Queensland has for too long been glossed over in the gourmet stakes in favour of Melbourne’s café scene, or South Australia’s wine regions. But Australia’s Sunshine State is far from just a pretty face – when it comes to delicious and wonderfully diverse delicacies, Queensland is a quiet achiever with world-class dining and drinking destinations across the state.
Not so long ago, ‘Gold Coast gourmet’ could have sounded oxymoronic. In recent years, the southern tip of the Gold Coast has seen an exponential shift from unassuming beach suburb to hip dining destination, lauded by arbiters of good taste. Local restaurateurs credit the emergence of thoughtful, rejigged menus that better serve locals, not just tourists, with the Gold Coast’s culinary renaissance. Today, the Gold Coast’s luxe restaurants and smart cafés, complete with top-notch coffee, testify to the region’s bourgeoning gourmet scene.
Mount Tamborine and surrounds
Approximately 45 minutes west of the Gold Coast’s glistening shorelines, Mount Tamborine is a gastronomic oasis. The region’s bounty of boutique vineyards will have travellers spoilt for choice, so why not make the most of it with a wine trail tour? Be sure to stop by the cellar doors of local favourites like Mason Wines, Cedar Creek Estate Vineyard & Winery, Witches Falls Winery, and Heritage Estate Wines Cellar Door for a personalised wine-tasting experience set against the backdrop of Mount Tamborine’s lush greenery.
Sunshine Coast and surrounds
The one-hour drive south from Noosa to Caloundra is so chockfull of essential gourmet pit stops that the ardent foodie could comfortably meander down the coast all day long, indulging their tastebuds along the way. The Noosa Chocolate Factory should make it to any foodie’s Sunshine Coast itinerary. Owners Chris and Amy’s handcrafted chocolate is a labour of love, and they have made the quest for the world’s best – and most daring – chocolate pairings their life’s work.
A trip to central Queensland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Australia’s home of rum: Bundaberg. Tour the Bundaberg Rum Distillery for an immersive celebration of both its 130-yearlong history and innovations afforded by modern technology. As guides passionately share Bundaberg’s story, you’ll understand why this is Australia’s most awarded distillery. Venture three hours north to Queensland’s unofficial capital, Rockhampton, affectionately known as ‘Rocky’ to locals.