Queensland has something to offer everyone – from action-packed tropical trips to relaxing beachside escapes and cultural city breaks. This Australian state has stepped up its game in recent years and now boasts a cutting-edge culinary scene thanks to innovative chefs, a laid-back dining culture and a crop of new-wave producers making the most of the rich soil and tropical climate. We’ve picked out four foodie itineraries catering to different tastes to help you discover this must-visit destination. Choose one or string all four together for a diverse fortnight full of adventure, sun and al fresco eating.
BRISBANE – for eclectic urban diners
For those seeking variety and a dynamic city buzz, Queensland’s capital boasts an eclectic dining culture. From elegant rooftop bars and fine-dining restaurants to hipster hangouts, there’s something for every taste.
Fortitude Valley, known by locals as The Valley, is a neighbourhood with a buzzing food scene, culture and nightlife. Grab a coffee from trendy King Arthur Café then browse leafy James Street’s upmarket boutiques. Head into the laneways, a quirky network of small pedestrianised alleys brimming with intimate cafes, boutique bars and pop-up studios. Order colourful poke bowls from Raw + Rice on palm tree-lined California Lane, tuck into juicy patties at Ben’s Burgers down Winn Lane or book a spot at tiny omakase-style eatery Joy on Bakery Lane.
Work up an appetite by kayaking down the Brisbane River, drinking up the views and spotting where you can head for lunch or dinner. Down by the river, beneath the iconic Story Bridge is the impressive, recently renovated Howard Smith Wharves. Reward yourself with Brisbane-brewed beer and pizzas at Felons Brewing Co. on the water’s edge. For more stunning city views along the water there’s also Mr Percival’s for sunset spritzes, Greca for contemporary Greek taverna food and the rooftop bar at arty hotel The Fantauzzo. To discover more of the city’s art scene, join a street-art tour with Brisbane Greeters to explore murals and local characters.
SCENIC RIM – for farm-to-fork followers
If you want to taste some of the best produce Queensland has to offer then take a foodie road trip through this breath-taking rural region; home to a warm, friendly community of farmers, convivial micro-producers and beautiful surrounds.
Amongst Boonah’s timber-clad houses you’ll find Oppy’s Fruit and Veg, a charming farm shop housed in a former butter factory. Stock up on fresh produce (such as silverbeet, rosella flower jam and Rathlogan olives) from the surrounding farms and stop at Arthur Clive’s Bakery Café for lamingtons, local meat pies and picnic supplies.
Don’t miss the Scenic Rim Brewery for craft beers including Digga’s Pale Ale, Fat Man’s Maroon Ale and Tasmanian cider – and the brewery’s heritage-listed, Wes Anderson-esque building is worth a visit in its own right. Continue a few minutes down the road for a long lunch at Kooroomba Vineyard’s restaurant. Here, enjoy Running Creek beef carpaccio, crispy Tasmanian salmon and lavender ice cream with macadamia crumb, paired with Australian wines and a backdrop of lavender fields, vines and mountains. Just remember that if you’re planning to sample some of the local brews and wines, make sure to organise a local driver.
NOOSA – for laid-back sun-seekers
Travellers wanting to make the most of the Sunshine Coast’s superb weather should head to this chilled-out surfing spot. The leafy beach town is bordered by Noosa River, the Coral Sea and Noosa National Park, so you’ll have plenty to explore during your trip.
Start the day with a locally roasted Clandestino Coffee at one of the town’s many sociable cafes and al fresco brunch spots – the terrace of FOMO coffee is a great place to meet locals. After that you can work up an appetite koala spotting along the coastal trail through Noosa National Park, kayaking through the Everglades or getting involved in the local surf scene.
Join locals on the terraces that spill out onto tree-lined Hastings Street, parallel to the beach. Try Massimo’s Gelateria for tropical ice cream, Betty’s Burgers and Concrete Co. to sink into some of Australia’s best burgers and Café Le Monde for cocktails and oysters with a surfer crowd.
Watch people ride the waves at Sunshine Beach then wander over to Sum Yung Guys for the likes of king prawn toast, lemongrass chicken fritters and roast sweet potato salad. For seafood overlooking the ocean, there’s Ricky’s River Bar in Noosa Heads, Wasabi on Noosa waterfront and Sails on Main Beach – enjoy Queensland crayfish, barramundi and coral trout.
TROPICAL NORTH – for intrepid travellers
For foodies craving a bit of adventure, head to Queensland’s lush tropical north. Start at eco-luxe Silky Oaks Lodge (set to reopen April 2021 following an extensive refurbishment), perched on the Mossman River. Head out on a kayaking adventure to spot local wildlife then feast on contemporary Australian dishes with a native twist, using tropical ingredients such as smoked barramundi, pickled papaya and rainforest herbs at the hotel’s Treehouse restaurant.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast then drive down alongside the Mossman River to Cooya Beach, where you can join an Indigenous tour with Walkabout Cultural Adventures to forage the beach and mangroves for mud crabs. Explore more of the Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest by downloading the Daintree Food Trail map and uncover orchards, fisheries and micro-dairies amongst the lush greenery. The most inquisitive will be rewarded with the likes of lychee gelato, rainforest honey and goat chorizo, as well as chances to meet friendly producers and uncover stories from small communities. You can even stay overnight on a tropical fruit farm.
Whatever your taste, Queensland has something for everyone. For more information on a delectable foodie getaway served with a side of adventure, a healthy dose of nature and rich culture, visit queensland.com.
Images courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland