Discover the best places to eat in Bundaberg offering a paddock to plate dining experience where fresh and local are taken for granted.
This is a place where the beans were picked yesterday, the prawns landed that morning and the potato farmer is sitting on the next table quietly proud that you’ve ordered his spuds.
Just 20 years ago, the farms around Bundaberg North Burnett in Queensland were filled with sugarcane. Now it’s vegetable production on a huge scale with tree crops such as macadamia and avocado cutting a large swathe through the countryside.
This is where most of Australia’s sweet potatoes, ginger and snow peas come from and within ten years it will be the nation’s largest producer of macadamias. The scale of production means most of the produce goes directly into the wholesale market through our biggest supermarket stores. In the past, this has ensured the grower’s livelihood but farms are more than just business. By nature, farmers pour their heart into their farms and sustain their soul by creating the very stuff we love to eat.
The wide Burnett River snakes its way through the city and allows fishing boats to dump their catch of local crabs, prawns, oysters, scallops and fish right in the heart of town turning it into seafood central.
Here are my top eight food finds for the Bundaberg region.
Cafes in Bundaberg
Start your food experience at Indulge Café in Bundy’s main street, an eatery that wouldn’t be out of place in a Melbourne laneway. Strong links with local farmers mean they turn up at the café’s back door with armfuls of freshly picked produce, resulting in an amazing variety of seasonal dishes from the kitchen. Saturday morning breakfast at Indulge Café in Bourbong Street is a local institution so be sure to book. Indulge opens from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday and from 7.30 am to lunch on Saturday.
Water Street Kitchen is located in suburban Bundaberg, just out of the city centre. It’s a place where luscious floral wallpaper and French-style wooden chairs complement an innovative and seasonal menu. It’s a visual delight but your tastebuds won’t be neglected here either. Do try their charcoal latte and leave with a bag of their house brand muesli.
Paul and Beryl Grunske serve up seafood straight from the trawler to the table at their restaurant on the bank of the Burnett River at Grunske’s Seafood Market. You can see the boats pull up from the dining tables on the large deck while you are tucking into local scallops and bugs or feasting on a plump mud crab. Take your pick from the impressive range of fresh seafood for sale and top up with local products as well. Grunske’s By The River is open seven days from 7am to 8pm.
The Bundy Chop Shop in North Bundaberg is the place to go for smoky bacon and the tender slices of smoked duck breast owner Rick Elliott’s calls duck ham. You’ll also enjoy duck ham on the menu at Indulge Café. The Chop Shop at 68 Mt Perry Road, North Bundaberg is open seven days.
4. Organic food in Bundaberg
If you are looking for an organic, gluten free, dairy free or sugar-free meal then try Nourish Café where Judy Plath thrives on the challenge of creating healthy food that also packs a flavour punch.
5. Farm fresh strawberries
For that real strawberry taste head to SSS Strawberries where there are more than 1.6 million plants pumping out ridiculously red, sweet strawberries for the Dang family. In just seven years the family has gone from $2.1 million in debt to be the biggest strawberry grower from Gympie to Cairns employing more than 230 people annually. They supply strawberries nationally but at the farm, you can buy fully ripe, sweet berries that are ready to eat, pick your own or take home a jar of strawberry jam from the Strawberry Shop. Pick your own strawberries at SSS Strawberries from May to November seven days a week from 7 am to 5 pm.
6. Local produce
Nana’s Pantry is the place to purchase Anthony Rehbein’s Bunda Ginga, Emilia and Gino Troiani ’s home-made pasta and almond bread, Claxton Olives, chocolate coated treats from Macadamias Australia, avocados from Australia’s largest single avocado orchard and gourmet Tinaberries Camarosa strawberries.
7. Farm gate fresh
Not everything makes it to a shop as farm gate stalls are plentiful. Keep a lookout on Elliott Heads Boolongie, and Rosedale Roads but do stop at Jim and Vicki Cini’s stall at 1273 Moore Park Road.
8. Bundaberg Rum
You also wouldn’t want to miss visiting the brand that brought Bundaberg to national attention, Bundaberg Rum. Tours of the Bondstore include tastings and the chance to buy lines that are only sold from the cellar door.
Bundaberg is approximately four hour’s drive north of Brisbane on the Bruce Highway or a 45-minute flight.
Find out more by visiting Bundaberg Region
While you are in the region stay at the beachside bliss of Bargara and don’t miss all the turtle action at Mon Repos.
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Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled with the support of Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism.