Top food adventures in NSW for the whole family
Family-friendly food adventures can include picking a bucket of apples, collecting eggs from a farm’s chicken coop or even sending the kids to a cooking class. Read on for more delicious ideas.
Take the kids on an adventure that will make their tastebuds dance. There are regional chocolate factories that let kids get hands-on with making their own creation (while you can go crazy for licorice and whisky) and clever cooking schools focused on inspiring mini-masterchefs.
Show kids where food comes from by picking your own fruit along a harvest trail, visiting an exotic fruit orchard that runs tractor tours or with an overnight stay on a farm. And if you just want to get messy, diving into a Chinese feast with fingers and chopsticks, there are indoor and outdoor options for that too.
Be a sweetie
Inhale the intoxicating aroma of licorice and chocolate at the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory in the Riverina region. Take a tour on weekdays to learn how these drool-worthy sweets (such as raspberry licorice, choc-coated cherries and dark chilli chocolate macadamias) are made, or on the weekends get hands-on and create your own giant chocolate freckle, rocky road or smash cake.
In Corowa on the banks of the Murray River, is, like its sister licorice factory further north, housed in an atmospheric former flour mill. Here, kids can also make a giant freckle or pat the highland cows. In Gosford on the Central Coast, The Factory produces nougat, chocolate and marshmallows. It offers guided tours and, for kids aged five to 14, junior chocolatier workshops.
Is there anything more fun than the hum of weekend yum cha? Teach the kids how to hail a trolley full of delicious plates and bamboo baskets at one of Sydney’s Chinatown restaurants. Join the queue at The Eight, which sits on the top floor of Market City, and once inside, keep your eyes peeled for the barbecue pork buns and the mango pancakes. Further up the road, Palace Chinese Restaurant and Mr Wong are also cult yum cha favourites.
At Sussex Street’s playful Spice World, an outpost of one of China’s biggest hot-pot chains, enjoy quirky creations such as a doll draped in thin Wagyu slices (very Lady Gaga!), which are peeled off for dipping into a bubbling hotpot.
Pop into World Square to feast the eyes on an incredible assembly line. Workers at Din Tai Fung are on full display as they put 18 folds into each of the famous soup dumplings (xiao long bao).
Fresh is best
Tropical Fruit World in the Tweed region grows more than 500 unusual fruits from around the world. Along with more commonplace fruit such as mango, papaya and lychee, there are lesser-known taste sensations such as jaboticaba, jackfruit and black sapote. Drop in to the fruit market or take a 2hr orchard tour that includes being hauled around by tractor, fruit-tasting and a bushland boat ride.
In greater Sydney, head out for a day exploring the Hawkesbury Harvest Farm Gate Trail, which takes in delicious venues such as Shields Orchard, Pine Crest Orchard and the Hillbilly Cider Shed. Check the seasonal calendar for the best months to pick your own apples, pears, citrus, stone fruit, nuts and veggies straight from the farms.
At the Sydney Fish Market, the kids can eyeball all the seafood – prawns, crabs, fish, oysters and more – sitting on ice and help pick out what to have for lunch right there (among the seagulls and pelicans) or for dinner later that night.
Back to basics
Show kids where their food come from with a fabulous farm stay. The pet-friendly, five-bedroom at Woollamia on the South Coast is home to a chicken coop (where it’s finders keepers when it comes to the eggs), a veggie garden and miniature ponies who love to snack on carrots. Bonus points for the ‘funhouse’ room that’s separate from the living room, and a fabulous package add-on: high tea with the alpacas.
, a 25-minute drive from Mudgee , is a working merino sheep farm. Help feed the farm animals – which might include giving a bottle to lambs – collect eggs and enjoy a horse ride. Parents can also leave kids to help bake afternoon tea for four hours as part of the stay (hallelujah!) while they head off to explore Mudgee’s top-notch wineries.
Other notable favourites include Jamberoo Valley Farm Stay and Cottages, a working permaculture farm with cottages overlooking the picturesque valley, and , where you can .
Kids’ cooking classes
Most cooking schools are designed for grown-ups. But Sydney Cooking School, in Neutral Bay in Sydney’s North, caters for gourmet-minded kids aged five and upwards with a wide range of classes. Small cooks can get busy making banana coconut bread, empanadas and sushi while tweens aged 10 and 12 can add to their Mexican repertoire with chicken mole, tomatillo salsa and warm chocolate fondant. Teens are welcome to whip up an entire three-course meal while families can cook together, creating kid-friendly meals or desserts.