The cool and not so hot: we rank 13 Australian ice creams

Tom Cowie

Summer is tearing off the wrapper of an ice cream from the freezer at your local servo and gobbling it down before it melts. This is the definitive ranking of those ice creams and not at all the opinion of just one person. 

Weis Bar

13. Weis Bar

Oh Weis Bar, you are so painfully uncool. It's for insurance brokers and accountants who enjoy "raspberries and toasted coconut" and "boysenberries and rich vanilla bean". Sort of aesthetically pleasing, in a retro way, with two-tone art deco colours. Your parents ate it after downing a prosecco and scoffing pigs in blankets. A revival could be on the cards if the glorious 1970s range was to return (highlights included apricot brandy, peach champagne and muscatel). Groovy.

Eskimo Pie

12. Eskimo Pie

The Eskimo Pie is the granddaddy of ice creams, having first come into existence in 1923. Minus the bells and whistles, this chocolate and vanilla creation probably wouldn't have been invented today. Millennials with their Facechats and Smartpads want modern ice creams covered in marshmallow pieces and popcorn chunks. The Eskimo Pie doesn't do any of that. It stopped listening five minutes ago and wants to go home now. What's all this noise? Who are you? Where are my pants?

Frosty Fruit

11. Frosty Fruits

We're back in the steamy tropics, which seems to be where most icy pole creators get their inspiration. Did Peters have an ice cream bureau in Ha Noi or something? A pretty straight-up-and-down icy pole, combining pineapple, orange and passionfruit makes up this version of "tropical" flavour. Really, though, after hacking your way through 100 kilometres of equatorial insect-infested jungle with just a machete, would you be satisfied when presented with a Frosty Fruit? I didn't think so. 


10. Drumstick

The trumpet-shaped cone ice cream with the chocolatey tip. There's the classic vanilla with chocolate and nuts, which probably everyone in Australia has eaten, plus a few new types to shake things up. The Drumstick is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, middle-of-the road these days but that's OK if you just want something that's reliable and will get the job done. Gets extra kudos for having a natural arch nemesis in the Cornetto. 


9. Maxibon

Maxibon is one of those screenwriters who walks into the big studio meeting and starts their movie pitch with "it's Jaws meets The Godfather". Actually the combination of two other established ice creams, the Eskimo Pie and the Monaco Bar, plus a handful of nuts. This long struggle with split personalities has left the Maxibon unsure of itself, wondering why people won't love it for who it really is. The sooner Maxibon figures out its true identity the better. 


8. Calippo

Food that comes in tubes is scary, one step away from a dystopian 1984 future. Little known fact: the Calippo inspired food scientists to grow hamburgers in laboratories. Big tick, however, for the piece of clever packaging design, which makes it easier to eat as it melts but without any unsightly spillages. Flavours are oh-so-predictably tropical and fruity, with the tangy trio of lemon, pineapple and orange all featuring heavily. 

Paddle Pop

7. Paddle Pop

Ah, the beautiful, clean lines of the Paddle Pop. The simple-yet-effective flavours of chocolate, rainbow and banana. But every so often this classic goes through a mid-life crisis and gets some kind of hellish bedazzling. It's embarrassing, PP, just be yourself. The most recent abomination is the "Dragon Popper": orange, apple and grape with "exciting popping candy". Points for best mascot though.


6. Sunnyboy

Any artificially flavoured ice block that gives its name to an 80s Australian pub rock band is alright with me. Distinctive by its tetrahedral shape, the Sunnyboy turns into a real weapon when frozen. I mean you could take an eye out with those edges. Flavours included "razz" (raspberry), "glug" (cola) and "explosion" (orange), which sound like team names in the Twenty20 Big Bash League.  

Monaco Bar

5. Monaco Bar

Monaco: tax haven, playground of the rich and the famous, supposed provenance of vanilla ice cream wedged between two chocolate biscuits. There's James Bond at the craps table in the Monte Carlo, balancing a martini in one hand, fighting off a group of trained assassins sent to kill him with the other. All for an ice cream sandwich. Like an exiled tax cheat, the Monaco Bar actually disappeared from freezers completely only to gloriously return.


4. Magnum

When you share a name with both Dirty Harry's hand gun and extra-large condoms, you better be confident that you got game. Happily, the Magnum delivers on its promise. The original classic - chocolate casing on the outside, creamy vanilla on the inside -- has left a slew of pretenders in its wake. Bold as brass, the Magnum asks: do you feel lucky, punk? The almond Magnum is a particular favourite and things went to a whole new level with the Ego. 

Bubble O'Bill

3. Bubble O'Bill

Bubble O'Bill shouldn't work: soft ice cream and chewy bubble gum. You can't eat those two things at once, you just can't. But somehow the package is a winner. Sure, the flavour of the bubble gum lasts about 1.67 milliseconds but there's a lot to like about great catchphrases like "go for your gum". Also, the person who came up with that classic cowboy face hopefully has it tattooed somewhere on their body to celebrate in perpetuity.


2. Splice

Woah. Who was the genius who came up with the Splice, this magic combination of ice cream and icy pole? Surely they were given a nice corner office at Streets HQ and put up their feet until retirement, knowing perfection could never be topped. Even the name is badass, conjuring up images of a DNA splicing experiment gone horribly wrong. The tropical pine-lime flavour tastes like the Beach Boys' song Kokomo - all palm trees, sandy beaches and sleazy guys in Hawaiian shirts playing the saxophone.

Golden Gaytime

1. Golden Gaytime

The Golden Gaytime knows all the jokes about its name but it doesn't care. Gaytime is proud of what it is. And why shouldn't it be? Toffee and vanilla flavoured centre, dipped in chocolate and absolutely slathered with those goddamn delicious biscuit pieces. Even the recent "green and Golden Gaytime" patriotic marketing stunt can't knock it off its perch. This piece of iced confection is clearly the best option in the freezer.