You’ll find robust reds in the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, crisp whites in the Yarra Valley, some of the most multi-awarded chefs in the world surfing between seatings in Margaret River. There’s no denying Australia dominates the globe when it comes to serving up sophisticated gourmet experiences in an ultra-relatable way. From long lunches to wine and beer bonanzas, no matter where you live there’s a foodie festival somewhere nearby.
But before you book those flights, explore our get-to-know-you guide to some of Australia’s favourite food and wine destinations—there’s a place to suit every palate.
Hunter Valley, NSW
Hunter by name, hunter by nature; foodies flock here from across the lands on full-blown gastronomic quests for the regions most sensational Semillon. This is the heartland of Australian winemaking, with more cellar doors than any other in the country. What does that mean for you? Plenty of return visits. If it’s your first time then time your visit with the Hunter Valley wine Festival, which sees every restaurant, grower and gourmet producer pooling together the best of their wares for the thousands of palate pilgrims who visit each year.
Yarra Valley, VIC
The Yarra Valley is less than an hours drive from Melbourne but provides a cool-climate antidote to the rush of the city, as well as an excellent location for Chardonnay producers. Here food rules there are an abundance of venues serving up world-class cuisine with a side of rustic charm.
Taste test your way through big-ticket wineries like TarraWarra Estate, as well as ambitious newcomers such as Giant Steps Wine. Or simply take things easy as you peruse the stalls at one of the regions many local markets.
Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Mix natural hot springs with laid back coastal vibes and stir through a couple of distilleries and wineries and you’ve got yourself one seriously unique weekend of indulgence. Safe to say there’s no place quite like Mornington Peninsula. The region specialises in culture minus any glitzy fluff, with art and murals dotted everywhere into the landscape, as though they just natural sprung up from the rich red volcanic soil. 2017 saw the opening of Pt Leo Estate, a ambitious $50 million winery, restaurant and art project guaranteed to tantalise your mind as well as your tastebuds. However if you’ve wined yourself silly be sure to stop by Bass and Flinders Distillery to shake up your tastebuds with their ‘Angry Ant’ premium gin (made with real gravel ants). Bon appetit!
Barossa Valley, SA
Barossa’s full-bodied reds barely need an introduction but if you’re new to South Australia’s winemaking heart then the Barossa Vintage Festival will have to supping like a sommelier in no time. The five-day event plays host to over 90 events celebrating the dynamic culture around Australia’s most celebrated wine region. Even families are well catered for with concerts, parades and cycle tours on offer.
But the Barossa is a beautiful place to visit any time of year, with the awarded Seppeltsfield Vineyard a highlight for history buffs hungry for a story behind every glass of vino.
McLaren Vale, SA
The Barossa better watch out because the McLaran Vale winemakers are hot on its heels to take the crown earth-shatteringly good Shiraz. Don’t just take our word for it; try for yourself at Sea & Vines Festival, joining thousands of gourmands as they weigh up the best drops from McLaren’s magnificent wineries. To get a true taste of local life be sure to visit the Willunga Farmers Market, which sees local producers serve up cheeses, chutneys and chocolates each Saturday.
Margaret River, WA
Not content with being home to some of Australia (and the world’s) best surfing, Margret River also boasts one of the most renowned food and wine scenes in the country. This is largely driven by the booming local winemaking industry, with about 187 wineries all vying for your tastebud’s attention. And where there’s wine there’s food and Margaret River is a triple-threat, serving up artisan bakeries, cheese makers and fine-dining options in abundance.
The best way to get your head around all this indulgence is to time your trip with the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, a full-blown gastronomic gala which sees some of the world’s best chefs host feasts along the sand.
The tropical north Queensland city of Mackay may not be the first place people think of when it comes to a food and wine holiday. Unusual considering the surrounding area is an agricultural hub and responsible for some of the country’s best crops in bananas, sugar cane and fishing.
However the city’s culinary scene has been given a sprinkling of extra flavour thanks to the annual Food & Wine day held in Queens Park. The festival sees thousands of holidaymakers flock together to enjoy tastes from the city’s best restaurants and farmers set against the backdrop of live music from talented locals. Not to mention a side course of stunning white sand beaches dotted with kangaroos in Cape Hillsborough National Park and the ancient rainforests of Finch Hatton Gorge.