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Eating crocodile is just one of the more unique food experiences you’ll find in Cairns. The area offers some interesting native foods, as well as a plethora of fresh seafood, exotic fruits and vegetables, delicious nuts and coffee and lots more. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ picks for the best food experiences in Cairns—crocodile bites included.
1. Ochre Restaurant. Many international visitors find the idea of eating native Australian animals a little strange at first but are pleasantly surprised once they try it. Ochre Restaurant is renowned for its Australian game and native bush foods like salt and pepper crocodile with prawns and chargrilled kangaroo sirloin.
2. Food Trail Tours. Food Trail Tours takes small groups from Cairns to the nearby Atherton Tablelands, where much of the region’s produce is grown. There is no shortage of food inspiration on this tour, which takes in a family farm, winery, cheese factory, coffee plantation and macadamia farm.
3. Flames of the Forest. This unique rainforest dining experience, just 50 minutes from Cairns, takes the Australian love of eating al fresco to another level. Flames of the Forest features a fresh, tropical menu accompanied by premium Australian wines and a stunning rainforest backdrop.
4. Farmers’ markets. Any weekend visit to Cairns has to include a stop at Rusty’s Market, which is held in the city center every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There you’ll find plenty of fresh and exotic local produce, including indigenous food from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stallholders. With over 180 stalls, there is an abundance of products including fruit, vegetables, local seafood, cheese, nuts and organic items.
5. Visit a tropical fruit winery. Why stick to grapes when you can make wine with mangoes, lychees, passionfruit or pineapples? The region boasts a number of tropical fruit wineries, all within driving distance of Cairns. Head to the award-winning Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery in Mossman, Murdering Point Winery in Silkwood East or de Brueys Boutique Wines in Mareeba to sample some of these unique wines.