Where to eat and drink in Bundaberg
Traditionally known as a superb sugar cane region, Bundaberg has added a bounty of new fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to its growing, glorious food bowl. And with the demand for farmers to grow greater variety, the local culinary scene has taken off.
Four hours north of Brisbane on Queensland’s subtropical coast, you name it; farmers, chefs and artisan distillers are growing, cooking, blending or brewing it here.
Use this list of Bundaberg restaurants, distilleries and food tours as your road map for what to taste first.
Take a Bundy Food Tour
Take a half-day food and drinks tour around Bundaberg with expert guide, Suzie Clarke, to discover the area’s quality, flavour and diversity in all things agricultural. Tailored to suit the season and requests, you can visit local farms to meet the producers who whole-heartedly share their stories, wit and knowledge and experience a behind-the-scenes look at the growing, harvesting and distributing processes.
You’ll gain first-person insight into the growing of everything from berries, avocados, dragonfruit, figs, seafood and macadamia nuts to capsicums, ginger, sweet potatoes, coffee, tomatoes and beef.
Sample fresh seafood at Grunske’s By the River
Grunske’s By the River is Bundaberg’s go-to seafood market and restaurant. In the fishing industry for more than 40 years, the Grunske family operates a fleet of prawn trawlers and fishing vessels, delivering fresh seafood to the restaurant every day. Perched high above the Burnett River, the restaurant, while not grand, is open air, relaxed and breezy.
Fresh from the trawlers, the choices include all the beloveds from shucked scallops, oysters, wild prawns, and crab to reef and estuary fish and squid.
This is the place to go when you’re craving a seafood risotto; tempura battered whiting or prawns with cuttlefish chips; a superb scallop and Moreton Bay bug mornay or a good ol’ seafood platter.
Immerse yourself in the Bundaberg Rum Distillery
You don’t have to be a Bundy Rum drinker to appreciate the distilling process of this world-class rum. Following an $8.5m upgrade in 2016, on top of the original distillery tour, you can now Blend Your Own Rum and bottle it up to take home.
From start to finish, tours of the Bundaberg Rum Distillery, led by in the know guides, are laced with a sense of fun and packed with amazing facts from the history and locally sourced ingredients to blending and processing. Churning out more than 60,000 bottle of rum a day, the magic mix includes Bundaberg grown sugar cane – milled to make the equivalent of four Olympic sized swimming pools of swirling, sludgy molasses each year – along with yeast and water.
After the tour, linger at the swanky bar to sample the delicious range of leading spirits, the making of which dates back to 1888. Sip the Solera and you’ll discover why it was awarded world’s best dark rum.
Did you know? The polar bear first appeared on Bundy Rum bottles in 1961 with the slogan, “Bundaberg Rum – to ward off the coldest of southern chills”?
Unearth new gin at Kalki Moon Distilling and Brewing Company
Born out of the Bundaberg cane fields, Kalki Moon arrived on the brewing scene in 2017. This boutique distillery produces gin, vodka and liqueurs and has quickly earned a rock-solid reputation. Behind the copper sills you’ll find international award- winning distiller and blender, Rick Prosser, who runs Kalki Moon with his family.
The range of hand-crafted spirits has already snapped up several top awards. Throw back the sensationally smooth Navy strength gin, which recently won gold at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards; and you also can’t go past the Pink Gin or Choc-Mint Liqueur.
The company’s greatly anticipated first batch of rum, after two years of distilling, will soon join the range. Stop by for a free tour or just a taste and buy your choice of spirit at special cellar door prices.
Get some ginger in your beer at The Bundaberg Barrel
Visit the home of the famous Bundaberg Ginger Beer, The Bundaberg Barrel, to acquaint yourself with an impressive range of soft drinks while learning more about the brewing process and the history of Bundaberg Brewed Drinks.
Drink your way through the range of flavoured drinks on a self-guided tour and if inclined, create your own customised soft drink label.
Munch on local fare at Indulge
Made famous by former owners Amanda and Larry Hinds for their success in partnering with local farmers, Indulge Café perfectly plates up prime local produce. Now under exceptional chef, Mitchell White, this popular Bundaberg restaurant is still widely known for championing local farmers.
While you’ll find it buzzing for breakfast and lunch Tuesday to Saturday, Mitchell and fiancé, Marleen LeLeux, have added a laid-back tapas, cocktails, fine wine and locally distilled spirits experience three nights a week.
Eat local at Water Street Kitchen
Water Street Kitchen is a local gem tucked in suburban Bundaberg. Owners Alex and Jen Cameron have extended their bourgeoning catering company to a popular paddock-to-plate restaurant. The mix of a vibrant atmosphere, welcoming staff, snazzy decor and deeply flavoursome fare makes this the ideal place for lingering breakfasts, brunches or lunches.
Stop by for great coffee brews and a revolving, handcrafted menu – think sand crab lasagna, pomegranate sorbet and sought after lemon curd filled donuts. On Friday nights the doors stay open for fine dining starring local produce.
Try it all at RiverFeast
On Friday nights and every third Sunday afternoon of the month, Bundaberg’s old marine college transforms into the RiverFeast food market. As the sun fades over the Burnett River, a crowd gathers to eat, drink, shop and stock pantries.
An innovative range of stalls offer the best of local produce with street eats from dips, dukkah, tapas and seafood to crisp pork belly, paella and pulled pork tacos. And as bars pour craft brewed beers, ciders and wines, live music entertains and lifts the vibrant mood.
Keen to extend your stay and continue eating your way through Bundaberg? Use this 48-hour road trip guide.