Food, wine and all the in-betweens are a serious passion for Aussies, who have learnt the techniques, then bent the traditional rules to create impressive wines, spirits, beers and a cuisine all of their own.
Some of this is among the oldest in the world. Aboriginal people lived on bush tucker – native fruits, berries, seeds, meat and fish – which your clients can experience today in traditional style or used in modern cuisine by some of Australia’s leading chefs.
It’s a vast country with microclimates ranging from the steamy, tropical heat of the north – just right for mangoes, avocados and macadamia nuts – to the brisk cool climate of the south where Asian herbs, mussels, tuna and Chardonnay grapes flourish.
And there is an absolute smorgasbord of regional produce reflecting the clean environment, multicultural population and climactic diversity.
Adelaide, in South Australia, is an elegant city known for its colonial stone architecture, expansive parklands, lively festivals and incredible sense of space. Clients can explore the museums and libraries of North Terrace, go bike riding in Botanic Park or row past rose gardens in Rymill Park.
But this story is about food, and Adelaide has dedicated “eat streets” where they can sample everything from Asian fusion to Argentine cuisine in the exotic, bustling foodhalls of Chinatown. Or, embrace the alfresco ambience of Rundle Street in Adelaide’s East End or live it up in one of the city’s many elegant wine bars and fashionable restaurants. There are beach sunsets with a meal in the coastal suburbs of Glenelg and Henley Beach and a relaxing glass of wine at the National Wine Centre. For fresh food addicts, Adelaide Central Markets offer premium produce from growers across the state. Just beyond the city centre there are the world-class wineries of the Barossa Valley.
The Barossa Valley is the wine capital of Australia, with more than 60 wineries, including household names such as Jacob's Creek, Yalumba, Penfolds, Peter Lehmann and Saltram. Beyond visiting the cellar doors wine-lovers can enjoy a “Blend your own Penfold’s wine” tour, tutored tastings at Wolf Blass, touring the historic Seppelt or Langmeil wineries or taking a masterclass at Two Hands Wines.
Growing alongside the famous Barossa vineyards is an abundance of fresh produce including fruit, nuts, vegetables and citrus. Combined with poultry, livestock, yabbies and hare, they provide endless inspiration to the chefs, cooks and food producers throughout the region. Two of the best places to check out the local food scene are the Barossa Farmer’s Market in the sheds behind Vintners Bary & Grill near Angaston, and Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, near Nuriootpa
The Clare Valley Riesling Trail, between Auburn and Clare is a 25-kilometre multi-use recreational trail that is steeped in history, flanked by quiet townships and vineyards, blessed with stunning vistas and never far from delightful restaurants, cafés and cellar doors.
The main street of McLaren Vale is a charming showcase of cellar doors, local produce, art and craft stores and cafés. Clients can walk or cycle along the old railway alignment between Willunga and Seaford – through vineyards, wild olives and old gum trees – to get a feel for this gorgeous countryside. The region is home to more than 50 wineries, including such major Australian players as the BRL Hardy group and Rosemount.
New South Wales
Clients with a taste for great food, wine and the finer things in life need look no further than Sydney for some of the finest, most diverse and indulgent experiences in cuisine. Sydney is home to some of Australia’s most famous chefs and restaurants: Tetsuya’s, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Marque, Glass Bar & Grill, Aqua Dining and Quay (recently voted best restaurant in Australia). Sydney’s restaurants offer fresh, local produce with seasonal varieties, all housed in modern architecture and design reflecting Sydney’s laid back and stylish lifestyle.
Other culinary adventures include a seaplane fly and dine excursion to Cottage Point, Jonah’s or Berowra Waters Inn; High Tea at the Sydney Opera House; a tour of the Sydney Fish Market and a class at the newly launched Seafood School; a pub tour or wine odyssey in The Rocks; and Best of Bondi Tour’s Lets’ Go Surfing that includes hotel transfers, lunch at Icebergs or North Bondi Italian, surfing and beach tour experience.
Photos Tourism Australia
Sydney is also the gateway to the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine region. A two-hour drive north of Sydney, the Valley boasts 140 wineries and cellar doors. Clients can go flightseeing, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, or touring by bicycle, limousing or even horse and carriage. The valley now supports a burgeoning olive industry with cold pressed olive oil and other olive products, plus wood fired bread, Hunter Cheeses, stone fruits, table grapes, honey, home made condiments and sauces, and even chocolate made with chilli. Clients can choose from budget to 5 star resorts.
TasmaniaPhotos Tourism Australia
Tasmania has become known internationally as Australia’s gourmet isle, earning a reputation for producing high-quality gourmet food and beverages, including award-winning cool climate wines.
In Hobart, clients can feast on freshly shucked oysters at Barilla Bay and fresh-off-the-boat fish from Salamanca Markets. Or watch the catch being unloaded from the balcony of one of Hobart’s waterside restaurants. On Saturday mornings bustling Salamanca Markets offers glassblowers, potters and painters selling their wares and growers selling organic fruit and vegetables, farmhouse cheeses and fresh flowers. The cellar doors and wineries of the Coal River Valley, Derwent Valley and Huon Valley are all a short drive from the city.
On the state’s east coast a string of charming fishing villages and their intimate seaside restaurants offer up freshly harvested oysters, mussels and crayfish. Coles Bay, Bicheno and St Helens are some of the key coastal villages here.
The Tamar Valley is garnished with vineyards and farm gates. From intriguing black truffles, rare leatherwood honey (leatherwood trees are found only in Tasmania), smoked salmon and cheeses, Tamar and surrounds can be food lovers’ nirvana. Not surprisingly this area is also the home of some of Tasmania’s best restaurants.
Clients can’t choose? Here are the top foodie experiences in Tamania:
1. Agrarian Kitchen Culinary experience. Day-long classes start with gathering ingredients from the on-site garden and local farmers, and finish with a class-prepared lunch paired with local wines.
2. Tasmania’s Sparkling Wines tastings. Visit the cellar doors of Moorilla Sparkling, Jansz, Pipers Brood Vineyard, 42 Degrees South and Spring Vale.
3. Discover Tasmanian Whisky Distilleries. Follow the island’s whisky-making traditions by sampling the works of Hellyers Road Distillery, Lark Distillery, Nante Distillery, all at The Lodge at Tarraleah.
4. Taste Tasmania’s Artisanal Cheeses. Nibble the samples at Ashgrove Cheese, including their wild wasabi; 15 different types of sheep milk cheese at Grandvewe Cheeses; and the products at 100-year-old King Island Dairy.
5. Meet Tasmania’s Purveyors. Dine on farmed-on-site oysters at Barilla Bay; cruise to Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park and enjoy oysters and sparkling wine, both locally produced; cruise aboard a catamaran to Peppermint Bay and dine on local specialties.