Mastering the art of Aussie cooking
Just 90 minutes drive north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast's restaurants are a great reason for a visit. But for long-lasting enjoyment, learn the chefs' secrets at one of the coast's first-class cooking schools.
The subtropical climate is perfect for growing herbs, fruits and vegetables. Pineapples, sugarcane, bananas, ginger, limes, lemongrass, and Asian greens thrive. This cornucopia and local seafood form the basis of many menus - and allow explorations in ethnic blends.
Farm produce like ducks and crayfish, locally made curry pastes and smokehouse goods from Eumundi, cheeses and yoghurts from Gympie and Kenilworth feature heavily on coast menus.
Work up an appetite by enjoying the coast's natural delights - beautiful beaches, refreshing surf, serene bush walks and peaceful rivers - then sit back and replenish with local produce presented with dazzle and flair.
Hastings St, Noosa Heads, is the best known restaurant and cafe strip on the coast. People travel from Brisbane to have lunch here and often stay for dinner!
You'll find the spirit of the coast in any of Hastings St's eateries, but sure favourites are Berado's on Main Beach, Season and Bistro C, all of which offer great food and stunning views over the beach.
Just a short drive away, Thomas St, Noosaville, is another hot strip, as is Gympie Tce overlooking the Noosa River. It's much more laidback here, with great pizza, Asian and Indian, tapas and fusion styles.
For those who want to take home something more than a few extra kilos around the waist, the coast is renowned for its fine cooking schools. Two of the best are:
Spirit House Cooking School, Yandina, Sunshine Coast Hinterland
Surrounded by lily ponds, tinkling chimes and lush tropical gardens of fragrant ginger and vividly coloured foliage, it is the ideal place to learn the secrets of Asian cuisine. Classes focus on Thai curries and banquets, wok techniques, laksa and barbecue cooking.
Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Maleny, Blackall Ranges
Award-winning chefs Paul Blain and Cameron Matthews share top billing - Blain teaching his Thai dishes while Matthews takes groups through French and Italian cuisine. Accommodation is intimate and romantic in Spicers' signature style. A fusion of modern Australian chic and Asian style combine around the intimate restaurant and cooking school.