The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, held once a year in May, attracts award-winning chefs from around the world. Whether you live nearby or you’re travelling halfway across the world to join in the fun, you’re sure to find food and drink you’ve never had before. But food and drink are just the start of the attraction, so you can plan a stay in Noosa to discover all this event has to offer.
The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival started in 2003. Noosa’s reputation as a quiet destination for top Australian cuisine attracted over 150 food guests in the first year. The festival has continued to grow since. You’ll find the festival at Noosa Heads Lions Park, a large area perfect for the festival’s activities. The venue is along the Sunshine Coast, so expect beautiful sights as you fill your stomach with incredible eats.
Length of the Festival
The festival typically takes place over four days in mid-May. Look up the dates of the next event to get the precise dates, but anticipate the event to last from Thursday to Sunday. You do not need to attend all four days of the event to join in the festivities, but you’re welcome to if you’ll be in town. If you can only make it for one or two days, keep an eye out for a schedule of events as the festival approaches. You may want to plan your visit around a specific cooking demonstration or a musical guest.
What to Expect
Besides the obvious food and wine, what can you expect if you choose to participate in Noosa’s internationally acclaimed food and wine celebration? Here are a few of the activities that might catch your interest:
- A variety of concerts
- Interactive celebrity-chef cooking demonstrations
- Food trail adventures
- Local produce markets
Restaurants from across Australia and around the world are on hand to offer some of their most famous cuisine. The real highlight of the festival may be the event “The Best Dinner in the World.” On the final night each year, top-ranking chefs from around the world come together to concoct a full-course dinner for lucky attendees. Wine is served throughout, with each course paired with a specific wine to bring out the full flavor of the dishes served.
Every year, the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival attracts celebrity chefs, renowned chefs and local favourites. The guest lineups change each year, but you can expect everything from Australian cuisine to European cuisine to Asian cuisine to be adequately represented. Frequent guests come from restaurants listed on the S. Pellegrino “World’s Best Restaurant List.” Some past Noosa guests have included:
- André Chang
- Mark Best
- Ragini Dey
- Mauro Colagreco
- Yoshihiro Narisawa
- David Kinch
- Shane Bailey
- Mia Daskalu
Musical acts include everything from classical orchestras to Queen tribute bands to pop and R&B stars. Past musical guests have included:
- Soul Cutz
- Jane Rutter
- Guy Noble
- Ian Cooper
How to Sign Up
You need tickets to get into the festival. Ticket sales usually begin in mid-January. If you sign up for Club Chili, the official website’s e-newsletter, you’ll have access to tickets a week earlier in the beginning of January. Tickets remain on sale until they sell out. Don’t count on being able to get tickets when you arrive in May; however, don’t discount the fact that there may still be tickets available, either, if attending becomes a last-minute decision.
Prices may change depending on the year, but you can expect a weekend Gold Pass to cost $315 per person. Daily passes are $65 for an adult and $20 for kids 13 and under. Price includes two tickets for food and wine (for adults). Gold Pass holders get extra perks like luxury seating for events and additional food and wine tickets.
photo of Noosa by I.bailey_beverley on flickr
About the Author: Rhys Martin is a contributing writer and food blogger. He’s attended the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival five years running.