Some travellers can’t shake the idea that the outback suffers from a dearth of tasty treats fit for the discerning foodie; but those travellers have not undertaken the Explorer’s Way touring route, where sumptuous flavours and bespoke dining experiences beckon around every corner.
As one of South Australia’s most celebrated wine regions, it will come as no surprise that the Clare Valley is home to some truly exceptional foodie experiences. The Clare Valley Food Trail will help you to navigate the region’s culinary highlights, which include a flourishing gastropub scene, homely bakeries, farm gate food vendors, romantic dining experiences, artisanal condiments outlets, and restaurants perched on hillsides that overlook the vines. Head to Terroir Auburn for a menu that showcases seasonal, locally produced ingredients in criminally delicious modern dishes. For an intimate cellar door experience, head to Mr. Mick for wine pairings with succulent Mediterranean fare in the vine-clad heritage building. Visit Clare Rise Bakery for heavenly sugary and savoury baked goods, and sample its legendary hot chocolate, which has been known to come with a floating square of brownie bobbing in the mug! Visit the Clare Valley website for an interactive map with every noteworthy culinary pit stop.
The unlikely marriage of wild outback and luxury is a love story for the ages, and nowhere epitomises distinguished desert dining quite like the remote and hauntingly beautiful Flinders Ranges. White-stoned Arkaba Station is one of the most picturesque outback lodges in the country, nestled among the Flinders Ranges’ Elder and Chase Ranges, and Rawnsley Bluff. At any given time, just 10 guests share the 60,000-acre estate, where the ranges provide a gorgeous backdrop in every direction. Sourced from local and outback ingredients, any meal at Arkaba Station is in equal parts innovative and indulgent. For a more modest – though no less delicious – change of pace, Flinders Food Co makes the best coffee in the region, alongside some delectable brunch items and hearty burgers that are sure to satiate even the most ravenous traveller.
A number of gastronomic whizzes have put down roots in Port Augusta, and now the region enjoys a reputation as one of South Australia’s up-and-coming foodie hubs. Hip cafés with excellent coffee abound: Archers’ Table, Arid Lands Botanic Garden Café and Mama Lou’s all promise patrons caffeinated deliciousness, with cheery homemade nibbles to tempt your tastebuds. As far as dinner goes, a curry at the stately Standpipe restaurant is the stuff of local legend.
As any seasoned foodie knows, classic baked goods never go out of style, and Port Augusta’s J.M. Deli produces some absolutely scrumptious confections every day of the week. Be sure to secure a pie and tart for the road ahead on the Explorer’s Way – you’ll thank yourself later!
As you journey further along the Explorer’s Way, deep into the belly of South Australia’s far north outback, compelling culinary creations come in unexpected guises. For instance, the avid foodie who is accustomed to the indulgence of the Clare Valley or sophisticated gourmet fare in the Flinders Ranges might be tempted to pooh-pooh the brightly lit Outback Bar and Grill restaurant, which is attached to a petrol station; but you know what they say about books and their covers.
The humble Outback Bar and Grill diner is celebrated as one of the region’s best-loved and yummiest dining experiences. Its unpretentious menu offers classic ‘trucker’ fare – burgers, pasta, roasts and schnitzels – as well as other dishes with a distinct Mediterranean undertone, which complements the true-blue outback spirit of this family favourite.