This bright, fresh cafe-restaurant opens for weekend breakfasts, laid-back lunches and serious evening à la carte dining that’s strong on local produce, seafood and select Tasmanian wines. Try the outstanding signature dish: mussels in dill and coconut curry broth with Asian greens and rice noodles (entrée or main).
Established in 1874 as Peppermint Bay, Woodbridge was eventually renamed by a nostalgic English landowner. It’s a quiet village sitting squarely on the tourist trail, thanks to the sexy Peppermint Bay development that consumed the old Woodbridge pub.
Richmond is the centre of Tasmania’s fastest-growing wine region, the Coal River Valley, with wineries popping up in all directions.
With a breathtaking position overlooking Binalong Bay, Angasi is brilliant – casual cafe by day and smart-casual à la carte dining room by night. Three young locals got a bright idea and have been winning awards and loyal customers ever since. Changing local art is featured in the groovy red-and-black dining room, but most people can’t take their eyes off the view.
The only community of any size along the Grand Ridge Rd is the pretty township of Mirboo North , home to Gippsland’s only brewery, the award-winning Grand Ridge Brewery & Restaurant producing chemical- and preservative-free beer. The restaurant food is fresh and prepared from local produce, including steaks from the local beef farm.
The huge Dover Hotel has budget rooms above the bar (singles/doubles $45/70), motel rooms (doubles $95) out the back and a self-contained unit sleeping up to seven ($190 for four adults). But it’s the gourmet pub grub that we call in for – it features local Hastings oysters, Huon Valley produce and fresh fish and seafood from the local fishing fleet.
Noosa’s very own brewery – Laguna Bay – now has its very own teppan-yaki restaurant serving char-grilled goodness in a hip cocktail-induced atmosphere. The vegetarian udon is deliciously crunchy and the noodles perfectly sweet and sticky, while the chicken teriyaki is outstanding. Serves are not huge, so dig into the extensive entrée menu.
If budget is an issue then plant yourself in the front of this snappy dumpling house and tuck into the well-priced bamboo baskets containing bite-size treats. Think yum-cha meets à la carte, such as san choi bao , shredded beef in mandarin sauce or dumplings done just about any way you like.
Understated, underrated Riverhouse has a stylish Queensland sensibility, with a bright, open aspect on a street away from the Noosaville drag.
Heading north on the Pacific Hwy it’s worth taking a small detour to Ulmarra (population 1586), a heritage-listed town with a river port. There’s a quaint old corner pub with a wrought-iron verandah, pub rooms (singles/doubles $35/60) and a greener-than-green beer garden that stretches down to the Clarence River. The river can be crossed by car ferry 1km north of town.
In true Chinatown tradition the ambience at this busy Szechuan and Shanghai restaurant simmers somewhere between snappy and hectic. But the food has them lining up at the door, and justifiably so. Tables are peppered with large and steaming portions of dumplings, hot, dry and spicy chicken and squid dishes, and stir-fried vegetables. Great value and authentic flavours.