Tempt your taste buds with these 5 foodie road trips
Pack your appetite for a drive through Australia's best foodie regions.
By Celeste Mitchell
From beach barbecues to sophisticated seafood, Australians love to enjoy food. Luckily, a gourmet getaway won’t just fill you up with unforgettable memories – it’ll also support the farmers, producers, distillers and winemakers that make Australia’s dining scene one of the best in the world.
As we hit the road to explore Australia’s beautiful backyard, it’s time to show some love to the small businesses that need it most. Grab an esky, book some accommodation, and eat and drink your way through these five road trips.
Eat and ’gram: Sydney to Shoalhaven, NSW
Satisfy your stomach and Instagram followers in equal measure by taking a three-hour road trip south of Sydney to the Shoalhaven region. This region was impacted by the 2019/20 bushfire season, so there’s no better way to show your support than shopping local and enjoying some out-of-the-box culinary experiences – a picnic suspended from a cliff, perhaps?
Channel your inner Alice in Wonderland and have high tea in a giant teacup next to the chardonnay vines at Cambewarra Estate, stock up at the Berry Donut Van or go wine tasting at a few of the region’s 11 cellar doors. You can even leave the car behind and head to a winery on horseback.
Local picks: Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
On paper, the Mornington Peninsula is a mecca for foodies (would you expect anything less from a gourmet region just an hour from Melbourne?). In real life, it’s even better; a handsome seaside swathe crammed with big-hitting restaurant experiences like Pt Leo Restaurant and Doot Doot Doot, farmgate trails and wineries.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll find the locals’ favourites. Take your dog for a picnic on the tree swing at Tucks Wine, sip craft brews in the old stables at St Andrews Beach Brewery (now growing hops, not grooming horses) and pre-order a picture-perfect platter from Smell the Cheese to enjoy in your bell tent at Iluka Retreat. You can even get hands-on and pick your own sweet morello cherries from the 4,500 trees at Red Hill Cherry Farm – the oldest in the state – from mid to late-November until early to mid-January each year.
Gallery-worthy wine and cheese: Adelaide Hills, South Australia
The Adelaide Hills offers tasty tipples, rolling green hills and friendly locals, all just a short drive from Adelaide. As a bonus, a visit to this region supports small businesses and wineries serving up some of Australia’s most delicious – and Instagrammable – treats. It seems the gorgeous scenery inspires photogenic food experiences around these parts; pick up artistic artisan cheeses from Woodside Cheese Wrights, have an idyllic pallet picnic overlooking the vines at Golding Wines (or book its Nido "nest" experience), and perch up in front of the beautiful wooden doors with a glass of rosé at Bird in Hand.
Wine and rugged wonders: Great Southern Western Australia
Make tracks from Perth for cool-climate wines backed by dramatic mountains and forests, breaching whales and spring wildflowers. In the Great Southern region of Western Australia, you’ll find more than 50 wineries peppered through five sub-regions. Riesling (best paired with local oysters) and shiraz are the stars here, but there are a plethora of varieties, including organic small-batch natural wines by Oranje Tractor Wine.
Balance the rugged and refined as you scale Bluff Knoll in Stirling Range National Park, then take a tip from well-known wine critic James Halliday and visit Duke’s Vineyard, whose Magpie Hill Reserve Riesling was Halliday’s 2019 wine of the year. Walk out over the roaring Southern Ocean at The Gap in Albany, and follow it with a whisky flight at the Great Southern Distilling Company. Earn your hyper-local lunch at The Lake House in Denmark on the Valley of the Giants treetop walk.
Not just apples: Huon Valley, Tasmania
Just half an hour from Hobart, the Huon Valley is best known for giving the island state of Tasmania its ‘Apple Isle’ title. Eighty per cent of the state’s apples are still grown here, but it has also emerged as a gourmands’ destination of choice. Rumbles started in 2016, when chef and Gourmet Farmer presenter Matthew Evans opened Fat Pig Farm. The Port Cygnet Cannery has followed suit, embodying its self-sufficient ethos in intimate events at which you’ll come face-to-face with farmers and local makers. Don’t miss Home Hill Winery in Ranelagh for award-winning pinot noir, and Willie Smith’s Apple Shed for cider and pommeau.