With an internationally renowned wine industry and a growing culinary scene, more and more visitors are travelling to Australia not just for the beaches but for the food and wine. To meet this demand, many Australian regions have started marketing food and wine trails, including the Food and Nature Trail in Tasmania and the Hawkesbury Harvest in New South Wales. North Queensland benefits from a warm, tropical climate and a thriving agricultural industry, which means visitors can enjoy luscious tropical fruit and accompanying wine.
Image Source: Alan Levin/Flickr
The Taste of the Tropics trail was first launched in 2001 by Australian Tropical Foods to promote the food industry in North Queensland. It highlights all of the exotic culinary sensations stemming from the region, with five food trails to follow. Juicy mangoes, exotic jackfruit, and sweet lychees are all a few examples of the produce available along these routes, used in creative ways in local restaurants and roadside cafes.
Taste of the Cassowary Coast
Starting in Babinda just south of Cairns, this trail takes you through the townships of Innisfail and Tully out to picturesque Mission Beach. Stop and enjoy the Ma-Mu Canopy Rainforest Walk to enjoy the lush scenery, and sample an array of tropical fruits at the roadside stands. Highlights include the imported cheese and prosciutto at Oliveri’s Continental Deli, the local produce at Jagad’s Epicurean Emporium, and the freshly caught fish at the Innisfail Fish Depot.
Taste of the Coral Coast
Drive from Cairns to Australia’s spa capital of Palm Cove alongside lush palm-fringed beaches, and stop off at gourmet destinations including Rusty’s Bazaar Markets with their seasonal produce and exotic tropical vegetables. Gain a sense of Queensland’s diversity by visiting Asian Foods Australia in Cairns for locally made curry pastes and chili sauces, and don’t pass up a stop at Dreamtime Wines to enjoy wines featuring flavours from passionfruit to kiwi fruit.
Taste of the Mountain Tablelands
Venture away from the coast and into the high-altitude southern region of the Mountain Tablelands, which include the Waterfall Circuit and Misty Mountains trails to enjoy. These rolling green hills produce excellent culinary products to sample. One of the most famous is the Mungalli Creek Bio-Dynamic Dairy, billed as a “cheesery and teahouse.”
Taste of the Savannah Tablelands
Venture into Australia’s coffee country with a tour of the Savannah Tablelands, which pass from Cairns up the Kuranda range. Stop in Mareeba to visit the Australian coffee centre, which boasts a heavenly smell and freshly roasted coffee from the region.
Image Source: Beatie/Flickr
Taste of the Rainforest
The final trail along the Taste of the Tropics takes you into lush rainforest settings, travelling from Palm Cove across the Daintree River and up to Cape Tribulation. Take a fruit tasting and farm tour at the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm, and find out what happens when exotic tropical fruits are blended with ice cream at the Floravilla Ice Cream Factory in Daintree. Don’t miss a visit to one of Daintree’s oldest restaurants, the Daintree Tea House Restaurant which uses locally grown products in mouth-watering ways.
Before you Go
The weather is unsurprisingly hot and humid in the tropics of Queensland, so pack plenty of layers and don’t forget the sunscreen. Although all of these trails are easily accessible with a 2WD vehicle, if you plan to go off-roading you’ll want to read reviews on local sites like Motoring to find a car for your holiday with 4WD. Give yourself plenty of time to explore this diverse and delicious region, and don’t forget to take away some fruity souvenirs!