Together with our friends at Welcome to Country, we’ve compiled a list of some of Australia’s best bush food experiences. Get ready to dig in!
The only thing that brings so much joy to people who travel is food, right? So how good is it when travel and food go together? Food brings people together. It has the power to sustain and nurture, to foster community, and to inspire the great things: conversation, community, connection.
It is also a learning tool. Food is a delicious and easy way to immerse yourself in other cultures and traditions. And it’s a great way to discover more about First Nations history. Foraging, cooking and eating with First Nations people is – we believe – a powerful way to learn about the true custodians of the land known as Australia.
Here are some of the country’s best bush food experiences, everywhere from the Pilbara region to the sunny east coast. We hope you are hungry.
1. Go on a foraging walk along the coast of Murujuga country
The Australian bush is full of fruit, nuts, seeds and roots that have sustained First Nations people for tens of thousands of years. On this half day bush tucker tour of Hearson Cove in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, travelers head out to Murujuga Country to learn about what to eat and how to prepare it on this fascinating (and delicious) foraging trail along the coast. Clinton Walker, a descendant of the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people – the traditional owners of the coastal and inland areas of the West Pilbara – will explain the culture and history of the region and then treat guests to a variety of bush tucker such as berries, bush potatoes and, if you’re lucky, a freshly caught mud crab. Be prepared to get your hands (and feet) dirty.
2. Catch a meal and a show at Spirits of the Red Sand
A theater restaurant, but not as you know it. Spirits of the red sand, a powerful performance held at Beenleigh Historical Village just south of Brisbane, follows the story of three Aboriginal brothers as they deal with conflicting cultures and beliefs – from the Dreamtime to the 19th century – and is based on true events (actually the actors in the show are direct descendants of the mob whose stories are depicted). Diners will move from stage to stage through this immersive and interactive performance, enjoying native song, dance and food. The delicious three-course meal includes flapjack with bush dukkah, kangaroo, crocodile and emu skewers, and a lemon myrtle cheesecake. This is a fascinating way to learn about the indigenous culture (and eat some great food while you’re at it).
3. Enjoy a bush tucker fine dining experience in Mudgee
When Ngemba Weilwan woman and founder of Warakirri dining Sharon Winsor was a child, her favorite thing to do was to collect bush fruit and yabbies. This passion for food led her to create this delicious and informative dining experience in Mudgee, a few hours from Sydney. Over four hours, enjoy Australian indigenous foods, botany, culture and rituals as Sharon combines modern cooking techniques with traditional methods – this is bush tucker dining at its best. An evening at Warakirri, which means ‘grow with us’, promises deep learning alongside music, song and storytelling.
4. Sit back to a great beach cookout at Lullumb Country
Immerse yourself in Bardi-Jawi history with your local guide Bolo on this incredible Sydkors cultural walk through Lullumb Country on WA’s Dampier Peninsula. Bolo and his family live here, and during the three-hour walk they share regional stories, songs and cultural knowledge. He will explain the importance of the mangrove ecosystem, how native plants are used as both food and medicine, and how to find fresh water and bush tucker. Bolo will also talk through how the Bardi-Jawi people use the land and the changing tides to determine the seasons and how this dictates their foraging patterns. End your day with a great cook of the day’s finds on the beach – heaven!
5. Indulge in the more advanced side of foraging at Mt Borradaile
Sometimes an afternoon of foraging bush tucker just doesn’t cut it. You need a whole day. In fact, you need FIVE days. And it has to be a little bit fancy too. This four-night Arnhem Land Submergence at Mt Borradaile ticks all the boxes. By day you can explore rugged areas, floodplains, rainforests and billabongs – you’ll even get the chance to see cave art that’s over 50,000 years old. At night, you can enjoy a good dinner before going to bed in your four-star eco-hut. Mt Borradaile is a registered Aboriginal sacred site and is owned and managed by its traditional custodians, the Amurdak people, who have lived on the land for tens of thousands of years.
Our partners Welcome to the country has a great selection of First Nations dining experiences across Australia. Check out their website for more information.