You could say Outback Queensland is a trendsetter – it was doing paddock to plate long before it became a dining fad. It’s no surprise though; this is grazier’s territory, 901,575km2 of grazier’s territory, to be precise.
And while it may be known for its pub counter meals, foodies can rejoice – there’s still a food scene bubbling away throughout Outback Queensland.
This year, tour your taste buds out west with these Outback Queensland dishes:
1. For single origin cuisine
Give a “cooee” in Barcaldine and the local gastronomes will answer your call.
Ridgee Didge Café roasts its own indigenous, rich and earthy blend of coffee, Coolamon Coffee. Owned by local indigenous Woman, Cheryl Thompson, Ridgee Didge Café serves a coffee that rivals the big smoke, best accompanied by an all-day breakfast menu that’s a far cry from the hotbox food formerly served out of its shopfront.
Leave your dinner in the hands of the Lounging Emu, where you can email, phone or even EHF radio your order to the chefs. How’s that for Outback hospitality?
Their woodfired pizzas are cooked to perfection in their oven made from the ashes of Pompeii.
Fill up on the best margarita in the west (seriously, it gets this margarita enthusiast’s tick of approval) or take on the Flamin’ Emu if you have a penchant for pepperoni – this pizza is topped with the stuff.
2. The battle of the bakeries
In Outback Queensland, we take our bakeries as serious as a stockman takes his saddle.
To eat like a local, wrap your laughing gear around a peach blossom. Picture a cream filled cupcake-lamington hybrid that’s rolled in coconut and jelly.
For something more savoury, tuck into your Aussie bakery classics like a chunky steak pie or a vanilla slice, just like your Nan used to make.
Looking for something more obscure?
Take your taste buds on tour to the Birdsville Bakery and savour one (or two) of their curried camel or ‘roo pies. It’s a fair old joy-ride to Australia’s most remote bakery, so if you’re going just for a pie, so time your visit for the Big Red Bash or Birdsville Races.
Did we mention it’s the only licensed bakery in Aus! That’s how all bakeries should be right?
3. For the health nuts
Carnarvon Gorge is known for more than just its gorgeous sandstone cliffs, and lookouts. Did you know there’s plenty of tucker along the trail there too?
Serving seriously good smoothies, The Tasting Co in Roma is the perfect grab-and-go for an early morning wake up before heading 243kms north to Carnarvon Gorge.
Fuel your walk with one of their house-made granola or chia cups, ultimate brekkie rolls or seasonal salads before hiking your way through lush gorges and Aboriginal art sites.
Or, grab one of their insta-worthy platters to take with you from their catering menu for a picnic morning tea or an afternoon sunset graze.
4. A rose amongst the thorns
The Lodge on Hawthorne is a Blackall treasure, hidden between the town’s blossom-named streets.
This antique-store-cum-tea-room serves up serious home-made treats from the heritage listed Blackall Masonic Temple. The building and its contents are steeped in the region’s history, having operated since 1908.
If you’re not feeling peckish from the aromas of freshly baked goods, then checkout their fine arts and antiques.
5. Cook it like it’s on flaming hot coals
Step back into Australia’s Pioneering era – the 1920’s with a traditional Bedourie camp oven.
For the town of Bedourie, this camp oven was born out of necessity, after drovers and cameleers endured cracking and breaking in their cast iron ovens.
Over time the design of the Bedourie camp oven was refined and the all mighty R.M. Williams (this bushman had his fingers in more than just one pie!) catalogue listed the ovens for sale at two pounds and fifteen shillings.
Think you’ve got what is takes to be Outback Queensland’s next Master camp oven chef?
Mark the Bedourie Camel Races in your diary to test out your best damper recipe in their camp oven cook-off.
6. The DIY experience
At times the Outback might be 1000kms from its nearest coast, but don’t be fooled, seafood is still on the table in the Outback.
Make a beeline to the Thomson River in Longreach to catch yabbies and yellowbelly or cast your line over to Biloela’s Callide Dam for some reel good catches including barramundi, cod, silverperch and red claw.
Swap your Akubra for your toque and getting cooking #outbackstyle. With plenty of places to park up and set up the ultimate camp fire, you’d be crazy not to give it a crack. Give your best damper a go or why not cook up a classic Aussie stew?
Don’t forget to pick up some marshmallows for the kids, to avoid a campfire disappointment.
If you’re culinary skills aren’t blue ribbon, experience a good old camp fire cook up from a local mate at caravan parks and farmstays across Outback Queensland.