MACAU: Magical Charm
AUSTRALIA, TA: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
USA, NM: Santa Fe – Downtown Retreat & Mountain Ranch Resort
PERU: Lake Sandoval, Amazonia: Mundos Intocados – Untouched Worlds.
AUSTRALIA, SA: Hopping Across to Kangaroo Island
USA, WY: The Legend of Buffalo Bill
AUSTRALIA, SA: Dishing It Out In South Australia
USA, NV: Top 10 Las Vegas Travel Tips
KIWI: Stewart Island's Natural Beauty
KIWI: Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track - Stairway to Heaven
KIWI: Sitting on the DOC of the Bay - A Campervan in the Coromandel
HONG KONG: Top Ten Must See Attractions
MACAU: A Macanese Affair to Remember
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 2
USA, Rockies: A Most Excellent Adventure - RV Trip Part 1
KIWI: Top 10 Kiwi Coastal Department of Conservation Campsites
KIWI: South by Southwest Auckland
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Campervan Adventures on the Great Tropical Drive
HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s Adventurous Atributes
KIWI: Top 10 Adventure Activities to Experience in Auckland
KIWI: The Gems and Jewels of the Tutukaka Coast
USA, WY: Unadulterated Wilderness - Yellowstone National Park
KIWI: Island’s in the Gulf
USA, SD: Famous Faces in Great Places
USA, MT: Montana’s Forgotten Ghost Towns
UAE: Abu Dhabi - More Than A Flight of Fancy
WESTERN SAMOA: In the Footsteps of Robert Louis Stephenson
TONGA: Vava’u Island Group
KIWI: Unpack, Inhale and Unwind – Breathing Easy on Auckland’s West Coast
KIWI: Waiheke Island – Paradise Found
USA, ID: Sun Valley Lodge, Ketchum
USA, ID: A Big City with a Small Town Heart
SOUTH KOREA: Temple Tourism Where Silence is Golden
AUSTRALIA, TAS: Hobart’s Half Dozen Treasures
AUSTRALIA, TAS: A Taste and a Tipple in Tassie
KIWI: Conjuring Up Some Matakana Magic
FIJI: Cavorting on the Coral Coast
USA, CA: Jamaica Bay Inn, Marina Del Rey
NEPAL: Kartwheeling in Kathmandu
KIWI: Going With The Flow - A Day on the Dart River
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 2.
NEPAL: Eat Pray Hike – Life on a Himalayan Trail Part 1.
SINGAPORE: Capella Hotel, Sensosa Island
USA, HI: Hairpin Highway to Hana and Beyond
KIWI: Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown
ENGLAND: Haunted by Heathcliff - Yorkshire's Bronte Country
USA, CA: Handlery Union Square Hotel, San Francisco
KIWI: This Restless Land – Hiking the Tongariro Crossing & Mt. Ruapehu
KIWI: On My Bike - Mountain Biking and the Queenstown Bike Festival
ENGLAND: Mark it in Your Calendar – Visit Skipton, Yorkshire
SCOTLAND: A Scottish Highland Fling
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: Wrestling Wrasse on the Beara Peninsula
REPUBLIC of IRELAND: 48 Hours in Cork
ENGLAND: The Land of Romans, Myths and Medieval Castles
SCOTLAND: 48 Hours in Edinburgh
WALES: Wandering North Wales
USA, CA: In Yountville Pushing the Epicurean Envelope
ENGLAND: On The Trail of Lancashire’s Pendle Witches
THAILAND: Sky High in Bustling Bangkok
TAHITI: Lazy Hazy Days of Winter - Tahitii and Moorea
AUSTRALIA, QLD: In Seventh Heaven
VENEZUELA: Where Angels Dared To Tread
NORFOLK ISLAND: Isle of Exiles
NEW CALEDONIA: Flavours of New Caledonia
KIWI: The Wonder Country - Campervan Ventures in Southland
MALAYSIA, Sabah Borneo: In The Land of the Red Ape
AUSTRALIA, QLD: Taste of the Tropics

AUSTRALIA, NSW: A South Coast & Southern Highlands Tasting Seduction

It was my first venture into this part of New South Wales and I was beginning to sense this three-night road trip would have a tempting smorgasbord of culinary opportunities and I wasn’t about to be disappointed. First night’s entrée would be staying and dining at the exclusive ‘Paperback Camp’ in National Park. Mains and dessert was a Movable Feast thereafter.

AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: ©Shane Boocock 2013


As Steppenwolf alluded to in their 1969 hit in the movie Easy Rider, “Get your motor runnin’ head out on the highway.”


To say riding a Harley Davidson motorbike on the first leg of a wine and food trip is bound to build up an appetite is a slight understatement - talk about twisting the throttle before drinking a bottle! We were curving our way south on Grand Pacific Drive as pillion passengers with Just Cruisin’ Motorcycles to our first port of call, Dingies Café in North Wollongong. This is simply a great spot for morning brunch on the beach.


Having lived in Sydney for almost four years in the 1990s you’d have thought I would have travelled down this part of the south coast heading towards Jervis Bay but I’d never taken the opportunity until now.


It was my first venture into this part of New South Wales and I was beginning to sense this three-night road trip would have a tempting smorgasbord of culinary opportunities and I wasn’t about to be disappointed. First night’s entrée would be staying and dining at the exclusive ‘Paperback Camp’ in National Park. Second night’s main course was an exquisite evening dining at ‘Rick Stein at Bannisters Restaurant’ in Mollymock. For dessert on the last night we were wined and dined at ‘Eschalot Restaurant’ in Berrima in the Southern Highlands – this was truly a rich menu of first class establishments.


For our first lunch stop we were seduced into visiting Coolangatta Estate in Shoalhaven Heads. Situated at the foot of Mount Coolangatta (meaning splendid view), the vineyard that was established in 1822 is the site of the first European settlement on the south coast of NSW. Alive with history, the original convict-built village is now surrounded by sprawling vineyards and landscaped grounds. Our reward was to tuck into their tasting lunch featuring local gourmet produce in Alexanders Vineyard Restaurant matched with a range of their boutique wines.


To really get a feel for the local countryside we then were taken on a Foodscape Tour around Shoalhaven – a fine way to indulge our taste senses I thought. By mid-afternoon we were heading down country lanes between towns and villages visiting organic farms, orchards and vineyards sampling from the source what’s in season and shopping at places such as South Coast Providores who make a range of mouth-tasting preserves. 


That evening was reserved for a special overnight eco-tourism stay at Paperback Camp in Woollamia. Combining unique luxury tented accommodation with wonderful food and warm hospitality, Paperbark Camp is a peaceful bush retreat in beautiful Jervis Bay - think camping for grown-ups! Jervis Bay is a nature lover’s paradise with spectacular coastal scenery, clear and calm waters for swimming and pristine white sand beaches for strolling and relaxing on. Situated amongst eucalypt and paperbark trees, 12 safari-style tents are built above the ground for privacy and comfort. Each has a spacious verandah, wooden flooring, insect screens and solar-powered lighting. All tents include an open-air ensuite bathroom with hot shower.Situated amongst the treetops to enjoy the sea breeze, our exquisite dinner was held in Paperbark’s Gunyah Restaurant. Here they prepared modern European-influenced cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown and sourced produce. As one local producer said earlier in the day, “If it grows together it goes together.”

After a visit to Booderee National Park, a great place to see Australian fauna and wildlife of the region we headed to lunch at Pilgrim’s Wholefood Café in Milton - a place that doesn’t serve meat, just lots of healthy veggies in mammoth burgers with tabouleh and hummus. An assortment of their famous pies includes curried kidney bean and lentil pies.


Located on a cliff top above Mollybrook Beach Bannisters Hotel offers what no other establishment outside of England does . . . a signature, award-winning restaurant under the guidance of the famous chef, Rick Stein. The man himself visits up to six times a year to directly choose what is selected for the menu, As he says: "nothing is so exhilarating as fresh fish, simply cooked" but after his latest India sojourn I’d expect to see a few curries on the list too.


For my first course I requested grilled Hervey Bay scallops in the shell with toasted hazelnut and coriander butter. It was hard to go past the restaurant’s main signature dish Bannisters Fish Pie:?salmon, deep-sea blue eye trevalla (or deep-sea trevally), snapper, scallops, mushrooms and prawns in a creamy fish veloute sauce with truffle. For desert I chose Ginger Pudding:?caramel mascarpone, salted caramel and hazelnut. YUM!


Day three had us looping back via the Southern Highlands to the well-known town of Bowral.  We were booked on a Foodpath Culinary Tour that firstly delivered us to Pines Pastoral, a working Angus Cattle property with all the sights and smells you’d expect in the beef business and where every steer fetches A$1,000 apiece. Among other country delights we also visited the Victoria Park Alpaca Stud to learn how it all begins and ends for this animal’s highly prized fleeces.  If you’re chasing some rural reflections then this is a tour worth taking.


What many visitors aren’t aware of is that there are 15 cellar doors and 55 vineyards in the Southern Highlands, so it was only fair that our lunch stop choice should be at Mt. Ashby Estate. Here we enjoyed a two-course lunch in the owners’ beautiful Cellar Door Café accompanied by a few glasses of Mt. Ashby wines such as their 1999 cool climate Pinot Gris. A bonus was wandering through Sally Beresford’s French antique store in an adjacent old barn.


To cap off our day’s activities there was still time to slip into Centennial Vineyards for a tour of the back of house and of course the chance to try a few tipples of their locally grown wines – they offer 26 styles of wine but specialize in sparkling wines.


Established in 2003, Eschalot Restaurant has established itself as one of the finest restaurants in the Southern Highlands. Located in the historic village of Berrima it operates from one of the most significant heritage buildings in the area, Eschalot delivers consistently beautiful cuisine with an elegant and understated sense of occasion. I started my entrée off with parsley dusted scallops, ‘beer & batter’, remoulade aioli.  My main course was blue eye cod fillet, beetroot, garbanzo garden green cake, preserved lemon and jus. I find it hard to resist finishing off with crème brûlée  . . . all accompanied by Artimis Reserve Shiraz Viognier 2009.


Lunch on our last day was at the renowned Biota Dining Restaurant in Bowral. Biota is a dining experience supporting local farmers and growers that also incorporates seasonal botanicals in all aspects of its menus and environment. Foraging as well as propagating has become a large part of their gastronomic journey with kitchen gardens and a glasshouse in the restaurant grounds to prove it. 


A trip to the South Coast and the Southern Highlands can be made in either direction on a self-drive itinerary. Ideally three or four nights will allow you to really explore, experience and escape into the region whilst sampling the best restaurants and vineyards - a cuisine and wine seduction to suit anyone’s appetite.






Food and Wine in NSW


Coolangatta Estate

T: +61 2 4448 7131


Paperback Camp Gunyah Restaurant

T: +61 2 4441 6066


Foodscape Tours

T: +61 (1)300 502 100


Rick Stein at Bannisters

T: +61 2 4455 3044



Pines Pastoral Farm Tours

T: +61 (0)418 200 138



Footpath Culinary Tours

T: +61 (0)419 617 021



Centennial Vineyards

T: +61 2 4861 8722



Eschalot Restaurant

T: 61 2 4877 1977



Biota Dining Bowral

T: +61 2 4862 2005



Accommodation in NSW:


Paperback Camp

T: +61 2 4441 6066


Bannisters Hotel

T: +61 2 4455 3044



Gibraltar Hotel Bowral

T: +61 2 4862 8600



QT Sydney

T: 61 2 8262 0000



Tour Operators:


Just Cruisin’ Motorcycle Tours

T: +61 2 4294 2598




Shane Boocock travelled to Australia courtesy of New South Wales Tourism. Go to:

If you would like to read this article in full or licence it for your own publication, please click here to contact Shane.