Cast your mind back to the good ol’ days, where Dad packed the esky and Mum packed everything else, aside from the kitchen sink. You all hopped in the car for a classic weekend cook-up.
No matter where you’re from, every Aussie family holiday or long weekend deserves a memorable barbecue. Pick a spot anywhere along The Esplanade at Bargara, from Christensen Park at The Basin to Nielson Park Beach, and even the most hardened of grill masters will feel a sense of nostalgia.
But if you want to barbecue like a local, here are some insider tips for the best spots to crack open a refreshing Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
On a quick 45 minute drive south of Bundaberg, fill your car with fresh seasonal produce from the various honesty stalls that line the road on your way to the coastal town of Woodgate Beach.
A favorite among locals, Woodgate Beach offers calm waters and pristine sandy beach, stretching more than 16 kilometres. Whether you choose to spend a day paddle boarding down the serene Theodolite Creek, reading a book or visiting lush national parkland, you’ll feel worlds away from reality.
Pack your tackle box and grab your rods before making your way to Lake Monduran (pictured top centre) for a delicious barbecue lunch. After reeling in hauls of barramundi and bass in the morning, re-energise with a lake-to-lunch plate under the sheltered barbecue picnic areas. Overlooking the glass-like waters, sit back in your camp chair and enjoy a dose of Omega 3.
Pro Tip: there’s no better way to enjoy a fresh catch than grilled on the barbecue. Lightly oil then fry skin down for added crispiness, before serving with a squeeze of some fresh finger limes.
Auburn River National Park
Seeking a sense of adventure? Discover the raw beauty of Auburn River National Park.
A three-hour drive west of Bundaberg and just 40km west of Mundubbera, be greeted by a contrasting landscape of water-sculpted granite, a picturesque bush setting and an abundance of wildlife. With a range of hiking trails to conquer, set-up camp at the Park’s entrance where you’ll find dedicated areas for campers.
Pro tip: stop into Mundubbera, the citrus capital of Queensland and home to deliciously juicy mandarins. Peel and coat one side of your mandarin in sugar and roast on the barbeque or protected campfire for a zesty treat.
Renowned for its abundant waterways, Baffle Creek (pictured top right) is the northernmost point of the Bundaberg Region and one of the lesser-known gems of our backyard. Stretching over 35 kilometers, you’ll find plenty to catch for a grilled seafood feast, including mud crab. If you’re a lover of Mangrove Jack, this is the place to be with the waters famous for this popular fish.
Palmers Creek, Innes Park
If you’re seeking a quiet evening with the family or friends, gather the troops and head towards Innes Park’s Palmers Creek and let a sense of tranquility overcome you as ocean trickles into creek. Surrounded by farmlands, this hidden gem is nestled between Elliott Heads and Bargara and offers a quiet escape without compromising pristine coastal views.
If you’re longing for a sunset feed, this is the place for a barbecue with a view. Pack your portable barbecue and the kids’ kites, and make your way to the top of a dormant volcano, also known as The Hummock.
The highest lookout point of the Region, be greeted by a patchwork of colour showcasing our year-round produce. On the horizon you’ll spot Mon Repos Turtle Rookery and the iconic Bundaberg Rum Distillery.
Set-up at the lookout near the sheltered rotunda or pop down to Heathwood Park, where picnic tables and public amenities await.
Feast on delicious local produce and experience the heart of Bundaberg from a new perspective, with a boat cruise and cook-up down the mighty Burnett River (pictured left). If you don’t have your own boat, you can book a tour on Bundy Belle River Cruises and then enjoy a family barbecue at one of the picnic areas dotted along the riverbank.
Pro tip: before heading out on the water, visit One Little Farm (page 35) for all your fruit and vegetables and sauces, before popping into Red Shed Seafood (page 31) or Grunske’s By The River Seafood Market. Quench your thirst with a cider or craft beer from Ohana Winery and Cider House or Ballistic Bargara Brewhouse.
Elliott Heads is an idyllic spot for a sunrise dip and barbecue breakfast. At low tide, it becomes a marine biologists’ dream. There are plenty of picnic areas, hugging both the coast and river, to choose from. Crack an egg on the barbie, grill up some bacon from a local butcher, or pour on the pancakes.
PRO tip: stop in at Tinaberries to buy home-made fresh fruit ice cream for on top of your barbecue pancakes. Depending on the season, you can even pick your own punnet of juicy strawberries (read more on page 65).
Weave your way through rolling hills and collect a bottle of vino at Vintners Secret Vineyard or Hill of Promise Winery, before uncovering the charming storybook town of Childers (pictured bottom centre and right) and embark on an inspired hinterland barbecue.
In the heritage main street you’ll find Bucks Butcher Shoppe (page 30). After enjoying a barbecue lunch among the shaded picnic areas of Pioneer Park, in the heart of Childers, stop by The Paragon Theatre for coffee and a sweet treat.
Find more inspiration here.
PHOTO CREDIT: Bundaberg Tourism, Matt Williams, Nathan White, Tracy Olive and Paul Beutel.