Treat your tastebuds somewhere different.
St Albans isn’t really on the road to anywhere. Which is probably why it’s retained its charm and convict-built buildings, including the Settlers Arms Inn (1836). The inn offers dark ale, honest pub food and the opportunity to eat under a giant mulberry tree in the garden. Most of all: enjoy the journey. Cross the Hawkesbury at Wisemans Ferry and meander along the Macdonald River until you reach the early 19th century.
Pialligo takes over where the capital’s first market gardens once flourished and the estate is now focused on environmentally sustainable farming. Its beautifully landscaped farm and garden is host to a smokehouse producing award-winning bacon and the nine-month-old, timber- and-tiled Farmhouse Restaurant. The latter has also won accolades for its food (such as the hiramasa kingfish with fennel and Muscovy duck with Muscat grapes), not to mention its wine list (a mix of local heroes and international stars).
Perk up on a coffee tour
The Atherton Tableland is known for its waterfalls, wildlife and gourmet food but it’s also the coffee-producing capital of Australia. About 80 per cent of the local crop is grown in the red dirt of Mareeba, primarily Arabica for the boutique export market. Caffeine fans can taste-test at Skybury Farmgate or, for more in-depth tours, head to Jaques Australian Coffee and North Queensland Gold plantations.
Sophie Zalokar could be the most passionate local food advocate you haven’t heard of. A champion of the produce of WA’s Southern Forests region, Zalokar’s zeal is evident at Foragers, her field kitchen/boutique hotel in Pemberton. Cooking classes bring guests closer to the land, while cosy eco-cottages prove you can enjoy your earth and save it, too.
Located in Darwin’s Rapid Creek Shopping Village, Pour is something of a local secret, where you can shop for interiors and enjoy organic coffee (Five Elements, in this case) and great food. Try the smashed avo on sourdough toast with eggs or freshly baked banana bread. Among myriad other temptations are wallpapers by These Walls and handcrafted cushions by Melbourne-based Cushionopoly.
Melbourne prides itself on its eclectic eateries but Easey’s takes the cake (well, doughnuts filled with milkshake-flavoured custard) for offbeat dining. It’s set over four floors and the stand-out attraction is a rooftop train carriage reimagined as a burger café and bar. Brunch options include fried chicken crusted in Frosties and a bourbon-infused mac and cheese. All aboard.
Indulge at the Garden of Vegan
Meat-lovers, stay with us here. This rustic Launceston oasis, lush with sunlight and potted plants, plates up the freshest of dishes full of colour, herbs, flowers, spices and flavour. Who doesn’t love tom yum rice noodle soup? Or a breakfast of seasonal fruit with coconut yoghurt? If that hasn’t convinced you, the raw desserts (choc peanut-butter cheesecake!), teas, coffee and kombucha almost certainly will.