Beyond Bundaberg: Exploring the North Burnett food trail
Bundaberg might be known for its world-famous rum, chilled-out beaches and of course, turtles, but head west and you’ll find yourself in the land of farm stays, fruit picking and a splash of wine tasting.
A cluster of cute country villages, the North Burnett region is around four hours drive north of Brisbane and one hour west of Bundaberg, where cattle farmland and orchards bursting with avocado and lychee trees line Australia’s Country Way – the A3 highway.
Paddock-to-plate is the name of the game here with local cafes serving up bacon from local piggeries, roadside honesty stalls displaying the region’s citrus bounty, and ice-creams churned with the freshest of local ingredients.
Hungry yet? You will be after this food trail road trip.
Stop #1: The Big Orange, Gayndah
This region supplies 70% of Australia’s mandarins as well as limes, grapes, mangoes, garlic, pecans, asparagus, dragonfruit and figs, just to name a few!
You’ll find roadside stalls throughout the area, laden with watermelons, limes, mangoes and more, depending on the season.
While you’re there… Fuel up – both you and your vehicle – at Riverside in Gayndah. The caravan park cafe has local avocado cupcakes and milkshakes on the menu!
Stop #2: Organic farm stay
The Gleneden Bullock Team is not your average farm stay.
Six years ago Rohan, Fiona, and their children Eden and Jethro, moved to Rohan’s family farm to grow their own food and embrace a ye olde day existence – one of simplicity and healthy living. A place where they could raise their kids, grow their own food and live off the land in a picturesque valley.
Here, Rohan revived his teenage hobby of bullock driving and demonstrates his skills with Casper and Pitch in the arena beside their house.
“I like to do things that no one else is doing,” Rohan say. “I want to make sure it [the skill and practice] doesn’t disappear.”
As well as the bullock team, blacksmithing and whip-cracking displays, the 350-acre organic mixed farm allows the family to rear their own grass fed and chemical-free pigs, goats, lambs and chickens.
They work with a local butcher to sell their pork, beef, lamb and goat products, and open their property to campers who can stay for $10 per night (kids $5) and get hands-on feeding the pigs, milking the goats and collecting eggs from the orange vintage caravan-turned chicken coop.
“Most modern farms exclude people from the system and we want include people as much as possible,” Rohan says.
Between Easter Saturday and September they run a regular Saturday afternoon bullock display followed by a farm tour with billy tea and damper.
Wine tasting in Childers
Nine years ago Marianne Lethbridge and Edward Murray said, “Let’s draw a circle on the map and find a farm”.
After they literally tripped over a sign out at the front of the property (“it was so overgrown”, Marianne says) that would become their own, the retired couple set to work creating their sanctuary and vineyard.
The result is Vintner’s Secret – part of the Childers Wine Trail – where vines share pride of place with a cute little Shetland pony, llama and geese, a bright blue bus ‘library’ filled with books, pretty gardens and a small art gallery.
With six acres of land under vines – including varieties like Marsanne, Verdelho, Shiraz and Cabernet – you can drop in for a spot of wine tasting and stay for a cheese platter, high tea or light lunch (bookings required).
Open: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm.
The ultimate ice-cream stop
Grab yourself one of their signature ginger and macadamia nut ice-creams – using all local ingredients, of course – or any one of the macadamia, fruit or liqueur flavours from their store that sits right on the Bruce Highway. You can also call ahead to find out the best times to visit the factory and watch the hand-making ice-cream making in the process.
You can also call ahead to find out the best times to visit the factory and watch the handmade ice-cream making in the process.
*Huge thanks to Apollo Motorhome Holidays for providing the wheels for our North Burnett food trail road trip. Check out our other stops along the way: 48 hours in Bundaberg and a foodie road trip through South Burnett.