In 2008, I was fortunate enough to visit Australia for three weeks with my family. My parents have lived in Australia several times due to my Dad’s work and I even lived in the Sydney suburbs until I was five however, my memories of Oz were very sketchy and mainly revolved around stories of my childhood retold to me by my parents.
Our first stop was Melbourne. I loved this city! It was so vibrant, so full of character and individuality. I was only sad that we weren’t able to stay longer due to our flights being delayed on the way out. Our first night in Melbourne was spent having a typical Aussie BBQ with old friends whilst our second day was spent exploring the city.
There are many great foodie places in Melbourne. Firstly, a trip to Queen Victoria Market is a must. It was officially designated as a market in 1873 and is absolutely massive. You can get almost anything from this market; it is so vibrant and features cuisines from around the globe. There are also market tours and night markets for the more fanatic foodies amongst us!
Another great place to visit in Melbourne is Degraves Street. This is a bustling alley way very close to Federation Square and Flinders Street Station which features lots of cafes and foodie havens. There are lots of tables out in the street and it is the perfect place to grab brunch or a quick bite to eat or to sit and relax over a coffee and people watch. One thing I did notice whilst visiting Australia is that coffee shops are extremely popular and almost always churn out excellent quality coffees and pastries. Try one at Degraves Coffee Bar; you will not be disappointed!
On to Canberra. I had a lovely time here catching up with family friends and old school friends and had the opportunity to explore the city taking in some of the attractions such as the Australian war memorial, Lake Burley Griffin and the national gallery. I also went for ice cream with friends at Koko Blacks. If you adore chocolate, like so many of us do, this place is like heaven. Not only is it a chocolate shop, it is also a cafe serving some of the most delicious beverages and ice creams around. I had a chocolate martini…delicious!!
Next stop, the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. For any wine lover, a day or two in the Hunter Valley is paradise. The Hunter Valley is arguably the birthplace of Australian wine and is famous for the production of Semillon, Shiraz, chardonnay and Verdelho. My family and I spent the day dropping in various shops tasting olives, balsamics and cheeses; we even managed a little wine tasting!
We went to the visitors center to enquire about accommodation and ended up staying at Tuscany. This hotel was fantastic; it overlooks McGuigan‘s vineyard and features on site restaurant and bar. Whilst having a glass of wine in my room that night I could see kangaroos in the dusk by the lake – beautiful. We ate at the on site bar which was a very chilled out affair where we selected and cooked our own steaks. The food was delicious and the wine even more so. A really memorable and fun-filled evening with the family.
After a stay at the beach outside Coffs Harbour which featured lots of BBQs featuring steak and delicious kangaroo, we finished our Australian holiday in Sydney. There were so many wonderful foodie places to visit in Sydney, I couldn’t possibly list them all however, I will tell you about my four favourites!
We were lucky enough to be staying on Circular Quay so, for our first night in Sydney it seemed only right to visit somewhere with a view of the magnificent bridge and the Opera House. The logical choice was therefore the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar.
This place may be a little overpriced but the oysters were delicious and you really cannot beat the view! The building itself dates back to 1908 and was originally constructed as part of the wharf facilities. The restaurant does get very busy as there is not a huge amount of seating so I would suggest making a reservation if possible.
Another fab foodie place is the Sydney Fish market. This place was amazing and I don’t think I have ever seen such a large and well stocked fish market before! We spent quite some time wandering around just gawking at all that was on offer.
We decided to have a spot of lunch here and ordered a fish platter that was meant for two. As you can see, it was gigantic and easily fed the three of us with plenty to spare – it was also really quite cheap. A lot of the fish was fried which probably wouldn’t have been our first choice but it was delicious! Scallops, squid, oysters, prawns and tons more….even the seagulls were interested in having a bite!
Another great find was the Australia Hotel in the Rocks. Although this place is up a big steep hill, it is worth a visit. It is a traditional Australian pub that brews its own beer and serves the tastiest, most unusual pizzas – we tried kangaroo and crocodile! It has won many awards over the years so is evidently very popular with tourists and locals alike.
Last but not least, on one of the last days of our holiday and as a treat for Mother’s Day, we visited Doyles at Watson’s Bay, Sydney. This place is a bit of an institution in Sydney and has three locations across the city. The Watson’s Bay location was the first branch and has been there since 1885!! Obviously to have lasted in business so long Doyle’s is doing something right. The service was superb and the seafood was fantastic – so meaty and flavourful. The meal was also a lot more reasonable than we thought; we ordered a seafood platter and we thought the price listed was per person however, it was for the entire platter which easily fed the three of us! The atmosphere at Doyle’s really was wonderful and made for a very special day at the end of a fantastic and memorable holiday.