If your love for experiencing new culinary flavours, tastes, and cuisines is what drives you to choose a travel destination, then why not explore the option of developing your very own road trip food adventure?
With Australia consisting of arid locations, coastal sea breeze communities, bustling city centres, and rolling country hillsides, the visual feast of varied and captivating landscapes will enrich your gourmet travel experience by adding a dash of open air adventure.
An ample selection of restaurants, pubs, cafés, and tea shops, are dotted along the Australian map. With fine dining, casual meals, through to menus offering a smorgasbord of gastronomic fun, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. Even the most distinguished food critic will discover plenty of locations serving up dishes that have attracted travellers from near and far.
If you want to indulge in a fun and exciting road trip food adventure, then consider exploring the scenic, captivating, and inviting journey of the Great Pacific Drive.
The Great Pacific Drive, Sydney – The Food, Wine, and Adventure Road Trip
The Great Pacific Drive encompasses exploring amazing and inviting landscapes that detail remarkable landmarks, coastal blue waters, and lush green hillsides. With many destinations dotted along the way being renowned for their offerings of delectable food and wine (just as much as their captivating scenery), you will revel in a road trip that is both visually and tastefully pleasing.
Here is our selection of locations to add to your Great Pacific Drive road trip itinerary - source all our ideas or simply add a few to your travel plans.
Royal National Park to Wollongong
Fresh homemade and hearty recipes are a top choice by many of the eateries located along the journey from Sydney to Wollongong. Here are some favourites of the region:
- Otford Apple Pie Shop (Otford) – enjoy a selection of homemade apple pies that have won the hearts of many visitors.
- Palms Café (Stanwell Park) – fresh local produce served on a menu that includes breakfasts, hearty meals to satisfy the hunger, and light meals that offer a simple pick-me up.
- Austi Beach Café (Austinmer) – serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, stop by and select from a mouth-watering menu. Be tempted by a grilled haloumi salad, chicken linguine, Austi chicken breast schnitzel burger, fennel and chilli squid, beer battered fish and chips, or their renowned gelato.
- Fireworks Café (Austinmer) – home cooked hearty meals made with the freshest ingredients. The perfect combination to enjoy a relaxing dinner.
- Flanagans Restaurant & Bar (Thirroul) – a unique menu that changes with the availability of fresh and in season produce, your stomach will indulge in a gastronomic feast when visiting Flanagans. A seven course menu is available on Friday and Saturday nights – book in if you want to experience an amazing dining event. Their modern take on the fish and chip combination has proved a true success with it drawing returning travellers and locals.
- Chedo’s Café / Restaurant (Coledale) – homemade gelato, European cuisine made with the freshest and unique tastes of the family owned olive oils.
- Illawarra Brewery (Wollongong) – as the name suggests, you can enjoy a great beer at the Illawarra Brewery. Sit back and relax with ocean views as you digest a delectable meal while indulging in one of the brewery’s handcrafted beers. Choose from a menu that includes brewery breads, a light meal of fish and chips, fresh pacific oysters, chicken caesar salad, salt and pepper squid with lemon dipping aioli, American style mini burgers, and a great selection of mains and sides.
Adventure Options: Hang glide or paraglide at Bald Hill lookout; explore Sea Cliff Bridge; skydive with Skydive the Beach; visit the Illawarra Fly Treetop Walk; plan a day out at Jamberoo Action Park; or take a relaxing and refreshing swim at Garie, Coledale, Austinmer, Stanwell, Bellambi, Thirroul, Towradgi, or Port Kembla beaches.
Want to explore even further? Then here is a small snippet of more of the destinations you can explore along the Great Pacific Drive.
Wollongong to Shellharbour
This portion of the trip is dotted with an amazing selection of eatery options. With unique dining styles and menus consisting of enticing recipes and dishes, fulfilling your hunger will surely be satisfied at one of these great suggestions.
- Ocean Mist Restaurant – offering a modern Australian café style menu, enjoy wood fired roasted seafood by day and gourmet pizza at night.
- Relish on Addison – daytime menu offers café style meals with night time presenting a modern and unique Australian cuisine. Fully licenced, Relish on Addison also offers a great selection of cocktails.
- Shellharbour Country Kitchen – indulge in a menu that has an assortment of homemade cakes, Devonshire tea, seafood, schnitzels, focaccias, and so much more.
- Bobby’s Diner – enjoy the delights of the best burgers in town in the surrounds of a rock-n-roll themed diner. Tantalise your tastebuds with the full flavoursome burger recipe.
- Branches Restaurant – for a true fine dining experience encompassing seafood, Italian, and Mediterranean dishes, a visit to Branches is a must.
Adventure Options: Snorkel and scuba dive along the coast or if you are a fishing enthusiast, you may like to throw a line in at Lake Illawarra, Warilla Beach, Shellharbour Boat Harbour, or Bass Point Reserve.
Shellharbour to Kiama
These suggestions are all about unique tastes and flavours. Starring the delights of the dessert world, a visit to one of the local ice creameries will have you reminiscing about your childhood beach visits that consisted of sun, surf, sand, and a trip to the local ice cream shop.
- Ice Creamery Kiama – the original ‘Ice Cream Specialists’ offering over 40 unique and delightful flavours.
- Scoops Ice Creamery and Café – snacks galore are on offer at Scoops Ice Creamery and Café. Quench your thirst from a delicious range of smoothies, thick shakes, and juices, or indulge in an ice cream or gelato. With up to 36 delicious ice cream flavours to select from, there is sure to be a taste to suit everyone.
- Kiama Stonegrill – grill to your personal taste at Kiama Stonegrill. Whether you love meat, seafood, or a combination of both, you will delight in the flavours and taste on offer.
- Ritzy Gritz New Mexican Grill – whether you like it hot or prefer to have a slight hint of heat, then Ritzy Gritz is ideal for you. Enjoy freshly cooked Californian style Mexican and let your tastebuds revel in the unique taste and flavours.
Adventure Options: Plan a surfing trip at ‘The Farm’ or take a nature walk with a visit to Spring Creek Wetlands or Hoddles Track. If you prefer to explore the region, then take a short scenic drive that encompasses Mount Pleasant Lookout, Gerringong, Gerroa, and Seven Mile Beach.
For the Wine Lovers
The next stage of the Great Pacific Drive encompasses the trip from Kiama to Shoalhaven and is the perfect road trip addition for wine lovers. Coolangatta Estate Winery has national and internationally recognised wines with all presenting their own distinctive and captivating flavour. Taste, enjoy, and revel in the atmosphere of the Estate while enjoying the cuisine of Alexanders Vineyard Restaurant or The Historic Great Hall.
Venturing beyond to the Southern Highlands provides the opportunity to indulge in cool climate wines with a selection of over 60 vineyards and 16 cellar doors. Plan a short trip or take a few days and let your senses savour the delicate and unique wine flavours of the region.
Ideas for Getting There and Back!
If you are travelling from interstate or even overseas, you can take to the open road with an affordable car hire package from Car Rental Buddy. Sourcing the best deals from reputable suppliers that include both major and independent agents, you can access a range of vehicles that will suit all budgets and car hire preferences.
Looking to take a group road trip and enjoy the journey in the one vehicle? Then consider your seven, eight, or 12 seater van options.
If you would like to take the Great Pacific Drive, then compare and book your car hire online. With great deals available for short and long term rentals, you can choose to make your road trip adventure a simple weekend getaway or a month long journey.
Car Hire Tips: Always book in advance and if you are planning on being spontaneous with your itinerary and travel options, then be sure to book a rental package offering ‘unlimited kilometres’.
Looking to car-pool or hire a van? Our top tip is to determine who the designated driver will be prior to booking! With the booking being made in the driver’s name, it is important to remember that only the nominated driver is able to operate the vehicle. If your love of food also coincides with sampling the house red or white wine, then you may want to opt out of being the nominated driver! Not to worry, you can take it in turns with Car Rental Buddy’s suppliers offering the option to add additional drivers to your rental package.
Take to the open road and awaken your culinary senses! Travel provides the ideal opportunity to experience new cultures, flavours, tastes, local cuisines, and delicacies. No matter where you travel within Australia, each destination across this amazing and diverse landscape offers the prospect to indulge in something new and exciting.
Get out, about, and explore – your taste buds will love you for it!