Australia Food & Drinks and Top Culinary Spots to Visit on your Australia Vacation
Traditionally, the Australian diet lent itself to the country’s British and Irish beginnings, however, by the end of the 20th century, Australian cuisine began to reflect the multiculturalism that accompanied immigrants from all over the world. Increasingly Italian, Greek, Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese food is becoming commonplace in kitchens. Australian chefs are known around the globe for “fusion cuisine” which combines traditional European food with Asian flavours.
Despite international influences, there are still several traditional dishes native to Australia. The term used to describe such food is known as “bush tucker” which refers to food drawn from Australian flora and fauna such as emu, crocodile and kangaroo. Kangaroo meat is very common and can be found on many restaurant menus as well as in supermarkets. Seafood is naturally a staple of Australian cuisine with approximately 600 varieties of marine and freshwater seafood caught and sold domestically as well as abroad. Specialties include Southern Blue Fin Tuna, King George Whiting, Barramundi and Flathead Fish.
Australians enjoy eating out and as such restaurants, cafes and pubs are commonplace with at least one or two options even in the smallest of towns. While most restaurants have licenses, there are some that offer “BYO” (bring your own) which allows guests to bring their own wine and in some cases beer. Out of all Australian culinary styles, BBQ is perhaps the nation's favourite. Contrary to the popular stereotype of “Throw a shrimp on the barbie”, most Australians rarely do this as shrimp are called prawns in Australia and the population prefers to BBQ steaks, chops, sausages, chicken fillets, fish and kebabs.
One of the most exciting directions in Australian cuisine has been the recent and increasing use of native foods. Used for thousands of years by Australia's indigenous population, native foods often referred to as "bush tucker" include bush tomatoes, seeds, nuts, lemon myrtle and even fungi!
Kangaroo and emus are also popular as both are low in fat and high in fibre. The fusion of more common ingredients with native foods has opened up an entirely new direction for Australian fare.
In Australia, as with many regions in the world, leading chefs have taken on celebrity status. The special gift of many Australian chefs, however, is the ability to create an innovative and diverse "cross-fertilization" of cooking styles.
Combining eastern and Western influences, Australia's leading chefs are producing a fusion of tastes that are the envy of the world. From Stephanie Alexander's provincial French to Tetsuya Wakuda's remarkable combination of Japanese and western, Australia is considered a shining light in the culinary world.
The Australian wine industry is the fourth largest exporter of wine in the world, with 760 million litres a year being exported internationally. Domestically, nearly 500 million litres are sold per year. There are 60 designated wine areas in Australia, located mainly in the southern, cooler parts of the country. The most famous areas are the Hunter Valley and the Barossa Valley while the best-known wine producers include Penfolds, Rosemount Estate, Wyns Coonawarra Estate and Linderman's.
When people think of Australian beer, Fosters usually comes to mind. While Fosters holds iconic status internationally, it is not a popular brand at home. Instead, regional beers such as Victoria Bitter (VB) typically outsell Fosters domestically.
Coffee has also become very popular in Australia and is often described as being one of the most vibrant and most developed coffees in the world. This popularity has not risen out of large chains, instead, it is the product of independent cafes of Italian and Greek descent.
Things to know:
Tipping is not compulsory and is usually not expected in Australia. This applies not only to restaurants and bars but also to taxis where the common practice is to round the fare to the nearest dollar.
Operating hours: public bars Mon-Sat 10:00-22:00, most pubs open until 24:00.
Things to try:
Vegemite, Tim Tams, Lamingtons, Macadamia nuts, and meat pies.
TOP CULINARY SPOTS TO VISIT ON YOUR AUSTRALIA VACATION
Sydney and the Hunter Valley
Sunny, sexy, sophisticated - Sydney basks as the shining star of the southern hemisphere. The stunning Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are the pride and joy, but there's much more to offer.
Even Sydney's inner-city suburbs are a Mecca for winning and dining. For authentic Italian food, the serious head to Leichhardt's Norton Street. Close by is Balmain's.
The Sydney Fish Market is Australia's only working fishermen's market, a colourful and vibrant place where the biggest seafood sale in the southern hemisphere takes place each weekday morning.
With the greatest range of dining experiences available in Australia, Sydney is home to some of the country's most notable chefs and talented restaurateurs. Imagine yourself sitting and overlooking the water enjoying a long lunch or sunset dining...here is our selection of the best restaurants with views in Sydney - make sure you book early!
5 Top Restaurants with a view in Sydney
The Kiosk at Nelson's Park (Vaucluse)
Amazing waterfront views on the harbour - ideal for lunch or early evening dining.
Doyle's Restaurant (Watson's Bay)
Winner of many awards for the best fish and chips in Sydney with amazing views of the harbour.
Catalina's (Rose Bay)
If you want somewhere really special - this is the place!
The Bather's Pavilion (Balmoral Beach)
Located on one of Sydney's prettiest beaches, stylish and relaxed atmosphere and amazing food!
Cottage Point Inn (Hawkesbury River)
Take a seaplane from Sydney Harbour flying up and over the harbour and northern beaches. This hidden jewel is privately located in Kur-ing-gai Chase National Park!
The Hunter Valley - Australia's oldest, most visited wine region is an easy two-hour drive from Sydney. There are over 100 cellar doors to visit, with the best varieties here being Semillon, Shiraz and Chardonnay. Verdelho, Merlot and Chamboucin are also emerging; so keep your nose to the ground (or to the vines, as the case may be).
If time is limited you can visit the Hunter Valley in a day, Goway has an excellent choice of day trips to suit all budgets.
Melbourne and the Yarra Valley
Victoria's capital and Australia's premier 'wine city', chic restaurants serving a variety of cuisine types, inspirational chefs and a lively café scene are just some of the reasons why Melbourne is considered the height of gastronomic excellence.
The Queen Victoria Market is described as "the Mecca of Melbourne's shopping". Virtually everything is on sale at the Queen Victoria Market. Opened in 1859 as a livestock market, the Queen Victoria Market is now the only surviving market in the city proper and by far Melbourne's biggest.
Gourmet must-dos in Melbourne
- Eat Dim sum in Chinatown
- Overlook the water at the South bank or New Quay
- Taste Greek food in Lonsdale and Russell Street
- Soak in the Italian atmosphere and food at Lyon Street
- Hang out at Trendy Brunswick Street in Fitzroy
- Catch a ferry to Williamstown for Fish and Chips on the beach
- People watch at Chapel Street in South Yarra
The Yarra Valley, less than one hour away is home to a huge selection of wineries, you can see wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary, home to dingoes, kangaroos, wombats and much more. For the more adventurous take a hot air balloon ride over the spectacular countryside or go for a cycle tour.
The Mornington Peninsula is only 1 hour from the city; here you will find wineries, beaches, golf courses, art galleries and cafes. Tranquil views of the bays and harbour are everywhere you look.
The Great Ocean Road is classed as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world and is not to be missed.
GOWAY'S TOP TIPS
If time is of the essence, base yourself in Melbourne and visit The Yarra Valley and The Mornington peninsula on day tours. We have an amazing range of tours available, please ask for details.
For dining with a different experience, the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is the world's only working tramcar restaurant, the food is authentic Australia and you are guaranteed a fun evening!
For shopping head down to Bridge Road home to some of Australia's best fashion designers at bargain prices!
Shop for gourmet delights at Queen Victoria Market
Adelaide and the Barossa Valley
In South Australia there is something for every taste and adventure level - you can indulge in fine food and wine, go on a rugged Outback adventure, see a world-class arts festival or swim with sea lions.
Adelaide is known as the city of food and wine; a place to experience the buzz, culture and convenience of a big city without the frustrations. The CBD is a square mile, fringed with a border of beautiful parklands. Seriously good coffee and food are never far away.
GOWAY'S PICK – THE 5 BEST WINERIES IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Visit the birthplace of Australia's most famous wine Penfolds Grange in the Barossa.
Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley - Australia's grandest wine chateau and home of world-class wines, began life as a dairy in 1851.
Jacob's Creek in the Barossa Valley is the home of Australia's 'top drop', at Orlando Wines where the first vines were planted on the banks of Jacob's Creek in 1847.
Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley was founded in the mid-nineteenth century, and today the winery offers tastings and sales in the old monastery cellars, as well as tours of the church.
Boston Bay Wines in the Eyre Peninsula is a unique vineyard with spectacular views located on the shores of Boston Bay it produces medal-winning red and white wines.
There is something for every taste and adventure level - you can indulge in fine food and wine, go on a rugged Outback adventure, see a world-class arts festival or swim with sea lions.
Tasmania - The Gourmet Island
Separated from mainland Australia by the 240 km stretch of Bass Strait, Tasmania is a land apart – a place of wild and beautiful landscapes; friendly, welcoming people; a pleasant, temperate climate; wonderful wine and food; a rich history; and a relaxed island lifestyle.
According to experienced travellers who have crisscrossed the globe in search of excellence, Tasmania has one of the world's ten best beaches. Wineglass Bay, US-based Outside magazine, the world's best little town (Strahan, Chicago Tribune) and is rated as 'the best island in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific' (Travel + Leisure magazine) and 'the world's best temperate island' (Condé Nast Traveler magazine).
International connoisseurs know Tasmania as Australia's gourmet island. World-class ales, beers and wines complement rock lobster, Atlantic salmon and the sweet saltiness of oysters. Tasmania now produces some excellent wines notably pinot noir. The vineyards are small and special and located mainly around the Tamar Valley and southwest Tasmania. An easy loop drive can be taken from Launceston or Hobart.
More than one-third of Tasmania is protected national parks and reserves. You'll be surprised how easy it is to experience the wilderness – on Dove Lake or Russell Falls walking track, from a cruise boat off Bruny Island's south coast or by light plane to Melaleuca, deep in the Southwest.
Explore Tasmania's breathtaking wilderness in all its grandeur. You can also wander through charming villages, discover secluded beaches and sample some of Tasmania's delicious local cuisine and world-class wines.
GOWAY'S PICKS – BEST FOOD AND DRINK GUIDE IN TASMANIA
- Enjoy delicious cheeses and cream from King Island.
- Taste the Fresh seafood - Atlantic Salmon and Ocean Trout, rock lobsters, Abalone, octopus, blue-lip mussels, scallops and oysters, and freshwater rainbow trout from Tasmanian inland waters.
- Pick your own Fresh Apples and Strawberries from one of the many orchards.
- Shop for food at Salamanca Market Place – held every Saturday in Hobart.
- Take a Brewery tour at Boags (Launceston) and Cascades (Hobart).
- Visit Moorilla Winery outside of Hobart and Pipers Brook vineyard outside of Launceston.
Australia Vacation Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Australia.
Learn about the history and culture of Australia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Australia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Australia for yourself. Start exploring...book one of our Australia tours today!
Extend Your Stay
Consider an additional stopover to your Australia vacation at one of Goway's South Pacific destinations. You can choose from our selection of New Zealand vacation packages, Tahiti vacation packages or stay at one of our Fiji resorts or perhaps take a Cook Island vacation. This can be done stopping over en route to or from Australia.
Book your Australia tour with Goway!
With more than 250 Australia tours and experiences, Goway’s Downunder wizards can offer you many ways to explore and enjoy Australia. Choose from a simple city stopover, see the country highlights on one of our classic itineraries, enjoy an Island stay, a self drive holiday, a Holiday of a Lifetime and more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting.
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