pancakes and crispy bacon, but no Aussie brunch menu is complete without a serving of toast and, you guessed it, vegemite.
Try Aussie bushtucker
Whether at a restaurant or on a guided tour, there are some great ways you can celebrate Australia's First Nations food culture. Sampling traditional Indigenous food (or bush tucker, as it’s sometimes called) is a true Aussie bucket list food experience. Take a guided tour to gain insight into traditional culture while learning about the history and uses of ingredients like quandong, Davidson’s plum, finger lime and lemon myrtle, or choose a dining experience with a focus on native Australian ingredients like Warrigal greens, kangaroo, emu and crocodile.
Dine at an award-winning restaurant
Australia has amazing restaurants with some of the world’s most exciting chefs at their helm. A lot of restaurants are adopting sustainable practices in a farm to table or ocean to plate model (like Brae in Victoria), and more and more chefs in the fine-dining space are incorporating native ingredients giving a distinctly Australian twist on fresh local produce and innovative menus. A number of our restaurants, like Attica and Quay in Sydney, have appeared on The World's 50 Best Restaurant list multiple times, so you'll have no shortage of options when it comes to top-notch nosh.
Indulge in the ultimate road-trip snack
A road trip is a spectacular way to see Australia's incredible scenery, and really, what’s a road trip without snacks? Firstly, you have your substantial options like a sausage roll, Chiko Roll (a 1970s snacking icon) and the quintessential Aussie pie (there are many famous savoury pies that are worth creating an entire road trip itinerary around). Then, you have your in-between snacks like chips (Twisties and Cheezels), Lollies (Natural Confectionery Co.), and ice-cream classics like a Golden Gaytime, Paddle Pop, and Bubble O Bill.
Catch-and-eat your own seafood
There are so many incredible ways to experience and enjoy Australia's local (and very fresh) seafood. There's everything from standing in the ocean eating freshly caught oysters, spearing a mud-crab and cooking it over an open fire, catching a rock lobster and putting it straight on the grill, to casting a line to hook a local barramundi, snapper or blue mackerel. Of course, if you'd prefer not to catch your own, you can partake in the very Aussie tradition of enjoying fresh fish and chips (we recommend choosing the barramundi) while perched on one of our beautiful beaches.
Taste iconic Australian wines
Australia has more than 2,460 wineries in 65 wine regions throughout the country. Some are close to major cities making for the perfect day trip, and others are tucked away among verdant rolling hills or lie dotted along the coast. Each region produces a particular style and vintage that are unique to the area and growing conditions. A few iconic Australian varieties that are well worth trying include Penfolds' Grange, Henschke’s Hill of Grace, Cullen Wines’ Vanya, and d’Arenberg's Derelict Vineyard Grenache.
Attend a food festival
From celebrating a destination's unique food and wine to niche craft beer festivals, Australia loves to celebrate its produce. Food festivals offer a great chance to sample the local cuisine and get to know what a region is famous for – it's the ultimate date on the calendar for a foodie. Canberra has its yearly celebration of truffles, South Australia heralds its top-notch wine, Margaret River is known for offering a destination escape of gourmet food and fresh local produce, so there are plenty of options to keep your food diaries brimming.
Have a BBQ (anywhere, any time)
Australia is synonymous with barbequing for a reason. We love to make the most of the outdoors, good food and good company. So whether it's at the beach, a local park or in a backyard, you can put anything on the BBQ (lamb, kangaroo, beef or seafood), make a salad, invite some friends and you have one of the best Aussie food experiences ready to go. In fact, we love our BBQ culture so much it's become ingrained in some of our top restaurants (like award-winning restaurant, Firedoor) where the chefs love cooking seasonal produce on an open fire.