Sydney is lucky enough to be encompassed with many foodie adventures which are not much more than an hours drive away. To the North explore the calming Northern Beaches and dining experiences which encapsulate the freshness of the seaside. Travel to the scenic Hawkesbury region and taste your way through locally grown produce picked straight from the nearby orchards. While it's to the south where you will find a combination of charming restaurants and farm gates, where the rolling green emerald hills meet the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. Fill up the tank and get ready for these top 10 experiences.
Not only is this one of the best places to take in Sydney's stunning Northern Beaches, but Palm Beach is also home to one of Australia's most popular television series Home and Away. At the Boathouse, sit back on the deck and enjoy a modern selection of cafe style delights from breakfast right through till lunch. Embracing a real Aussie beach style vibe there are the iconic palm trees, boats coming and going from the jetty and strings of fairy lights which dance in the wind.
At first glance it feels like you have transported to a rustic country house in the hills of Tuscany, surrounded by age old vines that grow alongside the lemon trees and magnolias. These two wineries make the most of their riverside location producing boutique drops, both offering free cellar door sampling. Step inside the lower floor of a rustic country house at Tizzana before ordering a charcuterie board to graze on with a glass of their latest vintage, whilst relaxing on the lawn.
Held every Saturday, the Richmond Markets sample a variety of foodie goods from local and afar artisans. Pick up a loaf of crusty sourdough bread, a tub of hummus, some ciders straight from the orchard, your weekly fruit and vegetables or even a gourmet treat for your four legged friend! Stands of freshly served food are there every week and change regularly with a variety of cuisines from Turkish Gozleme, breakfast brisket rolls and even steaming hot dumplings. Keep an eye on their website as there are often different themes at the market like the Christmas events, bring your dog day, and many more!
Head up the scenic hills of Kurrajong as the sound of bell birds sing in the background to the historic Lochiel House. Established inside an old farmers cottage which dates back to 1825, let the warm hospitality of owners Nathan & Tayla make you feel right at home. Keeping a lot of the original features, this is a restaurant that brings the past into the modern day with a menu that is inspired by the seasons and fresh pickings straight from the backyard garden, flavoured with continental influences. On the weekends pop by for breakfast in the scenic and well-established garden.
Take a trip to the foot of the Blue Mountains and discover the quaint and bustling township of Glenbrook. Held every second Saturday the Rotary markets at Glenbrook primary school is a feast of locally grown organic produce, free-range chickens and eggs, food stalls of slow cooked meats served up as moreish breakfast rolls and much more. Why not make a day of it and have a picnic in the nearby Glenbrook National Park?
Put on a pair of joggers and take a stroll along the scenic Nepean River, one of Penrith's natural beauty attractions and favourite places to visit on the weekends. After a long walk pull into Cafe at Lewers, established within the heritage listed Lewers Gallery. This is where art, nature and great wholesome cafe style dishes and a well-deserved cup of freshly brewed coffee meet. In the warmer months bring a picnic blanket and sit out in the grounds among the edible garden, the bamboo forest and the flower beds in full bloom.
Forget about booking an airfare to the Italian countryside, make a trip out to Orchard Hills located just before the Blue Mountains where you will find all the comforts of a rustic Italian style feast among scenic rural surrounds. The set 5-course meal is a feast of home cooked classics served straight from the kitchen and is a great dining event to be savoured with a group of friends. It's BYO alcohol so bring your favourite wine and enjoy a glass in the sun under the shade of a jacaranda tree while grazing on a platter of glistening olives, sun dried tomatoes and other antipasto bites. Bookings are essential.
For those who appreciate their pizza with a slice of sustainability, book a table at The Italian Food Project in Camden, South West of Sydney. The spacious and welcoming restaurant uses its adjoining and abundant garden as part of its paddock to plate approach to cooking. And the edible gardens are integral to the menu. The team also employ traditional techniques and make their pasta and pizza just like nonna used to. There's plenty of room for everyone with indoor and alfresco dining areas and space for the little ones to run around and explore which makes it a great way to spend the day.
For a seaside pub dining adventure that ticks all the right boxes, make tracks to Headlands Hotel in Austinmer on the breath-taking Illawarra South Coast. Sit back with a cold glass of craft beer overlooking the crashing waves of the surrounding beach while devouring a burger that is about the size of a small football! This is one of those places where you can play and stay with onsite contemporary accommodation also available at the recently constructed hotel. The bistro offers a range of modern Australian favourites in particular freshly caught seafood. Headlands Hotel is a place to be enjoyed by all from young couples to families with kids.
Keep your eye out for the big red apple above the Tennessee Orchard sign, and when you do, you have found one of the most produce rich farm gates in the Southern Highlands. Only an hour and ten minutes drive from Sydney, the orchard which is open seasonally is famous for their variety of traditional favourites and heirloom variety of apples. Head to the shed where you will find an abundance of local produce from potatoes, tomatoes and many other seasonal picks. Make sure you grab a bottle of the fresh golden apple juice, a jar of homemade jam and locally sourced honey for the road.