Great Australian bites: the foodie bucket list

1 Go back to school. Take a class at Rodney Dunn's Agrarian Kitchen in a 19th-century schoolhouse in the lush Derwent Valley, north of Hobart. You'll pick vegies from the garden, milk a goat, learn how to make bread or pasta, or break down and cook a whole pig. In a class of its own.

2 Stand thigh-deep in waders in pure Tasmanian water; it's a magical way to eat oysters as part of luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet's Marine Farm experience.

3 Eat salted caramel, straight from the jar, from Burch & Purchese.

 4 Reel in a barramundi or mangrove jack and have it prepared for dinner by the boat's stellar chefs while on a True North Kimberley wilderness expedition. Go crabbing and, if the catch is good, the whole boat is treated to sundowners and succulent claws on the deck.

5 Eat fresh young coconut laced with soy, and fill your basket at the Port Douglas Sunday markets on the shores of the Coral Sea, where everything's made by the stallholders and family.

6 Try a glass of Grange. At $684 a bottle for the new '08, few can afford it. But for $150 you can have a taste, with a Great Grange Tour at the home of Penfolds: Magill Estate.

7 Work up a thirst shopping for dinner. Willunga, in the heart of McLaren Vale, is South Australia's longest-running farmers' market, easily followed with an afternoon at wineries such as Coriole, Samuels Gorge and the ever-popular d'Arenberg.

Stay over and tuck into fabulous pizza at the quirky and rustic Russell's, open Friday and Saturday only. (08) 8556 2571; or pop into relaxed paddock-to-plate fine diner Fino.

8 Celebrate, or pop the question by sunset on a sand dune at Uluru during the Tali Wiru dinner, from April to October. Limited to 20 guests, with tables for two available. Start with canapes and French champagne; dinner is prepared by chefs from the luxe Longitude 131. It's $295 and wine is included. 1300 134 044


9 Go gourmet tramping in the Grampians and work up an appetite for Dan Hunter's mesmerising degustation at the art deco Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld. Stay the night and explore the Grampians and the Great Western wine region, highlights of which are Seppelt's 19th-century underground cellars, and the family-run Best's, home to Bin 0 shiraz.,

10 Go big. It's more than 40 years since Coffs Harbour's Big Banana stamped itself on the Australian psyche. Its frozen, chocolate-coated bananas on a stick are still bliss.


What have you ticked off your foodie bucket list? Tweet a photo and some details of your experience to @goodfoodAU using the hashtag #foodiebucketlist. We'll compile your tips and photos into a gallery and publish it on


11 Grab a post-beach gelato at Massimo's, Noosa, with sand down your bathers and salt on your skin. (07) 5474 8033

12 Bunk down in the Barossa. Taste world-class wines at cellar doors; stay at the Louise, buy food from producers using age-old techniques to preserve authenticity and flavour; shop at the Saturday farmers' market; eat at fermentAsian, the restaurant that's redefining what it means to be Barossan; and tuck into the Barossa Breakfast Rave, a sustainable breakfast that pops up in venues from railway stations to wineries.

13 Brunch on a toastie from top chef Alex Herbert at Sydney's Eveleigh Market: The Crooked Madam is her take on the croque-madame, a toastie with ham, gruyere, fried egg, Dijon mustard and barbecue sauce.

14 Have a big night out at Quay, currently Australia's highest-scoring restaurant in the Fairfax Good Food Guides. Peter Gilmore's dishes are as beautifully crafted, original and breathtaking as the Sydney Opera House, bridge and harbour they overlook when served.

15 Take (morning) tea floating in the submerged melaleuca forests of the Top End after an airboat ride across the Mary River flood plain from Bamurru Plains. In the achingly beautiful surrounds, a cuppa never tasted so good. Later, feast on local crays, or buffalo pot pie.

16 Discover nature's larder amid the unspoiled bounty of Kangaroo Island. Buy honey from Clifford's Honey Farm with Island Pure Sheep Yoghurt. Eat ''the world's best fish and chips'' at Fish, in Penneshaw. And stay and dine in splendour at Southern Ocean Lodge.

17 Scoff a Four'n Twenty pie at the MCG; it always tastes best when your footy team's in front.

18 Immerse yourself in Tetsuya's 10-course degustation, a virtuosic blend of Japanese and French flavours and techniques. The confit of Petuna ocean trout is a icon to rival the Sydney Opera House.

19 Walk up an appetite on the pristine beaches of north-east Tasmania, arriving at the Bay of Fires ecolodge, where four days' hiking is rewarded with beautiful, simple regional food and fine local wines.

 20 Learn how to make pot-sticker dumplings from scratch in Cowra, with Anna Wong, whose food at Neila, reflecting her Chinese heritage, is original and completely unexpected.

21 Churn your own cultured butter by hand with Bronwyn Ingleton at the Myrtleford Butter Factory, Victoria. Stay for lunch, then take home your handmade butter, buttermilk and ricotta. Monthly, $120.

22 Take a VIP tour at iconic Barossa winery Henschke, then enjoy a tutored tasting including the flagship Hill of Grace.

23 Dine under sails … the majestic ''sails'' of Jorn Utzon's Sydney Opera House at Guillaume at Bennelong.

24 Stop at a crossroad in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to its ''feral grill'', the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, SA (population: six), has become a gateway to the Flinders Ranges. When the beers are flowing, the music's cranking and the front bar is full of ''locals'', this is a great place to be.

25 Grab takeaway fish and chips from Fish Mongers at Bondi or Manly (or the Byron Bay original) and head to the beach to eat them.

26 Take a really long lunch - The World's Longest Lunch - or watch a three-hat chef lay a hangi, or attend a wine masterclass at one of the world's best food festivals.

27 Have an island feast. Qualia (named best resort in Australasia by Conde Nast Traveller magazine) will serve you at its open-air restaurant overlooking the Whitsundays any time, but ups the ante for food lovers twice a year with the Hamilton Island Great Barrier Feast.

28 Take the Clare Valley Riesling Trail as it follows the contours of a former railway line winding through South Australia's prettiest wine region. Explore cellar doors on the way: Skillogalee, positioned in a restored 1851 miner's cottage; Grosset, home to Australia's finest riesling; and the hard-to-miss O'Leary Walker complex, perched on a hill. Bike-rental outfits can organise pick-ups if you run out of puff.

29 Go back to the gold-rush era at the historic food-and-wine centre of Beechworth, where Michael Ryan's seamless blending of local ingredients with modern techniques, underpinned by a Japanese sensibility, makes Provenance, in an 1850s former bank, one of Victoria's finest regional restaurants. Stay the night in the elegant converted stables behind.

30 Get fishy at the Sydney Seafood School, where well-known chefs regularly impart their culinary wisdom through classes.

31 Go up, up and away on an early-morning hot-air balloon flight over the Yarra Valley's vineyards, with a swish brekkie to follow.

32 Hit the hinterland. Experience Cameron Matthews' inventive, artful food at Spicers Clovelly Estate resort's Long Apron restaurant, which utilises the seasonal bounty of the lush Sunshine Coast hinterland.

33 Loosen your belt for the abundance of Bruny Island's gastronomic delights: fish smoked on the island, oysters pulled from the sea moments before you eat them and wines from the country's southernmost vineyard. Don't miss the Bruny Island Cheese Company, taste and buy Nick Haddow's extraordinary artisan cheeses, including his unpasteurised C2, at the cafe-cellar door.

34 Explore an exotic hinterland spice garden with lunch cooked by Thai specialist Martin Boetz (ex-Longrain) at the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, which celebrates its 10th birthday next month.

35 Pull on the boots of a gourmet farmer with author, TV host, chef and writer Matthew Evans and friends for one of their Tasmanian events and you might get lunch, or learn how to make charcuterie, with cheesemaker Nick Haddow and uber-hunter-gatherer Ross O'Meara.

36 Learn how to shuck an oyster in a masterclass at Sydney's Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay with chef Colin Barker and progressive farmer Steve Feletti from Moonlight Flat Oysters.

37 Get hooked on fishing at Arnhemland Barramundi Nature Lodge in the pristine waters of Maningrida, NT, where the catch of the day - whether it's coral trout, barramundi or mud crabs - becomes dinner.

38 Tuck into a hot bratwurst roll in the gorgeous art deco deli hall of Melbourne's historic Queen Victoria Market.

39 Have breakfast at Berardo's Bistro on the Beach, in Noosa, Queensland.

40 Take a spa weekend at one of Australia's finest boutique resorts, the Lake House, Daylesford, where fine food is a given at the luxurious two-hat restaurant. Book its ultra-private two-bedroom Retreat for an unforgettable foodies' getaway.

41 Choose your courses (four to nine) and the ingredients you don't want, and let Loam's Aaron Turner do the rest. In this rustic Bellarine Peninsula restaurant among olive groves, with distant sea views, you'll have brilliant, innovative food with superb wine matches.

42 Go bush in the Flinders Ranges, where enthusiastic teams of camp-oven cooks converge on the tiny township of Blinman annually around October to vie for the title of the Cook Out Back champion.

43 Try organic and biodynamic wine and food at Cullen Wines' atmospheric Margaret River cellar-door restaurant. Overlooking the vineyard, with a huge kitchen garden, it's simply perfect.

44 Drink vintage wine. The Barossa's historic Seppeltsfield Winery, home to the world's largest unbroken collection of fortified wine dating back to 1878, is the only winery that releases a 100-year-old single vintage wine (Para Vintage Tawny) each year. Taste it, and your birth year wine, on their small-group Centenary Tour.

45 Search for bubbles on the unique Road to Prosecco wine trail, which celebrates the Italian heritage of King Valley winemakers including Dal Zotto, Brown Brothers and Pizzini.

46 Take a helicopter to the otherwise inaccessible Miri Miri Falls at El Questro in the Kimberley. Have a delectable, ultra-private picnic lunch and the waterhole all to yourself. 

47 Check out the vibrant Adelaide Central Market, packed with specialty meats, smallgoods, spices, mushrooms and local and imported cheeses.

48 Experience Wine in the Wilderness, a  four-night adventure at Faraway Bay hosted by top young Aussie winemaker, Larry Cherubino, with waterfalls, rockpools, fishing, indigenous art, food and wine matchings and some pretty schmick tastings.  

49 Explore the abundance of Western Australia's Pemberton region, including truffles in season, at one of Sophie Zalokar's regular dinners or occasional cooking classes at Foragers.

50 Blend your own Barossa red. Head to the Penfolds laboratory, create your own grenache-shiraz-mourvedre blend, then take it home in a personalised bottle.

51 Catch the main ingredient for a chill crab lunch, pump for yabbies and feed a fleet of pelicans on a three-hour adventure on the "Catch a crab" catamaran from Tweed Heads.

52 Rejoice in riesling at a two-day event, held alternatively in Melbourne and Sydney, celebrating the diversity of the riesling grape. The next event will be in Melbourne in 2015. 

53 Become a wine judge. Taste, judge and discuss wines from around the world at the annual Stonier International Pinot Noir Tasting., or the biennial Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Tasting (next event 2015), which some of the biggest wine names from overseas and Australia attend.

54 Drink aged Hunter Valley Semillon, arguably the one wine that Australia really does better than anywhere else. Tyrrells Vat 1 and McWilliams Lovedale set the benchmark. Book a private tasting to sample Tyrrell’s premium whites including the 2006 Vat 1 and – if you’re lucky – the 1999.

55 Dine at Melbourne's Attica. For uber-talented chef Ben Shewry each dish has a story; the sublime ‘Potato in the earth it was grown’ inspired by the hangis of his New Zealand childhood.  Shewry embraces regional producers, sustainability and native ingredients, with foraged food playing a significant role in the chic little bijou restaurant. His staff share his passion and make a night at Attica unforgettable.

Terry Durack's list

Terry Durack is a chief restaurant critic for Fairfax Media.

1. Sit in the warm sand at Darwin's Mindil Beach with a spicy pad Thai from the bustling market, a cold beer, and a huge crimson sun melting into the Arafura Sea.

2. Try wallaby, from the unique ecosystem of Flinders Island. It behoves every Australian to review their prejudices against indigenous ingredients and stop marginalising them with tags such as ''bush tucker''. Find it at Attica in Melbourne or Billy Kwong in Sydney.,

3. Feast at Flower Drum, Melbourne, which since 1975 has been presenting exquisite roast duck and whole-fish banquets with style, grace and extraordinary wine.

4. Have a late-night Tiger - a chunky-beef pie piled high with mushy peas, mash and gravy - at Harry's Cafe de Wheels, a bona fide Sydney tourist attraction.

5. Explore the MONA gallery, have lunch at its Wine Bar with a local Moo Brew, then dine at Garagistes in Hobart, where chef Luke Burgess is cooking, curing and smoking local ingredients with just as much art and craft.,

Matthew Evans' list

Gourmet farmer Matthew Evans (as seen on SBS TV) swapped city life as a restaurant critic for a farm in Tasmania, where he raises rare-breed pigs.

1. Fish and chips in Dunalley, Tasmania, where the fishermen from the co-op know exactly where, and when, the fish were caught. (03) 6253 5428

2. Mangoes at Rusty's Markets, in Cairns, which are so ripe they could never be put in a truck to head down south.

3. Yum cha at one of Sydney's vast Chinese food halls with 10 of my best mates so we can order everything on every trolley (except deep-fried stuff).

4. Trout fishing on a remote stream or lake in Tasmania's central highlands.

5. Yabbies I caught myself from a creek in the Flinders Ranges, cooked simply in salted water, and slathered with butter and garlic.

Lyndey Milan's list

Food writer and broadcaster. Lyndey Milan's Taste of Ireland airs on LifeStyle Food from May 20.

1. Slurp Sydney rock oysters in the Clyde River estuary with oyster farmer Ewan McAsh.

2. Sip Wildbrumby schnapps, made to exacting European standards, in the Snowy Mountains.

3. Be part of Borrodell on the Mount's ''Black tie and gumboots'' truffle hunt and dinner in Orange - I contributed a twice-baked truffle and cheese souffle to the menu.

4. Milk a goat at Hobbitt Farm, near Jindabyne, where the cheesemakers use snow gum for the ash on their ashed chevre.

5. Hand-make chocolates at classes with Jodie van der Velden from Josophan's in Leura (and now Sydney).

Additional reporting by Jeni Port