Food experiences across Australia
Unleash your hunter-gatherer instinct with a do-it-yourself food adventure in Australia
Red Feather Inn Cooking School, Hadspen, TAS
Unleash your hunter-gatherer instinct with a do-it-yourself food adventure in Australia. Design a wine in the famed Barossa Valley or hook a big barramundi on a day’s fishing in the wild, remote north. There are truffles to hunt in Canberra, mudcrabbing in Queensland, coffees to pour in Melbourne and once you learn the indigenous Australians’ secrets of finding bush tucker, you’ll never starve. If you’re not sure how to put it all together, go with the pros and sign up to a cooking school, where they’ll teach you the tricks of the trade to create the perfect Aussie feast, with food and wine matching. Savour the flavour of Australia.
Wine blending in South Australia
Step into the home of Australia’s most prestigious wine, Penfolds Grange Shiraz. Think you can match it? Roll up the shirtsleeves and make your own red wine blend using Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre grapes, a great souvenir to take home with you. Tours run daily at Penfolds' historic Barossa Valley cellar door in Nuriootpa, one and a half hours’ drive north of Adelaide amidst rolling farmlands and vineyards. While you’re there, be sure to taste Penfolds’ extensive range, from the famed Grange to its everyday drinking range of reds and whites.
Barramundi fishing in Western Australia
High on the Western Australian coastline, the Kimberley Coastal Camp is a tiny cluster of ecologically sustainable bures reached only by helicopter or boat. Visitors are lured by ancient Aboriginal rock art, birdwatching and the mighty barramundi – ‘barra’ if you’re talking to a local. You can fish barra all year round up here, though they’re more active in the warmer months of April and May, and again in August. The camp’s experienced fishing guides will kit you out with quality equipment and teach you the tricks of thinking like a barra to make the catch.
Truffle Hunting in Australian Capital Territory
French Black Truffles, Canberra, ACT
Rug up for a wintery morning in an oak forest on the outskirts of Canberra, and you’ll be rewarded with the jewels of the kitchen: truffles. Snuffle the truffle dog and owners Sherry and Gavin McArdle-English will teach you how to hunt and handle French black truffles that will make their way to market and be served in Australia’s best restaurants. The hunt ends in the warm truffle shed with a weight-guessing competition and truffle crème brulee. Truffle hunts run in winter, from June to August.
Mudcrabbing in Queensland
So you love crab? Learn to wrangle them on a two-and-a-half-hour cruise down the Tweed River, about 10 minutes south of Queensland’s Gold Coast. The daily tours let you trap live crabs, hauling crab pots and tieing them up for a great photo op. You can also hand-feed massive, ever-hungry pelicans and throw a hopeful fishing line in the river. They’ll supply the gear, you bring the luck.
Finding bush tucker in the Northern Territory
Go on safari in one of the world’s great wildernesses to find turtles and snakes, gather fruits and yams and celebrate with a bush feast around the campfire. An open safari truck takes you through Kakadu National Park, three hours’ drive from Darwin in the Northern Territory. Meet Kakadu’s Aboriginal community, learn about their languages, bush lore and their “dreamings” and witness birds massing at the Gindjala wetland. You’ll finish at sunset with a cup of billy tea, hot damper (bread cooked in the fire’s embers) and the results of your day’s hunting and gathering.
Game fishing in New South Wales
Get your Hemingway on and chase the big fish of the deep blue sea in the rich waters off the south coast of New South Wales. There’s mighty marlin to lure as well as yellow fin, albacore and striped tuna. You may spot some powerful broadbill swordfish and sharks, and while they’re not for anglers, majestic Humpback whales use this corridor on their annual journey to and from Antarctica. Keep your eyes open for seals, sea eagles and penguins, too. Freedom Charters supply all equipment and you can catch and release, or capture your haul. Eden’s thrilling game fishing season runs from November till July.
Making coffee in Victoria
Sensory Lab, Melbourne, VIC
Nobody drinks coffee like Melburnians drink, and its fabulous café society just keeps evolving. If you love the bean and want to try this at home, Sensory Lab's 45-minute one-on-one barista classes will have you frothing, tamping, grinding and pouring like a pro. Start as a beginner, learning all the skills to flatter with your latte, or caress with your capuccino. Take it to the next level and get serious with milk texturing and making those pretty little hearts and ferns on the top of the cup or go into syphoning.
Cooking class in Tasmania
Red Feather Inn Cooking School, Haspen, TAS
Roll up your sleeves and cook Tasmania’s top produce, much of it sourced from the markets on the morning of your cooking class. The Red Feather has been serving patrons since 1842, when it was built as a coaching inn by convicts sent to “Van Diemen’s Land” from the United Kingdom. The beautiful sandstone buildings are just south of Launceston, Australia’s third oldest city. You’ll learn the secrets of perfect baking, smoking and curing meats and whatever the markets offer that day. And the best part? You get to eat the fabulous fruits of your labour (with a little help from a chef, of course).