Everyone sets out to explore new places differently.
Some travel with nature walks or heart-palpating activities in their sights, and others, are led by their stomach and the promise of new tastes and dining adventures.
While it may be the location and accommodation that set the tone for a getaway, it’s safe to say any food and wine devoured, especially at under-the-radar spots, are surely the icing on top.
To help any food lovers out with planning their next slow escape, read on to uncover 10 local Australian foodie experiences you won’t find in any guidebook.
KESTREL NEST ECOHUT
Mount Adrah, NSW
Found atop an abundant 332 hectares of regenerative farmland, Kestrel Nest Ecohut is an off-grid cabin that shares its land with incredible birdlife, the endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland and sustainably farmed, award-winning grass-fed sheep and cattle. So, if ever there were a paddock-to-plate experience worth trying, this is it. With a complete kitchen at your disposal, take advantage of your country Slow Stay and cook up a feast starring their award-winning lamb and Heritage-breed beef. One bite and you’ll taste the difference.
UMI BOOMERANG BEACH
Boomerang Beach, NSW
Long days spent outdoors with sandy feet and salty hair is what a stay at Umi Boomerang Beach is all about. Throw in a beachfront location and the only thing that could elevate this seaside holiday is a helping of just-out-of-the-water seafood. For those who love learning and are eager to sharpen their oyster shucking skills, this region is brimming with oyster farms, some which you can visit onboard the Oyster Catcher Punt from restaurant Thirty Three Degrees. Book a tour or save the hard work for someone else and buy fresh oysters straight from the grower at much-loved spots like Graham Barclay Oysters.
If you thought this restored oceanfront fisherman’s shack in the seaside town of Falmouth couldn’t get any more special, think again. Escape to Whale Song and not only will you get a front row seat to whales migrating and a blanket of infinite stars, but if you plan ahead, a private in-house chef too. Get cosy indoors or grab a seat with uninterrupted sea views by the fire pit, then prepare to sample a swathe of impeccable dishes where fresh, regional produce is the hero. Let’s just say, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll want to do more than once.
CEDAR COTTAGE MEANDER
Tasmania has long been known among foodies as a thriving food bowl, but it’s now official with Launceston being recognised as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Less than an hour’s drive from the city, Cedar Cottage Meander sits in the wilderness at the foot of kooparoona niara / the Great Western Tiers in Central-North Tasmania and is the ultimate place to slow down and savour the many flavours of the area (when you’re not ticking off all the surrounding bushwalks, that is). Start with the organic permaculture garden at the cottage doorstep, Veg Mahal, followed by a graze on a scrumptious gourmet platter, delivered to you by the nearby Deloraine Deli. There’s also a plethora of tastings awaiting beyond the property, with ethical salmon, cheeses and creamy dairy and fresh black truffles from Australia’s oldest truffle farm. Quenching your thirst will also be a local experience with an ever-growing list of boutique breweries, distilleries and vineyards to visit, including The Bush Inn and Red Brick Road Ciderworks and Distillery.
Eaglehawk Neck, TAS
When unwinding at The Wayfarer, there’s a few slow experiences that guests should really make time for to embrace the wonder of this 1970s beach house and its surroundings. Firstly, don’t leave without witnessing a captivating sunrise from the deck, but grab a blanket and your uggs before you head out. Then, have your tastebuds blown when you pull up a chair at the culinary powerhouse that is Van Bone in Marion Bay. Here, you and up to 19 other guests can feast on local, mouth-watering dishes in a stunningly designed intimate restaurant overlooking green pastures. For a more casual setting, scoot straight to the only oyster farmgate on the Tasman Peninsula, Blue Lagoon Oysters — their Pacific and Tassie Gold Pacific oysters are the freshest you’ll find.
LARNOOK AT SHERBROOK
Leaving the stunning setting of Larnook at Sherbrook, where your Slow Stay is a shipping container on a sprawling flower farm turned into high-end, off-grid getaway, will seem like a ridiculous idea. But when you plonk down aboard Puffing Billy, a steam train that travels through the Dandenong Ranges, hear the whistle sound and smell the steam billowing out the chimney, you’ll realise this is an adventure you don’t want to miss. Take the 11am train from Belgrave to Gembrook and find your way to The Independent’s heritage-listed building. Inside, dine on deep-flavoured Argentinian fare — think: empanadas, ceviche and grilled brisket — as tango tunes fill the air. You’ll be talking about the food the whole ride home.
Made for romance and lovers of great food and wine, Evamor Valley is made up of three luxury glamping tents overlooking a 32-hectare farm in Mudgee. For a completely unique foodie experience, lock in an in-house wine tasting session during your stay and you’ll have Steph Ross from online cellar door Exclusively Mudgee, drop by your tent with six of the region’s best drops and a decadent platter for you try. Or, if you’d rather dress up and hit a modern farmhouse restaurant, then keep an eye on Lowe Wines and The Zin House for their all-inclusive pop-up ‘Dinner With’ dining series.
HEARTWOOD FARM BYRON BAY
Tucked a short drive out of the quaint town of Federal, in the Byron Hinterland, Heartwood Farm has a kind of modern rustic charm seeping out of its white cladded walls. With rolling views stretching as far as the eye can see, a plunge pool and a veggie and herb garden, unwinding here is easy. During your stay, eager foodies can continue the slow vibes with a seasonal cooking class at Forage Byron Bay. Take your pick between learning how to forage, preserve or make cheese, and not only will you get to taste your creations, but you’ll leave with a headful of knowledge to re-create the magic at home. Group bookings are welcome, so start rounding up the travelling crew now.
THE COB BARN
Teaming up with local businesses is just one of the things The Cob Barn does best. But don’t take our word for it. Next time you plan a visit to this fairytale-like Slow Stay in Tasmania, organise with the hosts to have an artisan charcuterie platter from the ethical Fork It Farm delivered to your doorstep. The Farmstyle Platter for two is loaded with a generous serving of farm made charcuterie, like scratchings, pate, terrine and cured meats, plus olive oil crackers, pickles and Tasmanian cheese. You’ll feel completely guilt-free knowing the platter itself is even eco-friendly and returnable. Now, that’s a conscious foodie experience.
INTO THE WOODS
Skip the hassle of going to the shops, finding the right dish and then lugging all your produce to your picnic location, and instead, leave it to the folks at your Sunshine Coast Slow Stay, Into The Woods. Enjoy a rustic picnic by the stables and nibble on a beautiful grazing box, packed with local produce, in the middle of lush acreage. Created in partnership with the family-run Thistle in the Woods, this is one way to get your local tastings in, without even hopping in the car. And, if a food coma nap is on the cards, which it definitely should be, you’re only a short walk from a cloud-like bed.