Indulge At 4 Of Queensland’s Best Food Festivals This Winter
Showcasing the best live events in Queensland.
Forget what you’ve heard – Queensland isn’t just about soaking up the sunshine, beaches, rainforests and reef; the Sunshine State has an abundance of amazing food that will have your tastebuds craving a getaway, too.
With more annual food festivals than you can shake a palm frond at, it’s safe to say Queenslanders love their food. This winter, shake off the cabin fever, get outdoors and sink your teeth into some delicious fare at these Queensland food festivals.
#1 Noosa Food And Wine Festival
Celebrated as one of the best foodie festivals in Australia, the Noosa Food and Wine Festival is always a firm favourite on the culinary calendar. From May 16 to 20, you can mingle with your favourite celebrity chefs (Matt Preston, Manu Feildel, and Alastair McLeod, we’re looking at you), sink your toes into the sand, and sink a few specially crafted beverages while you’re at it.
For first-timers, the festival village is a good place to start. A hub of food, drink, live music, and live demonstrations, there’s so much to take in and taste test. If you’ve been before, you won’t recognise the River Lounge, but you should definitely pay the new addition a visit. It’s where chefs, producers, and the best in the booze business meet to create some cool collabs – think ex-Masterchef contestant Matt Sinclair and Stone & Wood, or Paul Carmichael (Momofuku Seiōbo) and Four Pillars gin.
While You’re There
Get in your fancy-but-still-stretchy clothes and head to the restaurant of local celebrity Peter Kuruvita, Noosa Beach House, to chow down on more amazing food. Walk it off the next day while you explore Noosa National Park – where, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot whales, dolphins, and even sea turtles – but don’t forget to pick up some fresh hiking snacks from the Noosa Farmers Markets before you head off.
#2 Scenic Rim Eat Local Week
Where else but at Scenic Rim Eat Local Week (June 29 to July 7) can you find yourself at a “carrot couture” fashion and food fusion event, in the middle of a carrot paddock, with carrot a beer in hand?
The week-and-a-bit-long festival will see around 90 events take place across 4600km of green, rolling hills, hike-able mountains, and farmland in the Scenic Rim region, an hour’s drive inland from the Gold Coast. From alpaca picnics, roaming degustations, and a live jazz dinner surrounded by cuddly little lambs, the Scenic Rim Eat Local week calendar is full of events you just can’t find in the city.
Oh, and a warning: don’t wear white, because this is your opportunity to meet the farmers face-to-face, get your hands dirty on the farm, and really get to know the stories behind the region and its produce.
While You’re There
Take a break from all the eating and drinking to meet the camels at Summer Land Camels. You can ride them or choose to admire them with your feet firmly planted on the ground.
If you want the full country experience, pay Mount Alford’s café-slash-coffee-house-slash-brewery, Scenic Rim Brewery, a visit. It looks like a country town general store, but it serves up some mean Dutch-inspired fare alongside home brewed small-batch beer.
#3 The Curated Plate
The Curated Plate is a brand-new Sunshine Coast food festival that blissfully blurs the line between “vacation” and “culinary adventure”, with any one of the hinterland, rainforest, or beach-based events ready to activate holiday mode almost instantly.
Running from August 8 to 11, the festival highlights the vibrant produce from around the region through the work of some of Australia and the world’s best chefs. The star-studded lineup includes internationals like Raymond Blanc (of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, a world-famous restaurant in Oxford, UK) and Zaiyu Hasegawa, and homegrown culinary heroes Matt Stone and Peter Gilmore.
Guests are encouraged to learn more about the organic and sustainable practices that have served up their dinner, truly celebrating the relationship between chef and producer. If you’re keen on a once in a lifetime dining experience paired with a much-needed beach holiday, this is the foodie festival you should be adding to your calendar.
While You’re There
Keep your food adventure going and treat yourself to an Asian-inspired dinner at either The Tamarind or Spirit House. More than just delicious food, these secluded venues are immersed in nature, making them Instagram heaven.
For something a little more laid-back – and a lot more hop-driven – jump on a Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours tour. Then, you can nurse your food coma in a luxury glamping tent at Nightfall.
#4 Hervey Bay Seafood Festival
If you have a hankering for a hamburger, you won’t be curing it at the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival. Held on August 11, the Seafood Festival is a one-day seafood extravaganza, run by the very fishermen and women that pulled the produce up and brought it to shore. It’s a true “sea-to-plate” experience where you can meet the producers and learn the ins and outs of the industry.
Pull up a spot on a picnic blanket in the park for the day, and get stuck in to some of the famed Hervey Bay Scallops and Mary River barramundi. Even better, it forms part of the Hervey Bay Whale Festival, where you can enjoy a whale-inspired kite show, parade, SUP paddle-out, and concert.
While You’re There
Head out to watch the sea turtles grazing aboard Hervey Bay Eco Marine Tours’ glass-bottom boat, Milbi. It’s one of the only Indigenous marine tours on offer in the region. To get a glimpse of larger sea-dwellers, jump aboard Freedom Whale Watch’s luxury catamaran for the day. You get so close to the majestic humpbacks that you can just about count the barnacles on their bellies.
(Images: Tourism and Events Queensland)