During our road trip through Australia we stayed at campsites in our rental Spaceships campervan, cooking our own meals most of the time. Eating out was the cheapest option for four months in Southeast Asia, but that was obviously not the case in Australia. Besides, although I didn’t consider this a possibility, you get tired of eating out after doing so two to three meals a day, every day, for four months. Brecht was happy to be in the kitchen again, I was happy to be eating his delicious home cooked meals once more. That doesn’t mean we didn’t eat out from time to time.
In this blogpost we’ll share with you which great restaurants we discovered in Queensland. Note that all prices are in Australian Dollar.
Where to eat in Port Douglas
After our liveaboard dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Pro Dive Cairns, we gave our new friends from Ireland a lift up to Port Douglas. Unfortunately we arrived in the middle of an extremely rainy week, so we only spent one night there. Our muddy campsite happened to be right next to the fancy hotel of our Irish friends, which made it just a tad too painful. Nevertheless, we had a great dinner at Star of Siam, with great company! We shared two entrees and four main dishes (that’s what we love about Thai food) and afterwards the bill ($30 per person). The restaurant has a BYO policy, so we got a bottle of wine at the bottle shop across the street. I can’t remember what dishes we ordered exactly, but everything was delicious. Definitely a must when you’re in Port Douglas! Be warned, it gets quite busy.
Where to eat in Airlie Beach
We spent a couple of nights in Airlie Beach for a day trip to the Whitsunday Islands. Brecht had read about Little Vegas serving great burgers, so we, burgerlovers, just had to try them for ourselves. We were lucky to get a seat in this busy little burger joint without a reservation. Lots of people had to be turned down or told to come back later due to lack of space. Some of them decided to have the burger in the upstairs bar. We went with the Route 66 burger ($19.50) and the Rodeo Ranch burger ($25). The burgers were good, but not as good as Beast Burger in Chiang Mai or Soul Burger in Ho Chi Minh City. We loved the fries! Don’t miss out on this cute little place when you’re in Airlie Beach.
Where to eat in Brisbane
On a beautiful Sunday morning we took a walk through the City Botanic Gardens in Brisbane and had lunch at the Riverside Markets. It’s a little market held every Sunday from 8h ’till 15h, with vendors selling clothing, jewellery, art, crafts, and most important: food. We tried the Japanese honey and soy chicken karaage ($5), and the Turkish gozleme ($13) from Yummo Station, both delicious. It’s a rather small market, but definitely worth a visit.
That night, after a full day in Brisbane, we decided to have dinner in South Bank. We didn’t do any research beforehand, so just walked in at Bourbon Street, a cosy looking restaurant. We both had the sirloin steak ($33 each), which wasn’t bad, but not great either. The staff was really friendly though, but you can probably find a better restaurant in the neighbourhood.
We ate our favourite food in Brisbane at the Eat Street Markets, right before watching Deadpool at the Eat Street Drive-In, a 10 minute walk down the road. Normally entrance to the Eat Street Markets costs you $2.5 per person, but it’s free when you have a ticket for the Eat Street Drive-In (definitely worth it). It’s a cozy food market, opened every Friday and Saturday night, attracting lots of people of all ages looking for a fun night out. Most stalls sell food, but there are stalls selling arts and crafts of all kinds as well. Definitely my kind of market.
For dinner we had a mini burger with potato skins ($10) from a stall called Gourmet Burger and a very nice chicken cashew nut ($12) from a stall called Bangkok BBQ. Yep, Thai again! We loved their chicken satay with peanut sauce as well, from which they handed out samples to get your tastebuds going. Before leaving we bought a huge bag of popcorn from Popper Pete’s Popcorn, filled to the brim for $10. Perfect snack for a movie.
Where to eat in Gold Coast
On a beautiful summer night we went to the Skypoint Observation Deck for a great view over Gold Coast and its shoreline. Before taking the elevator up to the 77th floor of the Q1 building we went to Alfresco, a nearby Italian restaurant, for dinner. We both ordered one of the pastas: Fettuccine Pappalina ($21.90) and Fettuccine Gamberi ($29.90). Mine, the Gamberi, was good, but Brecht’s Pappalina was better. The restaurant was quite busy, but the service was good and the staff friendly.
Although you can save a lot of money by cooking your own meals in Australia, every once in a while we went out for lunch or dinner and enjoyed being served and not having dishes to work through afterwards. Our favourite, without a doubt, was the Thai restaurant called Star of Siam, not only because of the company, but because of the great food as well. Thai is definitely the food revelation from our round the world trip. We’ve been trying Thai restaurants in a lot of different places since. You should too, and Star of Siam is a great place to start!