Taste of the tropics
Diversity and abundance make Tropical North Queensland unique as a food-producing region. Some of it is familiar but flag flyers for the tropics include mangoes, bananas and sweet, sun-ripened pineapples, reef fish and wild-caught prawns. Less well-known are the rainforest nuts, fruits and native spices that Aboriginal people gathered from this land for millennia, and today appear in local markets and on restaurant menus.
In the highlands of the Atherton Tablelands, you’ll find coffee and tea plantations and cattle farms, biodynamic dairies producing milk, cheese and yoghurt, aquaculture farms and distilleries. Grab a map and DIY a bespoke food trail, or join an organised food tour to talk and taste bush food with an Indigenous expert.
A wander around the markets at Yungaburra or Rusty’s Market in Cairns also offers the opportunity to see, smell and taste the tropical north. If you prefer your produce plated up rather than hunted and gathered, a melting pot of cultures and the region’s proximity to Asia ensure that Tropical North Queensland’s dining scene is a vibrant, multicultural smorgasbord – from Italian cafes to Balinese diners.
Other restaurants proudly showcase their local roots, with native Australian produce like kangaroo, emu and crocodile on the menu and some of the best seafood in the country, caught locally. With a profusion of experiences and produce, whatever your interests and appetite, you’re unlikely to ever go hungry up here.
Bring your appetite
Food trails, bush tucker and eating out in Tropical North Queensland.
Best waterfront bars in Tropical North Queensland
Beaches and bars are a match made in heaven – especially in the tropics, where any excuse to down a cool beverage is welcomed. Here are some of the coolest waterfront and beach bars Tropical North Queensland has to offer.
Seafood lovers’ guide to Cairns
As the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is teeming with an abundance of restaurants offering fresh, local catches and exceptional seafood. Find the stand-out seafood dishes in Cairns below.
It’s a locavore life
Flanked by the coral sea, the Gulf of Carpentaria and tropical rainforest, boasting vast differences in climate and altitude, Tropical North Queensland has arguably the greatest variety of fresh produce in Australia.
Flavour on the menu
From exotic fruits to craft beers, homegrown chocolate to spectacular seafood, Tropical North Queensland is a food lover’s paradise. Kerry Heaney takes a culinary tour.
Where to find the best small bars in Cairns
If big pubs aren’t your favourite venue, there are plenty of cosier options for a quiet drink in Tropical North Queensland.
14 Food trail highlights on the Atherton Tablelands
Foodies take a deep breath and prepare your tastebuds for tantalisation. Here’s fourteen fun ways to get your foodie fix on the Atherton Tablelands.
Celebrated Palm Cove chef Nick Holloway adores iconic Rusty’s Markets in Cairns. Kerry Heaney joined him for a tour of the stalls.
Explore, Eat & Drink
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