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Locavore Life: Eating like a Local

“People who love food really are the best people.” – Julia Child

The Mistress of the Kitchen was really onto something with this fine observation, and with more visitors to this region scheduling their holidays around our food festivals, trails and producers, paradise never looked so abundantly tasty. Full of astoundingly good restaurants, paddock-to-plate produce, cellar and farm doors, the Tropical North is literally a stock pot full of delicious adventure. From coffee, tea and chocolate to seafood, cheese, nuts and fruit wine, it’s no wonder the Tropical North has been dubbed the ‘other food bowl’ of the country.

Be sure to put all these places and dates into your culinary diary – your taste buds will thank you!

Can't Miss ‘Em DIY Foodie Spots

Rusty's Market
Grafton Street, Cairns | Fri – Sun 5AM – 6PM

Like the Harbour Bridge is to Sydney and the Big Prawn is to Ballina, Rusty’s Market is quintessentially Cairns, a true local Aussie icon. If you want to put your finger on the pulse of the vibrant food scene in Cairns, there is no other place better than Rusty’s Markets to start your locavore life. Taste your way through piles of exotic, seasonal tropical fruits, veggies and herbs, eat all the street hawker wares, delight in farm-fresh honey, locally grown flowers, excellent coffees, and the best Bahn Mi you ever did see.

Mareeba Coffee Works
Mason Street, Mareeba | Mon – Sun 9AM – 4PM

What would the world be like without coffee or chocolate? A horror too much to bear though, there’s no need to worry when visiting Mareeba Coffee Works! Supplying more than 80% of Australia’s coffee crop, this homage to coffee history is a fascinating excursion into production, varietals, blends and extraction of the humble coffee bean. Naturally, they make a mean coffee, and when you’ve had enough caffeine, you can explore their world of chocolate (okay, then). With tastings available of all locally produced and naturally flavoured chocolates, it’d be understandable if you thought you were in heaven.

Mt Uncle Distillery 
Chewko Road, Walkamin | Mon – Sun 10AM – 4PM

Nestled in the foothills of a banana plantation just outside Mareeba, an hour and a bit north-west of Cairns, this award-winning distillery – mostly known for its gin, but also producing a full cocktail of liquors - is perfectly located to take advantage of the abundance of produce grown in the region. A variety of fresh fruit is magically turned into lip-smacking liqueurs, while Queensland sugarcane and barley is used for rum and whisky production, all of which can be sampled at the distillery.

Top image courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland