Lonely Planet Writer

Why vegan travel is peaking in Australia, traditionally the home of the barbecue

Ten years ago if you were a vegan travelling to Australia you’d have been one of a small band of travellers. Australia is a proud nation of carnivores who love a barbecue featuring plenty of meat, including indigenous animals. Crocodile, emu steaks and ‘roo burgers can be found on many Aussie menus especially those catering to the tourism market.

Australia is embracing veganism
Australia is embracing veganism Image by Getty

How times have changed and the macho Aussie meat-eater is making way for a more health-conscious culture. The ‘clean eating’ movement, married with an increased awareness of animal welfare in commercial food production in Australia, has seen a rise in Aussies embracing vegan living. Plus, interest from overseas travellers in vegan travel is also on the rise, particularly in the luxury market.

A post shared by Jan Saunders (@thebeetretreat) on

VegTrip founder, Peter Logan, told VegNews, “when we started our site four years ago most of the hotels that we added had been vegetarian for a long time. Now we are seeing more and more newly-started hotels just for vegans popping up.” A couple of newcomers to the vegan accommodation market are just outside Melbourne: The Beet Retreat, is a B&B retreat in the east in the Yarra Valley and Bed & Broccoli is north of the city.

In addition to accommodation that has gone meat- and dairy-free, Australia’s restaurants are also embracing the vegan trend. In Sydney you’ll find the multiple options in Newtown where Green Gourmet and Sappho Books get honourable mentions, but new places are springing up by the month.

In Melbourne’s St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar is a popular spot creating Instagram-worthy bowls of plant-based foods. The north side of the city is rich with vegetarian options but Smith & Daughters pairs vegan food with vegan cocktails, while Smith & Deli sells ‘pastrami’ sandwiches for the lunch crowd.

Even the outback city of Alice Springs — in the centre of Australia — boasts a vegan Asian restaurant at Tea Shrine.
If you’re committed to tofu dumplings, kombucha, matcha lattes you’re not going to go wanting for amazing vegan foodie experiences Down Under.