Top food trail destinations in Australia: Road trips to pack your esky

Fridge magnets are fine, but the best souvenirs are those you put inside your fridge. The wonderful thing about domestic travel is you can bring back regional produce to savour long after your holiday is over.

Producers are banding together to attract tourists with new and innovative food and wine trails. And the Empty Esky movement has proved stocking up while on a road trip can be a win-win for travellers’ tastebuds and for regions doing it tough.

After the movement was set up to help bushfire-affected communities in early 2020, pandemic times have seen its mission extended, with the plea in 2022 that “regional towns need your support now more than ever”.

With a population of about 600, Milawa is a tiny dot on a map but when it comes to food and wine it’s huge. About 2.5 hours from Melbourne in Victoria’s High Country, Australia’s first gourmet region is home to an astonishing array of tasty goods. The best way to experience Milawa’s many gourmet delights is by bike, but don’t worry – this bike trail is perfect for those more committed to cheese wheels than two wheels. You can ride Milawa’s leisurely Pedal to Produce trail in as little as an hour – but allow a full day for many mouth-watering stops, including Milawa Cheese Company, Milawa Mustards and Brown Brothers Winery.

Coriole Vineyards at McLaren Vale
Coriole Vineyards at McLaren Vale, Picture: Isaac Forman

It’s called the Shiraz Trail, so no prizes for guessing the main attraction on the 8km walking/cycling path between Willunga and McLaren Vale. Besides the top-notch cellar doors and vineyard views, the towns serve up treats that include almonds, olives and oils, Blessed Cheese’s dairy produce and relishes, and Four Winds Chocolate and pastries. For the ultimate food affair, visit on Saturday for the Willunga markets in the town square.

Lockyer Valley, Qld

Schulte's Fresh Gourmet Market
Schulte’s Fresh Gourmet Market, Picture: Katie Purling

Known as “Australia’s Salad Bowl”, the Lockyer Valley is a go-to zone for country-fresh produce. Starting at Plainland, an hour from Brisbane, the Graze and Gather Lockyer Valley Food Trail takes road-trippers on a 140km, seven-stop circuit. Head to Schulte’s Fresh Gourmet Market for its famous mettwurst and specialty bacon, Holmwood Produce Lavender Farm for lavender cakes and scones, Australian Organic Farmers for fresh vegies, and Awassi Cheesery for sheep’s cheese.

Great Lakes Paddocks, Wootton
Great Lakes Paddocks, Wootton. Picture: Destination NSW

A new kid on the block when it comes to food trails is the Barrington Coast region, about three hours north of Sydney, where producers and growers have formed the Great Lakes Food Trail. A self-drive tour leads to Bulahdelah’s Yeo Farm for organic lamb, Wootton’s Great Lakes Paddocks for wine and Angus beef, and Palms Artisan Bakery for sourdough and other treats, before a cold one at The Coastal Brewing Company in Forster.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author

Ozzie

Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.

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