There’s nothing better than a weekend dash out of the city to refresh the senses and relax the mind. And eat! Just a couple of hours drive south out of Sydney and you find yourself surrounded by green rolling hills that meet spectacular coastline – welcome to the NSW South Coast.
Our first stop is the seaside town of Kiama. Famous for the biggest blowhole in the world, the town is named after the aboriginal word ‘Kiaram-a’, meaning ‘where the sea makes a noise’ and one of the first things we do is head down to Blowhole Point to check it out. It offers dramatic views of the ocean noisily erupting through natural holes in the rock, a theatrical welcome to this fantastic region.
It would be easy to sit by the beach for days, but we’re here to discover the local region with Jacqueline from Foodscape Tours
This unique tour takes visitors to different regional producers, meeting the makers and understanding how local produce from this emerging food and wine destination makes it from the paddock to the plate. Our first stop is Buena Vista Farm, close to the nearby town of Gerringong, who specialise in pastured eggs and ethically raised chickens, free-range pigs, bees and coffee.
Here, anything you purchase has been made or picked that week by farmers Fiona and Adam Walmsley. They’re fifth generation farmers of this beautiful land that overlooks the ocean, which is also making a name with the fresh biscuits Fiona bakes and sells at regional farmers markets.
Our next stop is the charming inland town of Berry where we meet Cliff and Paulina at The Berry Tea Shop. Former Sydneysiders, Cliff and Paulina upped sticks to find peace in the country. As veterans of the hospitality industry, they call this move their ‘tea change’, and their new venture here celebrates their love of a good brew and the traditions of tea-drinking they hold dearly.
We find ourselves in the company of some seriously passionate tea lovers – locals and visitors alike! With a bounty of blends and other tea products in their shop (including some of the best cake we’ve ever eaten), Cliff and Paulina seem to have found what they were looking for when they made the decision to leave Sydney.
The final stop on our tour is the Coolangatta Estate winery, site of the first European settlement of the region. Today it’s alive with history, with fantastic old farm buildings that were originally built thanks to a government grant of ‘100 convicts’ in the early 1800’s, and have now been converted into accommodation. And as for the wine, Coolangatta Estate has won over 130 trophies and 1500 awards at regional, national and international wine shows.
The estate also champions local produce, and we’re treated to a regional tasting plate. Matched with wines that make the perfect accompaniment to the dishes before us, ranging from seafood, to beef, to local Sussex Point tomatoes, you do literally feel like you’re eating your way around the local area.
Perhaps there is something in the soil here, mixed with the fresh ocean air, and the rolling ocean, but the South Coast of NSW seems to be one big gourmet secret just waiting to be discovered.
Is food and wine an important part of your travels? Leave us a comment below!