Discover the taste of the tropics with a series of food and wine festivals in Tropical North Queensland during October. Enjoying the delicacies of Tropical North Queensland doesn’t have to end there. Post-event, continue tasting your way through the tropics. From food tours, to seeing where local produce is sourced, the region has a plethora of experiences where you can eat until your heart is content.
Taste Port Douglas, 7-10 October
After its four-year hiatus, foodies across Australia will have cutlery at the ready as Taste Port Douglas marks its highly anticipated return to Tropical North Queensland. The festival will welcome some of Australia’s most inspiring chefs and industry leaders to deliver an unforgettable culinary experience.
Cairns Food & Wine Festival, 8-9 October
A new foodie event to Tropical North Queensland, Cairns Food & Wine Festival is the perfect showcase of the local food and beverages produced in the region. Enjoy a wide range of food from some of Cairns’ most popular restaurants and food vendors in the surreal settings of Munro Martin Parklands.
Salt House Food & Wine Festival, 12-17 October
Across a week of festivities, celebrate fresh produce, bold flavours, local wine, spirits and craft beer at the Salt House Food & Wine Festival. Meet the talented tastemakers behind some of your favourite brands, take part in a cocktail masterclass or simply enjoy the good vibes of one of the live music gigs.
Taste the tropic’s tipples
You’ll be howling for your friends to come down to Abbott St once you’ve discovered Wolf Lane Distillery and small bar, Three Wolves, which both serve up speciality whisky and house-made gin. Slip into Three Wolves for tapas and craft cocktails in an intimate setting or visit Wolf Lane Distillery to meet the makers and taste test the tropics with spirits infused with mango, grapefruit, finger lime and Davidson plum.
With two locations, situated in Port Douglas and Cairns, sit back with a beer in hand at Hemingway’s Brewery. Hemingway’s prides itself on its handcrafted beers and food sourced from fresh, local produce. The easy-drinking Hemingway’s 7th Heaven Tropical Ale, with its bright finish and pineapple and citrus aromas, is a great place to start.
Why settle for visiting one brewery when you can make a day out of it with Cairns Brewery Tours? Discover that beer tastes better when you know how it was made with their half-day brewery tour, covering a handful of breweries, distilleries and local haunts in the Cairns CBD and surrounds.
Try something new and taste mango wine at an orchard. Originally a tobacco plantation that diversified to the fruit that nurtures, Golden Drop Winery was the first commercial mango winery in the world. These days they’re cultivating luscious Kensington red mangoes to produce still and sparkling wines.
Head on a food tour
Visit a dairy specialising in cheese and chocolate, try seasonal produce and nuts and visit an award-winning distillery set on a banana plantation with Brett’s Outback Tasting Adventures. This tour of the Atherton Tablelands starts in Kuranda with a breakfast of local fruits, yoghurt, coffee and wattle seed damper.
Discover the flavours of Tropical North Queensland on a full day Cairns Tablelands Tasting Tour. On this boutique, guided tour, explore the Atherton Tablelands, see the contrasting landscape and taste native, tropical fruits, organic wines, small batch spirits, high-altitude Tablelands coffee, dairy product and craft beer.
Head to Port Douglas and experience Port on a Plate, a new concept food tour. Spend the morning visiting local farms with your personal guide and chef. Sample and collect produce and enjoy a three course lunch featuring the farm’s ingredients.
Prefer to do some independent food touring? Taste your way through the Daintree Food Trail with a downloadable map highlighting the delicious and diverse local produce, farm gates and food experiences from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation.
Indulge in local produce
If you thought the colours of the landscape up here were bright and bold, wait until you see the region’s local produce at Rusty’s Markets. Operating for more than 30 years, packing over 180 stalls into one city block, Rusty’s has everything from sarongs to Vietnamese coffee. Fresh produce is the star attraction here, drawing some of Tropical North Queensland’s most acclaimed chefs to collect their supplies.
Serving up aromatic Australian Arabica Coffee as well as bananas and papayas plucked straight from the farm, Skybury Coffee is Australia’s oldest coffee plantation. Linger over lunch or take home your preferred blend coffee capsules which are compatible with Nespresso machines.
Chocolate and cheese are life’s best indulgences, so a stop into Gallo Dairyland in the Atherton Tablelands is a must for those who love a treat. Taste the finest, hand-crafted chocolates and visit the Cheese Factory to see the ins and outs of cheese making. Don’t forget to stay on for lunch, morning or afternoon tea at the dairy farm café.
Cape Trib Farm has been pioneering tropical and exotic fruits in Australia for the past 40 years and grows nearly 80 different varieties of fruit. Take one of their guided farm tours to take a deep dive into the world of tropical fruits and hear about regenerative farming principles. Send the taste buds around the world with samples of the rich and moreish chocolate pudding fruit to crunchy breadfruit chips and zingy carambola.
Cool off with a scoop (or two) of tropical ice cream from the Daintree Ice Cream Co. Set amongst an organic fruit orchard, here you’ll be able to taste the true flavours of the rainforest such as mangosteen, mamey sapote and the native Davidson plum. With a tree to cup philosophy, only fruit grown on the property is used alongside local milk from Mungalli Creek Dairy to create award-winning, artisan ice cream, gelato and sorbet. It might just be the most scenic cup of ice cream you will ever have!
Get your caffeine fix at Coffee Works in Mareeba while learning about growing, roasting, savouring, trading and drinking the enticingly pungent brew we can’t seem to get enough of. The boutique family business has been dedicated to bringing coffee to the region for the past 30 years and can be found in several locations such as Cairns, Port Douglas and Rusty’s Markets.
One of Australia’s best-loved tea brands, Nerada Tea plantation’s tendrils reach as far back as the 1880s. Pop in for a factory tour before lingering over Devonshire tea and keep an eye out for the resident Lumholtz’s tree kangaroos.
Head to Charley’s Chocolate at Mission Beach to see how the farm’s cacao is transformed into chocolate on a tour or call ahead for an appointment at the Broken Nose Vanilla farm gate shop in Mirriwinni for the heady scent of vanilla on its own or in the likes of caramelised balsamic vinegar.
The iconic barramundi is at the top of every fisherman’s bucket list. Enter Hook-A-Barra-a land-based fishing experience where you can catch and release these famous fighting fish year-round. The new Gourmet Farm Tour shows how barramundi go from fingerlings to finger food and includes a Daintree Saltwater Barramundi Tasting Plate.
Nestled in the heart of the Atherton Tablelands, Rainforest Bounty puts their passion for regenerative agriculture to work crafting a range of gourmet sauces, chutneys, curry bases, vinegar, syrups, conserve and fruit paste that feature native fruits of the forest.