From fresh local barramundi to trendy sushi burgers and campfire croc-in-a-pot, the Northern Territory has more than a few surprises for the food-loving traveller.
When you think of Australia’s culinary hot spots, the Northern Territory is not usually front of mind. But it would be a mistake to discount the Top End from your list of must-visit foodie trails. Here are a few of our top picks.
MINDIL BEACH MARKETS, DARWIN
Right on the beach, the markets serve fare as bizarre as sushi burgers (deliciously awesome, by the way) to the freshest oysters and twisty doughnuts Once the bellies are full, there’s still plenty to do, including Indigenous music performances, watching local artists paint, and endless stalls of unique handmade articles to take home.
GECKO RESTAURANT AT MARY RIVER WILDERNESS RETREAT, ANNABURROO
Overlooking a panorama of the eco-tourism property of Mary River Wilderness Retreat, Gecko Restaurant is an oasis to enjoy a nice cool breeze on a hot summer's day. Its modern Australian menu featuring local produce has a French twist and, while it’s catered to all tastes, it’s pretty hard to go past the mouthwatering local barra. You can easily spend a couple of hours relaxing on the balcony taking in the natural surroundings.
KAKADU LODGE BISTRO, JABIRU
The convenience of having a restaurant and bar onsite at your caravan park cannot be overlooked, especially after a long day jam packed with activities. Strategically located next to the Kakadu Lodge's swimming pool, allows parents to refresh with a cold beverage, while being able to keep an eye on the kids. The menu once again features locally caught barra, juicy steaks and salads, as well as a selection of cocktails and a good beer and wine list.
BOWALI VISITOR CENTRE, KAKADU
The award-winning Bowali Information Centre offers much more than a place for travellers to get directions. Located in a natural bush setting, the experience starts the second you take the leafy trees walk from the carpark. The onsite cafe is a great spot to grab a coffee and a quick bite to eat before exporting wildlife displays and checking out the Aboriginal art mural at the end of the museum walk.
FINCH CAFE, KATHERINE
The modern and stylish Finch Cafe in Katherine has plenty of country quirk mixed with fresh local produce, immaculate presentation and great coffee. There are several healthy options for those watching the waistline, and there’s also a selection of locally-made products if you wanted to take home a foodie souvenir.
MARKSIE’S STOCKMAN’S CAMP TUCKER DINNER, KATHERINE
This is an unmissable experience on your drive through the outback. Dining under the stars next to a campfire may sound romantic, but Marksie’s kitchen is not quite candlelight and serenading with violins. Be prepared for a night of laughter, great storytelling and the exotic flavours of Marksie’s special Indigenous bush herbs. The three-course dinner represents everything you would expect NT flavours to be about – you are served crocodile, wild barramundi, camel, buffalo and kangaroo, presented as a hearty slow-cooked meal to die for. And it wouldn’t be a true outback experience without the billy spinning contest at the end of the night!
BLACK RUSSIAN CARAVAN CAFE, KATHERINE
I am a Melbourne coffee snob, and can confidently say the Black Russian Pop-Up Cafe in Katherine does a great brew. Running out of a 1950s-style caravan, it offers plenty of quirky style along with a unique selection of toasties and sweets, all made in-house. Conveniently, it is also located right outside the Katherine Visitor Information Centre, making it a perfect spot to start your day’s adventure.
RUM JUNGLE TAVERN, BATCHELOR
The Rum Jungle Tavern is everything an Aussie pub should be. The green oasis beer garden provides a great shady area, and its spacious air-conditioned interior means there's plenty of space to spread out while watching a game on TV. There's a generous selection of food, and has to be the best pub meal we’ve had throughout the entire trip.
CRAZY ACRES MANGO FARM AND CAFE, BERRY SPRINGS
Crazy Acres is a family run, 25 acre mango farm in Berry Springs.Whether it’s a quick refreshing ice-cream stop, or a breakfast or lunch, it’s all about the healthy goodness here. Surrounded by mango trees in every direction, with almost every dish incorporating mango flavours, you really do feel as though you’re in mango heaven.