Are you the type of person who’s always dreaming of what’s for dinner? Or lunch? Or brunch? Or snacks? Or dessert? Ooh, did we just pass a microbrewery? Okay, okay…we might have got a little distracted there.
The bottom line is, if you love your food and drink then these road trips are going to seriously whet your appetite.
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Craft beers, Australian-made wines, cheese factories, farmers markets, coffee shops, fresh seafood, wood-fired pizzas, gin and whisky distilleries. The. List. Goes. On.
Feeling fancy? The Food Lover’s Loop is perfect, with fine dining and plenty of vineyards and cellar doors to keep even the most demanding road trippers happy.
Can’t choose between the mountains or the sea? Well, you don’t have to thanks to the Coast and Country Highlife itinerary that includes everything from fresh oysters and award-winning wines to laid back bakeries and beers.
Chilled out microbreweries after a day of exhilarating adventures more your thing? We’ve got that covered too with the Riverina to Snowy Valleys Way which traverses right through the ‘food bowl of Australia’.
If you’re already dribbling then wait no longer. All you need is a car, some cash, an empty esky, and an appetite that will never be defeated. We’ll see you on the road.
1. Coast and Country Highlife
This five day Coast and Country Highlife route is a foodies heaven. Think I-wanna-drink-it-all wineries, five-star dining, sumptuous seafood and the freshest farmers’ markets.
Starting in Sydney, spend five days looping through the countryside and then heading back to the city via the coast. There’s plenty of adventure opportunities along the way too, so you can burn some calories and make room for a few more culinary treats.
Explore the vines, Centennial Vineyards
Snorkelling at Jervis Bay
First up, it’s picture-perfect Bowral, which during autumn is one of the best places in NSW to see the changing leaves.
But we ain’t here for the leaves, we hear you cry. Where’s the food at? Your luck is in; grab a selection of mouth-watering pastries from Gumnut Patisserie to make the trip all the more sweet.
The drive from Bowral to Goulburn crosses the Southern Highlands and takes in various national parks and waterfalls where you can work up a sweat if you feel like it. Camp in Belanglo State Forest, take a hike in Bungonia National Park, or get your photo taken with the Big Merino (that’s a giant sheep for those not in the know).
Back to the food though. Swing by Turalla Truffle Tours in Bungendore to join a truffle hunt and cooking lesson. Or stop by the working farm Wynlen House which is dedicated to sustainable food production.
Now, it’s time to say goodbye to the mountains and hello to the coast. You’ll drive through towering rainforest and land on the shores of magical Batemans Bay, famous for its oysters.
The next few days is a sumptuous, sensational smorgasbord of delectable culinary delights (you gotta love some alliteration to make the mouth water). From the Oyster Shack on Wray Street in Batemans Bay to the old reliable, Hayden’s Pies in Ulladulla, you better hope you packed your stretchy pants.
Although eating is the name of the game, there’s plenty to do between bites too. Think whale watching tours, epic surf breaks, scenic hikes, and beach-side camping. We reckon this stretch of coast could keep you busy forever.
Murray Beach, Jervis Bay
Eventually, though, home will come a ‘callin, but not before you head inland for the final stop of the Coast and Country Highlife road trip, Robertson.
Located on the edge of the Southern Highlands plateau, Robertson lives and breathes good food. Our pick of the bunch is the Robertson Cheese Factory, where you’ll leave with a belly full of tasty treats and a head full of unforgettable memories. Now that’s what we call a road trip.
2. Food Lover’s Loop
If you love food and not having to retrace your steps, then the Food Lover’s Loop is for you. Stretching over four days, this road trip starts in the Hawkesbury where you’ll find farm trails and orchards, before heading to the Blue Mountains where you can drink in the mind-blowing scenery before gulping down the award-winning whiskies and wines.
From the quaint cafes of Katoomba to the family-owned Jannei Goat Dairy in Lithgow, the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains will keep everyone’s taste buds happy. And, with lookouts, hikes, waterfalls and adventures-a-plenty you’ll definitely have earned some overindulging in your next stop – Mudgee.
On the banks of the beautiful Cudegong River, Mudgee is one of NSW’s most well-known wine regions. Visit one of the myriad cellar doors, slap on your Sunday best and enjoy fine dining at the Robert Stein Vineyard and Pipeclay Pumphouse, or relax with a pizza and beer at Mudgee Brewing Co.
If you fancy something a little different, head to the gold rush village of Rylstone to try 29 Nine 99, an authentic yum cha and tea house with more than 30 types of dumplings, steamed buns, and desserts.
Fill your belly at 29 Nine 99 Yum Cha and Tea House in Rylstone
But leave room for wine and cheese at Logan Wines
Take some extra time to explore this incredible region with a drive to nearby Wollemi National Park, home to scenic canyons and rivers.
Still thirsty? Hell yeah, you are. And a good thing too, because it’s time for some more wine in NSW’s oldest winemaking region, the Hunter. The Upper Hunter and Hunter Valley have been producing wine since the 1800s, making it the perfect place to park up and let your hair down for a few days.
Seriously, the wine here is so good you might not ever want to leave. We’d definitely recommend Audrey Wilkinson – they’ve been making wine in the Hunter since 1866. If you want a place to lay your head for the night, you can’t beat Madigan Wine Country Cottages.
Alas, all drink and no food is no good for anyone. Luckily there’s plenty of decent grub to soak up the grapey goodness. Our pick of the bunch is the Pukara Estate Pokolbin olive tree plantations.
If you’re not tired (or full) yet, then the Food Lover’s Loop has one more surprise up its sleeve – a hot air balloon ride over the rolling Hunter hills. Complete with breakfast and a glass of fizz, naturally.
Hot air ballooning over the Hunter Valley
3. Riverina to Snowy Valleys Way
The Riverina to Snowy Valleys road trip is packed to the Akubra brim with the best of Aussie food and wine. In fact, on this 400km odyssey, you’ll be driving through what’s known as ‘the food bowl of Australia’. Our stomachs are growling just at the thought.
To conquer this daddy of all foodie road trips, you’ll need three days, an empty stomach, a ravenous appetite and a taste for adventure. Got it? Let’s go.
Your journey starts in the vibrant town of Griffith in the Riverina region. With a rich Italian heritage, Griffith has more vineyards, orchards, and Italian restaurants than you’ve had hot dinners.
Calabria Family Wines, Griffith
If you fancy holding off on the vino until after lunch, be sure to check out the tree-lined main street, Banna Avenue, for an Italian coffee and cannoli at Bertoldo’s Pasticceria.
Just down the road is the art deco town of Leeton where more wine awaits. If you fancy a change in drink though, you’re in luck – a visit to Whitton Malt House is a must. You’ll find out all about the ‘paddock to pint’ process and still have time to stock up the esky with some cold brews, Leeton’s own whisky distillery, and home-baked goods.
Later in the trip, you’ll find scrumptious cheese at the Coolamon Cheese Factory, and have the chance to pick your own strawberries at Bidgee Strawberries and Cream.
You’ll not only find all the food your stomach desires but all the adventures your itchy feet are craving too. Narrandera Nature Reserve – AKA Koala Reserve – is home to over 200 koalas and you’ve gotta make time to play Australia’s largest playable guitar (strange but true) when in town. Oh and Yarrangobilly Caves and Thermal Pool are a must-visit when in the Snowy Valleys.
Take a dip at Yarrongobilly Thermal Pool
After all that hard work, what better way to celebrate than with a few (okay, a lot) of cold beer. Luckily, the Riverina to Snowy Valleys route has no shortage of micro-breweries. Try Wagga Wagga’s brewpub Thirsty Crow Brewery or Tumut River Brewing Co for gourmet pizzas and craft beer.
The Riverina to Snowy Valleys route ends in mountain-clad Tumbarumba where yet more wineries, cycling, hiking, and cold cider is ready to bid you farewell. For now at least, because we have a feeling you’ll be back.
For more epic NSW road trip ideas head to the Visit NSW website!