Image credit: Voyages Indigenous Tourism
Tali Wiru, NT1/16
Dine under the desert sky at Ayers Rock Resort in open-air restaurant Tali Wiru, which means “beautiful dune” in the local Anangu language, and you’ll enjoy a four-course dinner with views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The menu is infused with native herbs and spices, including in Paroo kangaroo tartare and Port Lincoln kingfish sashimi.
This gourmet destination is a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne and features guest suites to stay in overnight, a restaurant and an organic farm. The menu is plant-based and ever-changing with ingredients either harvested from the farm or sourced from ethical and sustainable local producers. Guests can wander the designated paths to explore the property before sitting down to a meal that includes the house bread, which is grown, harvested, milled and baked onsite.
An hour's drive south of Brisbane, nestled in the Grandchester countryside, Spicers Hidden Vale is where you’ll find Homage, a paddock-to-plate restaurant with a focus on local produce and sustainability. Feast on Pilton Valley pork with parsnip and black apple and finish with strawberries cooked over fire with sponge and gum leaf.
Thirty Three Degrees, NSW4/16
Hop on board The Oyster Catcher with Thirty Three Degrees’ new Shellar Door Experience and you’ll sail on Wallis Lake on the Mid-North Coast to meet producers at an oyster farm. Learn to shuck oysters before returning to the waterfront restaurant for a three-course lunch that includes a fresh oyster bar. If you’re heading there from Sydney, Wallis Lake is a 3.5-hour drive, but if you’re feeling adventurous, a seaplane from Rose Bay will get you there in an hour.
Ladies Lounge, MONA, Tas5/16
Book in a decadent high tea with your girlfriends at the strictly ladies-only event created by artist and curator Kirsha Kaechele at Hobart icon MONA. Butlers will greet you at the entrance and blindfold you while you enjoy the first course. Blindfolds off, you can delight in decadent nibbles – including a caviar service – while taking in artworks by Picasso.
Royal Mail Hotel, Vic6/16
At Wickens restaurant at the Royal Mail Hotel, you’ll relish a dégustation at the foot of the Grampians in a serene and minimalist dining room with views of gently swaying gum trees. Executive chef Robin Wickens creates menus that are dictated by seasonal produce grown in the kitchen garden. Turn dinner into a romantic getaway by staying onsite in a Deluxe Mountain View Room (where you’ll wake up each day to the spectacular range) or opt for one of the secluded Bluestone Cottages for the ultimate escape.
Image credit: Emma Pegrum
The kitchen at Margaret River restaurant Arimia, a three-hour drive south of Perth, is completely off-grid. The estate’s farm produces its own pork, trout, eggs, honey, fruit and vegetables, which head chef Evan Hayter draws on to create modern Australian fare with sustainability at its core. The menu changes seasonally and past offerings have included a saffron fettuccine and trout with carrot and nectarine. With an on-site vineyard to explore, guests are encouraged to book wine tastings and pair their meals with them.
Image credit: Stu Gibson
The Agrarian Kitchen, Tas8/16
Across two hectares in New Norfolk, 35 minutes out of Hobart, you’ll find a working farm, vegetable garden and berry patch providing ingredients for The Agrarian Kitchen’s Cooking School, a unique paddock-to-plate experience. The fruit and vegetables are so fresh they still have leaves and soil attached when they reach the kitchen. There’s no need to worry about waste: leftovers are either pickled, made into jam, fermented or cured. The new cooking school and garden opens in October.
Image credit: Jason Loucas
Pellegrino 2000, NSW9/16
Run by Bistrot 916 alumni, Pellegrino 2000 is one of the most popular eateries in the country so if you want to dine at a reasonable hour, reservations should be made at least a month or two in advance. While you’ll have ultimate bragging rights if you manage to nab a table at the window, the atmospheric downstairs cellar is the spot if you’re after a little more privacy. Feast on everything from fried tripe to spaghetti vongole and order the bread if only for the truffle butter accompaniment. Tip: Let the experienced waitstaff help you navigate the impressive wine list.
Provenance is a three-hour drive from Melbourne in the town of Beechworth and its menu follows the seasons and highlights local produce. Chef Michael Ryan showcases his passion for Japan, reflected in dishes such as umami-rich mushroom tofu with katsuobushi salt and braised and grilled octopus with nori jam. Ryan even leads guided tours of Japan, taking you to his favourite restaurants and sharing his culinary skills in immersive cooking classes.
Image credit: Rob Burnett
Josef Chromy, Tas11/16
Take part in Tasmanian winery Josef Chromy’s The Art of Sparkling experience in Relbia, a 15-minute drive from Launceston. Learn about the history of the vineyard and the disgorging process, plus take home a bottle (or box) of your own sparkling wine, made to your taste. A two-course lunch with matched wines will follow, with dishes such as carpaccio of wallaby pastrami and roasted Jerusalem artichokes to savour.
Image credit: Now and Then Photography
Never Never Distilling Co., SA12/16
This distillery is found in the world-renowned McLaren Vale region, just 40 minutes from Adelaide. Book in for a signature gin tasting, try the pizza from neighbouring restaurant Cucina Di Strada or join a Premium Gin Masterclass, which includes a guided tasting and tour. Oyster Palooza is held here in July and all the leftover oyster shells are cleaned and used to make the distillery’s incredible Oyster Shell Gin.
Image credit: Meaghan Coles
Tedesca Osteria, Vic13/16
Tedesca Osteria is located in Red Hill, just over an hour's drive south of Melbourne, and comes complete with a restaurant, biodynamic garden and homestead. The set menu is based on what’s ready to be harvested from the garden as well as what produce can be found locally, including ethically sourced meat. Expect to feast on handmade pasta and seafood cooked with a woodfired oven and grill.
The Lake House, Vic14/16
This restaurant on the shores of Lake Daylesford, set alongside the property’s accommodation and spa, holds two chef hats. The menu changes twice per season and featured butter poached pheasant with chestnuts and farrow as part of the autumn offering. Ten minutes down the road is the 15-hectare Dairy Flat Farm, with its bake house, vegetable garden, orchard, olive grove and vineyard.
Saffire Freycinet, Tas15/16
Stay at the ultra-luxurious Saffire Freycinet and indulge in its complimentary experiences. During your stay, embark on a trip to Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm and learn how to shuck an oyster as you wade into knee-deep water then wash down the succulent oysters and their matching dressings with a glass of Tasmanian sparkling wine. Finish your day at the hotel’s Palate Restaurant, where the chefs can create tailor-made dégustations to suit your cravings using produce sourced from the paddock or fresh from the water.