Eating Australia and New Zealand


My husband and I live in Oklahoma, a land-locked state in the heartland of the United States. It’s called the heartland to make it sound better than it really is.

We basically live in the middle on the U.S., where the ground is flat, the dirt is red, and the winds come rolling down the plains. You know the song.

Our town is not glamorous. After the land run, homesteaders settled here, many of whom farmed wheat and raised cattle. Later, an oil boom resulted in a population spike. Agriculture and the oil business, along with an Air Force base, are the mainstays of the local economy.

How we landed here is a long story, which I won’t recount, but we moved in 1989, and have lived here ever since. As much as I tried to get us moved out of Oklahoma over those years, (I was hoping for Colorado), there are advantages to living here.

There’s no traffic, there are no lines at any time, and no reservations are ever required, for anything. Plus, the people here are good, down-to-earth folks.

But most importantly, the cost of living is low. As a result, we get to travel, which is why we’re still here after our nest emptied long ago.

It’s especially satisfying to cross a long-awaited destination off of a bucket list, and that’s exactly what my husband and I were able to do recently. This past fall, in 2017, we visited Australia and New Zealand.

In Australia, we bounced from Sydney to the Outback, to Lizard Island, Kangaroo Island, then to Tasmania.

In New Zealand we explored Auckland, Rotorua, Taupo, and Queenstown.

As usual, part of my initiation to these countries was to eat as much of the local foods as possible.

Of course the beef and lamb were both exquisite.

I also enjoyed barramundi, coral trout, Bondi squid, octopus, mud crab, Sydney oysters, abalone, and green-lipped New Zealand mussels.

Although we rarely pass up a gastropub, we also dined at upscale restaurants, like Quay, The Gantry, and Altitude, all in Sydney.

I have to thank Lorraine Elliott for her spot-on restaurant reviews on her well-known blog, Not Quite Nigella.

And, of course, there were fabulous wines, beers, and other drinks.

It was so much fun to look at wine lists, this one in Queenstown, New Zealand. Not like any back home.

I’ve always favored Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, but the Pinot Gris really took me by surprise.

The trip was incredible, and lived up to everything we hoped for and more, in terms of scenery, culture, destinations, the local animals and, of course, the food and wine.

63 thoughts on “Eating Australia and New Zealand

  1. Thanks for such a joyful post to read about your trip. I’m pleased you had such a good time ticking off a bucket list destination and it lived up to your hopes. The photos are wonderful, Mimi, incredible scenery and some fabulous food.

  2. Mimi,
    1989 was a very good year! We’re Okies for exactly the same reasons. I’m laughing because I came from Colorado and my friends thought I was crazy moving here. So glad you stayed and thanks for posting beautiful wine pics! The AU/NZ scenery isn’t half bad either 😉

  3. Looks like you’ve had a great trip from the beautiful photos! We have been to most of those same places during our travels and it is indeed marvellous. And a bit like home for you without traffic (except for Sydney), low population density and down to earth people.

  4. I loved reading this Chef Mimi – you really did go to town with trying some of the best food and drinks! I spotted Manly Wharf in your beer photo and that made me feel very lucky as we move into our new apartment in Manly this week 😊

  5. Looks like you’ve had a great trip! I loved Australia but wasn’t a “foodie” back then so can’t for the life of me remember what all I’d been eating there.
    As for Oklahoma – I’ve heard great country songs about it :-D . And if I assume right that the picture of hay bales on the top of your post were taken there, I’d love to see something on that scale and take pictures!

    • There’s a certain beauty to the wide open spaces. When we moved to west Texas, which is also flat and has tumbleweeds instead of hay bales, i met a woman who hated Colorado because the mountains made her chlostorphobic. I can now kind of understand that, if you’re born into flatness!

  6. What a wonderful trip! I’ve never been to Australia or New Zealand, but would love to go. One of these days! Really fun read — thanks.

  7. New Zealand has been on my bucket list for over 30 years!! Thank you so much for sharing your travels with us, it certainly does sound like living in Oklahoma does have its advantages when you get to travel like this! I’ve become a big fan of Pinot Gris wines as of late, I’ll have to check out some New Zealand ones. :)

  8. This certainly seems like a great place to visit, and I’ve only heard great things from those who have spent some time there. From the stories they’ve shared, it sounds like it a very warm culture and the people are friendly and welcoming. Thanks for sharing with us and happy traveling!

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