Off the Vegan Track: Small Aussie Towns, Cruelty-Free Food

Life doesn’t have to be tough as a vegan in a small Aussie town.

Sure, Funky Pies are a far-off dream, you have to BYO plant-based milk to the local coffee shop and nobody’s even heard of nutritional yeast. But the times they are a-changin’! Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are popping up everywhere, and there are innumerable cafés with fantastic vegan menu options.

The following are a few eateries in far-out places that are championing the plant-powered message loud and clear:

Eat at Martins – Darwin, Northern Territory

If you’re up the top end and in need of a feed, stop in at Eat at Martins! The great range of vegetarian and vegan fare includes potato pie, masala pasties, carrot burgers, soup and curries!

Oliver’s – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria

Road trip! Hungry vegans on the move can forage at 10 different Oliver’s locations along the East Coast:

  • Baxter Peninsula
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Geelong
  • Goulburn
  • Gundagai
  • Newcastle
  • Officer
  • Scoresby
  • Slacks Creek
  • Wallan
  • Wyong

Chia pods, sushi, soup, curry, veggie pockets and a variety of juices and smoothies are available to vegans (and if in doubt, just check out the vegan menu). Most importantly for your road trip, Oliver’s serves coffee with Bonsoy.

The combination of hummus, pesto, herb marinated mushroom, smashed pumpkin and veggies makes this a hearty vegan winter warmer. What’s your favourite pita pocket? Thanks for sharing @jaybeans__ 😀🍃

A photo posted by Oliver’s Real Food (@oliversrealfood) on

Zen Japan – Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

On the northern New South Wales coast, Coffs Harbour delivers the vegan goods. Take your shoes off and dine in with some traditional saki or grab a bento box to take away. Mock beef skewers, delicious gyozas, skitake marinated mushrooms and Toryufu (dark chocolate truffles and matcha) are just some of the delicious snacks available. And did we mention happy hour with $5 sake, plum wine and edamame?

The Giving Tree – Kingaroy, Queensland

In “country” Queensland in a town with a population of around 12,000 is this all-vegan gem that serves salads, pizza, pastries, burgers, smoothies, juices, cakes and sweets. Kingy doesn’t know quite how lucky it is! The café’s cashew cheese is made in house, and we think the restaurant should be trademarking the avo on toast salad. Genius!

The Plant Organic – Bunbury, Western Australia

Down on the West Coast, they got a sayin’. If you’re not raw vegan, you’re not playin’.

Perth and beyond has really been swept up in raw vegan café fare. From the capital, take a road trip south to Bunbury, and you’ll find The Plant Organic café, home to seriously good smoothie bowls, raw cheesecakes, raw donuts and peanut butter cups.

Why choose 1 cake, when you can try them all! A colourful Assortment Cake going out to a happy customer😄 Have a beautiful weekend.

A photo posted by The Plant Organic Cafe & Mkt (@plantorganic) on

What You Eat – Bright, Victoria

Tucked away in the heart of Victoria’s alpine region is this little vegan gem. Here you can accompany your vegan pad Thai, roasted veggie burger or curry lunch with a drop of vegan wine! Or stuff your face with smoothies and cakes. Or do it all. All of it is good. Plus, all the tips are donated to our pals at Animals Australia!

Tea Shrine – Alice Springs, Northern Territory

Besides a truly excellent selection of teas, there is no meat on the menu at this establishment in the middle of the desert. Daily lunch specials include rice dishes, curries, noodle soups and stir fry, including mock meats. Dim sims, dumplings, steamed buns and spring rolls are daily staples.

Colourful paos in #teashrine #ohalice #nofilter

A photo posted by Michelle Ong (@sugarocks) on

Fresh on Charles – Launceston, Tasmania

Do you like your vegan kimchi pancake with a side of comedy (and perhaps a bloody Mary)? That’s just how the guys at Fresh in Launceston roll. The menu is ever-evolving and wonderfully surprising. Can we hear a hell yeah for breakfast tacos?

Secret Creek Cafe & Restaurant – Lithgow, New South Wales 

This place is such a secret that it opens only on weekends for brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. It’s tucked away in a secluded gully inside a wildlife sanctuary that’s home to dingoes, potoroos, swamp wallabies, emus and brush turkeys. The menu is entirely vegan and includes some wicked shakes, such as the Cookie Monster (blue cookies and cream) and salted caramel chocolate brownie crunch. A seven-course degustation dinner, which includes two dessert courses and one cheese course, is available on one weekend each month.

Earthly Bakes Vegan Bakery – Cairns, Queensland 

Despite being about as far away from the big smoke as you can get, Cairns is a vegan stronghold. Earthly Bakes specialises in rustic comfort food: artisan pies, ‘sausage rolls’, cakes, slices, and tarts. Also available are smoothies, salads, and gorgeous iced coffees. Nothing says “hello tropical Queensland” like a smoothie on a hot summer’s day.

Have we missed some gems? Let us know about the vegan options in your small town!