Tasting your way along the Cassowary Coast’s bountiful tropical food trail will satisfy any food lovers appetite. From orchards laden with exotic fruits to seafood buffets on tropical islands, you’ll be making all sorts of stops along the way. So pack your hampers and make room in your car boot, we’re taking you foraging!
Broken Nose Vanilla
A fragrant vineyard of sorts (who knew vanilla grows on vines) nestled amidst the forest fringe of Queensland’s highest mountain, Mount Bartle Frere, Broken Nose Vanilla is a small batch producer of bourbon vanilla. After being pollinated by hand, nurtured with plenty of sweet tropical rain and harvested between August and September, irresistible pure vanilla is produced. Stop in at the farm gate anytime to load up on vanilla pods, paste and essence, but make sure to try (and buy) the most delicious caramelised vanilla balsamic you might even taste (and smell).
Great Barrier Reef Safaris
The crew from Great Barrier Reef Safaris know all the best places to drop you off for a sumptuous private picnic or overnight camping adventure on the necklace of deserted islands dotting the coast off Mission Beach. At the helm, Captain Stuart navigates your private charter into hidden coves and calm bays to snorkel and swim, while co-captain and Marine Biologist Dr Adele will guide you over fringing island reefs explaining all the corals and marine life that call these waters home.
Afterwards, be whisked across sapphire seas to your own private island to indulge in a seafood lunch served with your toes tickled by the sea. You can chose to make a night (or more) of it by camping out on the island. All gear is provided (snorkelling gear, stinger suits, tents, bedding and pre-arranged supplies) and they will even put up your tent – so you can spend your time kayaking, beach-combing or basking on beaches imprinted by your footprints only.
While exploring the Cassowary Coast, pop in and discover what locals and visitors call “the best fish and chips in the north”. Innisfail Seafood’s sustainable seafood arrives fresh each day from local fishos whose commitment to the surrounding seas delivers wild, line-caught fish plus a smorgasbord of local seafood delights including prawns, bugs, squid and crabs. Sit out front if you want to tuck in right away, or take a walk around the back where you’ll find boats bobbing on the North Johnstone River that add the perfect view for devouring delicious seafood.
Fruit Forest Farm
Take a 2-hour tropical fruit tasting tour by tractor at Fruit Forest Farm in East Feluga to see how a microclimate working within a rainforest produces some of the most exotic fruit on the planet. With over 150 varieties of tropical fruit grown, a farm tour will give you an appreciation for this niche industry, but also a chance to taste fruits you may never have even heard of before. From the giant bean like ice-cream fruit (and yes, it tastes exactly like ice-cream), to creamy caramel abiu and rollina – that tastes similar to a lemon meringue pie. The farm offers custom tours only, but it is worth rounding up some mates to share the cost, as up to 20 people can be seated in the tractor trailer, to see one of the best working tropical fruit farms in Australia.
Murdering Point Winery
If all that eating is making you thirsty, drop into the uniquely Tropical North Queensland cellar door at Murdering Point Winery to sample some fruit wine. You will have to nominate a designated driver, as the wine is alcoholic, but you can always take some home to taste too. Tropical fruits and some native bush tucker makes not only delicious wine, but also port, liquors and delicious creams too. Try banana, mango, lychee, passionfruit and pineapple or go even more exotic with jaboticaba, black sapote (chocolate pudding fruit) or davidson plum. A great gift idea for someone special.
Oliveri’s is an Innisfail icon, so don’t be fooled by its humble street side aesthetic, as once inside you won’t know where to look first with gourmet eats, antipasti and treats filling cabinets and shelves. Cheese is at its finest at Oliveri’s, so speak up to ask for some advice to find out what cheese pleases your palette. If you really can’t decide, pre-order one of Oliveri’s platters in advance to take-away, but be sure to add also add a coffee, as locals claim the barista here makes one of the Cassowary Coast’s best brews.
Did someone say Chocolate? Charley’s Chocolate in El Arish offers a true plant to palette experience where you follow the journey of chocolate from a seed, right through to tasting rooms where you can sample it for yourself. Single-origin 70% cocoa is blended with the best tropical fruits and nuts to make mouthwatering artisan dark and milk award-winning confectionary. Try Davidson plum dusted dark chocolate for something devilishly delicious, or milk chocolate dusted in lemon myrtle for a zesty zing. Factory tours (including tastings) run every Thursday and Sunday at 10.30 am with bookings essential.
Nutrinana Banana Farm
The most famous fruit in Tropical North Queensland is undeniably the banana, with as much as 94% of Australia’s supply grown on farms dotting the Cassowary Coast. To find out the inside story on bananas, join a guided tour at Nutrinana where everything from sustainable propagating, producing and packing the best bunches is revealed.
Fun banana fact to take home to the grandkids – Innisfail’s Feast of the Senses Festival holds the Guinness Book of Records title for the worlds longest banana split. The record was set in 2017 and included 40,000 bananas, 2,500 litres of ice cream and and incredible 2,000 litres of topping.