18 Queensland food festivals to add to your calendar now
With such a phenomenal variety of produce grown, caught, baked, served and celebrated in Queensland, you can fill your calendar (and your stomach) with delicious food and wine festivals running from Southern Queensland Country to Port Douglas on any given weekend.
Get your celebrity chef groupie on and follow this festival line-up in celebration of our infatuation with all things gourmet and of course, sinfully indulgent.
CHINCHILLA MELON FESTIVAL
When: 14-17 February 2019
Where: Chinchilla, Southern Queensland Country
What: The humble watermelon is the star of this show and for good reason. It’s long been a versatile vegetable (no- it’s not a fruit) for cooling headwear at the cricket and hitting your five daily vegetable goals with all kinds of alcoholic summer slushies. However, at the Chinchilla Melon Festival, it also doubles as the footwear in the skiing challenge, football in the melon toss and the lubricant for a slippery ironman and ironwoman challenge. This is one festival to break the old rule about never eating anything bigger than your head for.
SOUTH BURNETT WINE AND FOOD IN THE PARK
When: 9 March 2019
Where: Kingaroy, South Burnett
What: Discover one of Queensland’s ‘secret’ wine regions with this fun community event in the peanut capital of Kingaroy. With a great line-up of live entertainment, wine samples from South Burnett’s leading wineries and a wide variety of food stalls on site, the Wine and Food in the Park Festival is not to be missed. This is the calibre of some of the producers you can expect.
FEAST OF THE SENSES
When: 28-31 March 2019
Where: Innisfail, Tropical North Queensland
What: Picture food stalls, cooking demonstrations and gala dinners with a tropical twist where the flavours of jackfruit, rambutans and dragonfruit tantalise your tastebuds. From a market day extravaganza to a showcase of the tropical fruits, seafood and meat of the region, if it’s exotic and unique, you’ll find it at Feast of the Senses.
NOOSA FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL
When: 16-20 May 2019
Where: Noosa, Sunshine Coast
What: The Noosa Food and Wine Festival is back with another delectable line-up of great food and wine. From culinary artists and leading chefs to fine Australian wine and fresh produce, this is one of those events where you should let your stomach guide you through the stalls. Watch some of the region’s best craft brewers in action at the craft beer and cider corner set amongst the infamous (and delicious) Festival Village. Make a weekend of it with this guide.
GRAZING THE GRANITE BELT
When: 18-19 May 2019
Where: Stanthorpe, Southern Queensland Country
What: All aboard the bus, your destination is good food and wine. Grazing the Granite Belt is a unique take on a food festival as hop-on-hop-off bus tour that takes in six wineries and a brewery on Saturday. At each stop, try tasty dishes matched with local wines while on Sunday enjoy the Breakfast with the Winemakers event before heading out on your own to explore the Granite Belt as restaurants run special menus.
PANIYIRI GREEK FESTIVAL
When: 18-19 May 2019
Where: South Brisbane
What: Paniyiri = Greek for coming together to let the good times roll, as they have done for the last 42 years. So, get thee to a celebration of fried halloumi, baby octopus, honey puffs, and of course, dancing. Oh, and if you’re wondering if you get to smash plates, yes you do!
THE HAMPTON FESTIVAL
When: 19 May 2019
Where: Hampton, Southern Queensland Country
What: Less New York City escape and more crisp country air and great food and wine, Hampton Festival marries food and art in perfect harmony. Sample fresh produce, picked only hours before (from just down the road), taste-test your way around the myriad of local restaurant stalls and discover the artsy side of the region at the Hampton Art Exhibition.
PORT DOUGLAS CARNIVALE
When: 24-26 May 2019
Where: Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland
What: With a packed program that includes street art, market stalls, the famous ‘longest lunch’, seafood extravaganza and fireworks, this isn’t just a food festival; it’s an all-eating, all-drinking, all-dancing marathon.
GOOMERI PUMPKIN FESTIVAL
When: 26 May 2019
Where: Goomeri, Sunshine Coast
What: What started as rolling pumpkins down a hill for fun has grown to be one of the best events at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival – The Great Australian Pumpkin Roll. With the festival attracting around 14,000 visitors each year, you’ll find plenty of pumpkin throwing, rolling and eating, as well as a whip-cracking competition and animal nursery to keep the kids entertained.
GOLD COAST FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL
When: 31 May – 2 June 2019
Where: Gold Coast
What: From Beenleigh to Mount Tamborine and Coolangatta, the Gold Coast has earned a foodie reputation where you can dust the sand off your feet and enjoy alfresco dining, street food and fine dining. This year the festival is set to attract more than 15,000 food and wine enthusiasts.
RELISH FRASER COAST
When: 1 June 2019
Where: Maryborough, Fraser Coast
What: Relish has got the chill factor that a Jack Johnson song brings to a Sunday afternoon. Set along the Mary River, a great variety of food and wine stalls, combined with cooking demonstrations and entertainment, make for a foodie’s perfect escape.
SCENIC RIM EAT LOCAL WEEK
When: 29 June – 7 July 2019
Where: Scenic Rim
What: Spread over the course of nine days, Eat Local Week showcases producers and chefs around the Scenic Rim region. With multiple free and low-cost options, you can take the family on farm tours and meet producers of cheese, coffee and goat and camel milk, or pull on the gumboots and harvest your own carrots. Even if you’re not visiting during festival time, you can sniff out the best of the region with this food trail itinerary.
THE WINTER HARVEST FESTIVAL
When: 6 July 2019
Where: Aratula, Scenic Rim
What: This food festival offers the opportunity to escape the city for clean country air. Think mountain ranges, vineyards, art galleries and bush-walking tracks. The Winter Harvest Festival is the signature event of Eat Local Week and offers bush tucker experiences, wine tastings and more from this beautiful region. A day when all the food producers come together with a smorgasbord of tasting plates and wine, and if you need to work off your extra calories take on the tractor-pulling competition.
When: 20-21 July 2019
Where: South Bank, Brisbane
What: Bringing the country to the city, you’ll find fine food from Queensland farmers and gourmet food trucks at this festival, as well as celebrity chef appearances and live entertainment. The producer market features over 80 stalls and the best part? It’s free!
THE CURATED PLATE- CULINARY FESTIVAL
When: 8-11 August 2019
Where: Sunshine Coast
What: Four days to showcase the abundance of the Sunshine Coast is hardly enough time but this festival, new in 2019, aims to do just that. Meet the producers during farm visits in the hinterland or join a food trail for a culinary adventure. The pinnacle is a special collaboration between Ziyu Hasegawa, from Tokoyo where he runs the two Michelin star restaurant Den, and Daniel Jarrett at the Tamarind in Maleny.
HERVEY BAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
When: 11 August 2019
Where: Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast
What: Get your fill of fresh-off-the-boat seafood at the only festival in Australia managed by the people who do the catching. Prawns, cuttlefish and scallops are the stars of the live cooking demonstrations. After your fishy feast, sit back and enjoy the live music on offer, otherwise the strawberry crepes, pancakes and churros might just twist your arm into a second round.
CAPRICORN FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL
When: 19-22 September 2019
Where: Rockhampton, Capricorn Region
What: The moment you drive into Rockhampton, or ‘Rocky’ as it’s affectionately called, you’ll know you’re in cowboy territory. It’s one of the only places in Australia where you can have a beer and catch a rodeo in the local pub. But the Capricorn Food and Wine Festival offers a chance to rub shoulders with celebrity chefs, taste your way through a wide range of food stalls and enjoy cocktail evenings and gala dinners.
APPLE & GRAPE HARVEST FESTIVAL
When: 7-8 March 2020
Where: Stanthorpe, Southern Queensland Country
What: Get well acquainted with the Granite Belt region’s produce and booming wine industry at the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival! Expect nothing less than nine days of non-stop fun with events like the ‘When in Rome’ gala ball, a multicultural carnival and wine fiesta times two, the legendary grape crush and more.
HUNGRY YET? WHICH FOOD FESTIVALS WILL YOU BE HEADING TO THIS YEAR?
*This post was originally published in 2017 and updated in November 2018.