The Sunshine Coast: a foodie’s paradise
From farm gates and food tours to freshly-caught seafood, the Sunshine Coast food scene is rich in its diversity. Here we share six dining experiences to try on the Sunshine Coast this winter, where you can meet food producers and hear their stories, pick your own produce, sample award-winning cheese and take cooking classes from the best in the business.
Go farm to fork in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland
As you drive up the winding range of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, you’ll spot farmgate stalls by the roadside offering everything from pineapples and avocados to fresh honey. But what’s the story behind the produce? In a true paddock-to-plate experience, Creative Tours and Events will take you behind the scenes to meet the makers and hear their stories on their Hinterland Farm to Fork Tour, followed by a lunch of local produce. Stops include The Falls Farm, Montville Coffee and Brouhaha Brewery.
Meet the makers with People, Plates and Places
The team at People, Plates and Places offer a truly unique food experience with their “plate to paddock” ethos. Held in different locations across the Sunshine Coast, People, Plates and Places hold pop-up events on working farms and orchards that bring diners to where the food is grown. Foodies will hear from the producers themselves as they sample everything from grass-fed beef to organic tomatoes at their restaurant without walls. The next event will be held in Montville in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland on July 25, and features a multi-course menu with paired wines.
All aboard the tasting train with the Mary Valley Rattler
The Mary Valley in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is a region renowned for its produce – think award-winning cheese and dairy, macadamias and local meats. And one of the best ways to experience the region’s produce is on board the Mary Valley Rattler. The Rattler launched its “Tasting Train” in 2019, taking guests on a scenic journey of gastronomy through the Mary Valley on board their vintage railmotor RM76. The menu highlights the region’s produce, and includes a tasting plate on board followed by lunch at the historic Gympie Station. The Tasting Train is currently operating from Gympie to Amamoor stations.
Get hands-on with local produce at a cooking school
With an abundance of fresh local produce available, it’s little wonder the Sunshine Coast is home to a number of leading cooking schools. Set among lush tropical gardens in the hinterland town of Yandina is Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School, where the focus on Asian cuisine makes them one of Australia’s best food experiences. The cooking school offers classes such as “Feast From the East” and “Quick and Easy Thai – With a Twist”, with local ingredients such as finger limes on the menu.
Enjoy canapes with camels on an organic dairy farm
Set against the iconic Glass House Mountains on the southern end of the Sunshine Coast is Australia’s premium supplier of certified organic camel milk – QCamel. The family-run dairy invites foodies behind the scenes on their farmgate “Camel Cuddles” tour that includes sampling camel milk products. Together with local producers, the QCamel team offers creamy camel milk feta, camel milk chocolates and smoothies, as well as camel milk itself, which has a number of health benefits. The tour also invites you to meet the camels, who are more than willing to pose for a selfie and lean in for a camel cuddle. Camel tours can be done direct through QCamel or including transfers with Design It Tours.
Sail into the sunset on a Mooloolaba seafood cruise
Mooloolaba is the biggest swordfish port in Australia. It’s also one of the busiest ports on the eastern seaboard; trawlers bring in boatloads of fish, tuna, Mooloolaba prawns, lobsters and spanner crabs each day. Mooloolaba Spit is dotted with fish-and-chipperies, making it the perfect destination for a picnic, while the nearby Mooloolaba Wharf is home to a number of bustling eateries. For a truly unique experience, take to the water at sunset with Coastal Cruises Mooloolaba for a seafood dining experience like no other. Enjoy a fresh local seafood platter – glass of wine in hand – as you cruise along the river.
For more information go to visitsunshinecoast.com. Visit Sunshine Coast recommends checking with operators about opening times and terms and conditions. It’s also a good idea to book ahead due to limited capacities.