Enjoying a delicious meal is one thing, enjoying it alongside spectacular scenery is quite another. A breathtaking backdrop can help turn your typical dining affair into a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Luckily, Australia is spoilt with beautiful outlooks playing host to countless restaurants and delicious gourmet events.
So, for the foodies of the group – that’s all of us, right? – we’ve tasted our way across the country to bring you our pick of ‘pinch me’ moment foodie events. These are the top ten dining experiences in Australia you need to put straight on your bucket list.
Quintessentially Sydney, dining at Quay is a Sydneysider (or Sydney visit) essential. Not only is this restaurant the most awarded in all of Australia, but it's also one of only two Australian restaurants to ever feature in the prestigious S Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
Peter Gilmore, the Executive Chef, describes the menu at Quay as “food inspired by nature”, with each dish intricately prepared and delicately balanced. And let’s not forget the view, which in itself is hard to beat, thanks to its scenic location offering front row seats of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.
6-course menu - $225 per person
10-course menu - $285 per person
Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks
What do you get when you combine a hot air balloon ride with a Champagne breakfast and overnight stay at a beautiful winery? An absolutely unforgettable experience, that’s what. And that's exactly what you'll get at Balgownie Estate winery in Victoria’s stunning Yarra Valley. Throughout this magical morning, you’ll float across the sky and over the top of the unique landscapes of Australia's most famous wine region, before finishing your journey with a delicious Champagne breakfast. You’ll literally be floating on cloud nine.
From $570 per person for a Queen room
Balgownie Estate, 1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, Victoria
Take date night up to ‘The Bachelor’ level by booking a private helicopter tour to a secluded sandy beach on the Great Barrier Reef. Setting off from Cairns, couples will be treated to postcard-worthy views over the iconic Great Barrier Reef, before landing on Vlasoff Cay — a private and pristine sand cay in the middle of the reef. Here you’ll be left for 2.5 hours where you can relax with a gourmet picnic hamper, picnic blanket and cushions, along with sparkling wine or beer. This package also comes with snorkelling gear and a beach umbrella, so everything is covered for your full enjoyment.
From $789 per person
Located just over a three hour’s drive from Sydney, Orange is home to Orange F.O.O.D Week — Australia’s longest running regional food festival. The annual food extravaganza is chock-full of delicious offerings and unique happenings, including everything from scenic forage experiences – where you’ll be taken on 4.1 kilometer stroll through some of Orange’s picturesque vineyards, all while being sustained on your stroll with a 9-course degustation menu of local wine and tasting plates – to Autumn grazing dinners serving bounteous culinary delights with a side of dancing.
And then there’s the famous F.O.O.D Week Night Market – a beautiful evening of great local food and wine, along with live music under the stars.
27th March – 5th April 2020
Various venues and locations across Orange
Located on the top floor of Eureka Tower in Southbank Melbourne, dining at Eureka 89 will literally make you feel on top of the world (or at the very least, on top of Melbourne). Sporting what is perhaps the best view in the city, there’s an option to enjoy a five or seven-course degustation menu, with seating for tables of two through to larger groups of up to 24. The restaurant suggests allowingd between 2.5 to 3.5 hours for this dining experience, but with views like this, it’s highly possible you won’t want to leave — ever.
5-course menu - $115 food only or $175 food & matching wines (per person)
7-course menu - $150 food only or $235 food & matching wines (per person)
Level 89, Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, Melbourne
Australians are known for their connection to the beach, so it comes as no surprise that a gourmet beach BBQ is one of the highlights of the year. Part of the ten-day Western Australia Gourmet Escape, guests will have the chance to feast, sip and party their way along the white sands of Margaret River. Not just known for its stunning coastal setting, but it also serves up amazing local produce — so much so that this event even attracts some of the biggest names in the culinary world, including Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal, and Curtis Stone.
Western Australia Gourmet Escape, 8th-17th November 2019
Full program coming soon
Located in the charming seaside town of Mollymook in NSW, just a short three-hour drive from Sydney, Rick Stein at Bannisters is a seafood lover’s paradise – it’s been serving up the finest fish and crustaceans for a decade, so you know you won’t leave disappointed.
This year incidentally marks the restaurant’s 10th anniversary, so to celebrate, guests are invited to join the beloved celebrity chef himself along with his wife Sarah, for a seafood spectacular, with two days of cocktails, canapés, live music, captivating travel tales, live cooking demos, book signings, and of course the chance to taste some of Rick’s most famous dishes. Choose from a two or three-night escape in one of their classic suites and let the relaxation and feasting commence.
Two-night packages (18th-20th August 2019) from $2,359
194 Mitchell Parade, Mollymook, NSW
There’s enjoying fresh oysters, and then there’s dining at an oyster farm shucking them straight from the ocean. This Tasmanian dining experience is offered exclusively to guests staying at the luxury hotel, Saffire Freycinet. Located in the calm waters of the Freycinet Peninsula, visitors will dine in a private table setting floating in the middle of the water, where they’ll learn about the region and how to shuck like a pro, all the while sampling the freshly caught ocean delights – a serving of fresh oysters and delicious steamed mussels.
$50 per person (not including accommodation costs)
2532 Coles Bay Rd, Coles Bay Tasmania
Once an intimate Parisian soirée, now a global culinary phenomenon, Le Dîner en Blanc’s annual food gathering is a spectacle of epic proportions. Each year, thousands of people gather together in secret city locations all over the world – the location is revealed on the day of the event – all dressed in white, to indulge in an extravagant picnic-style communal spread. Guests are invited to throw on their finest white threads and dine alfresco under the stars.
Food can be served, or you can BYO – the perfect excuse to pop the bubbly. And if previous years are anything to go by, you’ll be treated to front row seats at some of Sydney’s most iconic locations; past events have been held at the Opera House forecourt, on the sands of Bondi Beach, and Cockatoo Island.
2019 date and location TBC
$62 + $12.50 membership per person
Forming part of the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, the Uluru ‘Sounds of Silence’ will transport you into the outback for a magical four-hour dining experience underneath the stars. Start the evening with bubbles and canapés, followed by a three-course bush tucker-inspired buffet, all of which will be accompanied by a live Didgeridoo soundtrack playing softly in the background. Sit back and listen to the signs of the zodiac with a guided tour of the southern night sky, whilst the iconic sight of Uluru (Ayers Rock) sets the scene as your breathtaking backdrop. If this isn’t one for the foodie bucket list, we don’t know what is.
From $225 per adult