Melbourne – South Yarra – Hobart – Bruny Island – Adelaide – Barossa Valley – Sydney
Australia has a restaurant culture that is dynamic. And, remarkably, it has come about in the space of a single generation. Australia has never been a more exciting place to eat and restaurants are driving this change.
This seven day itinerary will help you explore some of the best food and wine experiences available in Australia including Melbourne’s vibrant café and restaurant scene, the rich produce that can be found on Bruny Island and the award winning wine from the Barossa Valley.
Arrive in Melbourne and stop in at DeGraves Lane (off Flinders Lane) lined with cafés, one of the city’s favourite spots for caffeine. The Block Arcade is a fine example of 19th-century Melbourne, renowned for its etched glass canopy, mosaic tiled floor and intricate wrought iron.
Since 1878 Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market has been the place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, small goods and treats. Wander through the old fashioned Deli Hall, rich in international imported spices, mounds of olives and piles of cheeses, and artisan local varieties made nearby. There are butchers selling native meats: kangaroo and crocodile among them, while outside the fruit and vegetable growers are selling organic potatoes, carrots, herbs and salad leaves. A great place to pick up items for a picnic, there are ready made foods including rotisserie cooked chickens and meat pies. The market also offers foodie, heritage, and ‘market insider’ shopping walking tours for a fee.
This evening, eat at one of Melbourne’s fine dining restaurants with a view, Vue de Monde, or head to Attica, which regularly appears on the prestigious S.Pellegrino World’s 100 Best Restaurant list.
Vue de Monde is located on the 55th floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto Tower, chef and owner Shannon Bennett’s restaurant, boasts sparkling skyline views which extend to the ranges far on the horizon. Bennett produces a la carte and degustation wonders - piped, pressed, brewed and blow-torched, that surprise and delight.
Alternatively head to Attica located in Ripponlea where head Chef Ben Shewry is perhaps Australia’s best-known chef abroad. The restaurant’s strong integration of native ingredients really sets Attica apart including Lilly Pilly and Illawarra plum pine to native saltbush leaves, marron, native peppers and nuts.
In the morning, collect a hire car and drive to Healesville in the Yarra Valley, Victoria’s oldest wine-growing region, just an hour east of Melbourne.
There are over 60 wineries in the Yarra Valley to choose from, ranging from big names such as Domaine Chandon, Yering Station, TarraWarra, Coldstream Hills and De Bortoli Yarra Valley to boutique operations such as Medhurst Estate, Jamsheed, Mandala and Hoddles Creek. Architect-designed TarraWarra, owned by fashion retailers Marc and Eva Besen, is one of the most popular destinations with its fine wines supplemented by an impressive art gallery and restaurant serving modern Australian food with magnificent views. Consider booking a tour, like Melbourne Private Tours’ Yarra Valley tour to make the decisions easier, and to ensure that someone else drives for you.
From Melbourne fly just over an hour to Hobart and take a ferry to MONA + Pavilions from the Salamanca's Brook Street Wharf. A picturesque 30-minute ferry ride and you arrive at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) on the banks of Tasmania's mighty Derwent River. A privately funded contemporary art museum, MONA was a gift to Tasmania from a local art-loving philanthropist. The museum houses several galleries and an award-winning restaurant, The Source, with French-inspired food. Wines served at the restaurant are made on the property at the Moorilla Estate winery, and beers from Moo Brew, the onsite micro-brewery.
In the afternoon head back to Hobart and head to Mount Wellington. Rising 1271m above the port city, it’s possible to walk, pedal or drive to the mountain. Buses from the centre leave frequently to the summit, which has viewing platforms and walking trails with fabulous views over Hobart. On a clear day, you might see as far as Ben Lomond in the far northeast and the peaks of the World Heritage Area in the south west. On the route back to the city, take Strickland Avenue to stop off at Cascade Brewery. It’s possible to stop by for a quick look and to purchase some beer, but you should allow at least 90 minutes for a thorough tour of Australia’s oldest brewery.
From Hobart, drive 45 minutes south to the Bruny Island Ferry Terminal in Kettering and take a ferry to Bruny Island.
This sparsely populated island off the southeast coast of Tasmania is a beautiful wilderness of beaches, rugged landscape and forests and is celebrated for its produce; particularly artisan cheese and Pacific oysters. During a day trip, you can hike along walking trails and wild sandy beaches, see the famous Cape Bruny Lighthouse and then order some freshly shucked oysters. Hop on a Bruny Island cruise, such as Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ to see the Island’s tremendous array of unspoilt coastline, towering clifftops and vast number of sea and coastal wildlife, including seal colonies, before returning to Hobart for the evening.
Fly from Hobart to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, via Melbourne.
No visit to South Australia is complete without an expedition to the Barossa Valley just under 90 minutes’ drive from Adelaide. If you have time, it’s worth heading west for half an hour to stop at the little German tourist town of Hahndorf. Staying true to the heritage of the Lutheran settlers who migrated to Australia around 1838, Hahndorf is a charming European village with original restored buildings and a vibrant German lifestyle.
One hour north of Hahndorf finds you in the heart of the Barossa country. One of several wine regions in the state, the Barossa is home to many of Australia’s most popular varieties, including industry giants such as Jacob’s Creek, Penfold’s, Wolf Blass and Yalumba. Each winery has its own unique flavour in terms of the wines it produces and a selection of wines are available for tasting at their cellar door.
Of course there’s more to the Barossa than just wine. Visit Maggie Beers’ Farm Shop for a taste test of all her famous jams and spreads, and daily cooking demonstration run by Maggie Beer’s team. If you plan to stay in the area for longer, enjoy a peaceful birds-eye view of the Barossa in a dawn hot-air balloon ride or drive back to Adelaide for the night.
Start the day with a guided food tour of Adelaide Central Market, a noisy, colourful and character-filled undercover market set within Gouger and Grote streets. These multicultural markets opened in 1879 and the historic Grote Street facade still stands today. Inside, there are hundreds of stalls featuring regional produce from fresh fruit and vegetables to coffee, smallgoods and delicious craft cheeses from Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island. Afterwards, explore the studios and galleries within the Jam Factory to get acquainted with Adelaide's most creative artists. There are regular exhibitions and it’s a great place to snap up some ceramics, glass or jewellery to take home.
Beer lovers can spend a few hours learning the craft behind the tipple during a tour of Coopers Brewery, a family owned brewery just a short drive away in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.
Stroll, walk or cycle along the Torrens River, beautiful at all hours of the day and especially at sunset, when you can hop on board a traditional Venetian made gondola for a leisurely, romantic cruise. For dinner, head to Gouger Street. The city’s famous ‘eat street’ has a vibrant strip of restaurants and cafés with something to suit every palate.
From Adelaide, fly just under two hours to Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, and home to two of the World’s Best 100 Restaurants, Quay and Sepia.
Quay offers one of Australia’s best views as the restaurant is housed in a contemporary glass space perched between the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Consistently listed on the S.Pellegrino World's Best 50 Restaurants list, Chef Peter Gilmore creates elegant plates including the show-stopping Snow Egg dessert that has become one of the most talked about dishes in Australia.
Alternatively head to Sepia where Head Chef and owner, Martin Benn produces subtle Japanese dishes, that continue to gather awards, accolades and a legion of devotees.