Adventures of a Celiac in Australia
Updated: Mar 3
Gluten-free on the East Coast of Australia
I was SO impressed with the numerous, fresh, delicious and safe gluten-free options at a variety of places we tried on our recent trip to Australia. Although it is essential for you to always double (and triple!) check for yourself, I was pleasantly surprised that celiac safe, gluten-free practices were in most cases the norm at places we ate. I didn’t get sick once the entire time that I was in Australia and we ate out quite a few meals over three weeks. That said, I need to repeat it here, PLEASE always, always, always double check for yourself as practices may change from day to day and person to person.
We were away for almost three weeks and stayed at four different places… so for anyone who has travelled with little kids, you know that packing minimal(ist) is essential…. However, also not one of my strong points. I did a ton of prep work, made a master list and managed to get all four of us all into two suitcases (ask my family – this truly is a big feat – the caravan needed to move me to Ontario for undergrad is a testament to how far I’ve come!). One of the ways I tried to really cut down on ‘stuff’ was through my skin care products. As you may have read last month, I recently started working with Beautycounter and a few of their products were perfect for our travels.
My top 3 Beautycounter products for our vacation in the sun:
Sunscreen – This is my go-to sunscreen because it is a SAFE mineral sunscreen without any harmful ingredients – see here for an article on the importance of safe sunscreen. I used the spray, lotion and the stick for our whole family (2 little kiddos too) – with the lotion and stick being my favourites (spray - while easy - was a bit drying on the skin I found).
Dew skin – my favourite tinted moisturizer with SFP. I love how this goes on and feels so lightweight. I’m not into wearing foundation or heavy makeup – so this is one of the first products I started using on a daily basis. The SPF is a great (very important) added bonus! It is part of the Flawless in 5 kit which I LOVE and use daily too!
Travel Companion – this is the perfect travel combo pack - shampoo + conditioner (my favourite), body wash and lotion. My husband and I both use the lotion daily and love the feel of it after a shower following a fun day at the beach.
If you’d like to try samples of these products – please let me know.
My delicious, gluten-free adventures in Australia!
Nodos – GO THERE!!! ‘nuff said. But for those of you who want a bit more info about this incredible bakery, they make the MOST amazing, gluten-free DONUTS! Fresh. Daily. Look at these beauties below… and on top of that, they also make beautiful loafs of bread – fresh – and have a variety of options. I have never seen anything like this here in Canada, nor eaten anything like this since going gluten-free. The most moist, perfect flavour and texture bread I have ever eaten. YUM! There are also sit down and take away options at the three locations in Brisbane. Everything is gluten-free here so no risk of cc. ENJOY!
Interesting fact – only six Starbucks exist in Brisbane because the locals love supporting small, local shops instead. While I do love my Starbucks, it was such a treat to try a variety of different types of coffees and drinks on our trip. My go-to was a latte with maca milk (Macadamia nut milk but sounds way cooler they way the Aussies say it! Macadamias grow there, so this milk is offered most places and a must try!), and my hubby loved the flat whites. Coffee shops usually offered delicious gluten-free (and often dairy free and vegan) options of baked goods, sandwiches, wraps and yogurts. The small coffee shops we went to even had gluten-free prep areas to protect celiacs from cross contamination.
We regularly went to SWALK – Sealed With A Loving Kiss for our morning java and food. Such a treat!
Gluten-free beer in Australia was another unexpected delicious surprise! I tried both of the beers below that are advertised as lower carb and gluten free (formulated WITHOUT gluten – key for celiacs read more here) and loved them both. When I first tried them they tasted familiar and my husband reminded me they are like Corona (having not tasted it in 9+ years!). SUCH a fabul
ous treat on vacation to actually have a nice, light tasting, good quality gluten-
Eating gluten-free at Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Conservation was actually WAY better than expected. I went to order my meal at the Crikey Cafe and the staff asked me if I was just gluten-free or actually a celiac. Given that I’m celiac she said I could choose from one of several gourmet burger options, all prepared separately, with a delicious GF bun and they have a separate fryer for GF yam fries! I enjoyed this amazing meal while watching the crocodile show. MUST check this out especially with little kids. Both my boys loved the show!
We were here for 10 days and enjoyed numerous incredible gluten-free meals in Byron Bay.
The Belongil – we started the majority of our days at this fabulous café. The maca lattes here are fabulous, it was such a fun little cafe, and 50m from where we were staying (East on Byron - highly recommend!). This place also made the BEST avo toast (called Avo Bruschetta) that I have ever had. Perfectly (separately) toasted, delicious GF bread with avo bruschetta and coconut milk feta. The best breakfast ever!
Treehouse – we stayed right by this cute little café and ate here often. Numerous gf options - delicious pulled chicken nachos (with lots of toppings like bakes beans, guac, pineapple salsa, and not a ton of cheese, making it a ‘healthier’ lunch option J), gf salads and gf pizzas. Make sure to tell them you are celiac though so that they cut the pizza separately. This place has live music most nights and you feel like you are eating in a (spacious) treehouse. Great for families too. Only in Byron!
3 Blue Ducks – the restaurant where my brother had his wedding reception – what a delicious dinner. Farm to table concept, lots of GF options, and during the day there is a café/bakery that looked incredible. I didn’t get to try it, but check out the fig and date GF bread in the pic below. Check this place out if in Byron Bay. Fun place for the kids to explore and play too!
Byron Fresh – we went here for two dinners during our stay and loved it both times. Fresh air, warm weather, live music, happy vibes, and delicious gluten-free food. The fried haloumi was one of my go-to appetizer dishes on our travels – must try if you haven’t! The salads were flavourful and filling, but my favourite was the ice cream sandwich (gluten and dairy free - YUM!). My hubby and I went on a date here one night and this AMAZING band was playing – Phil & Tilley. Such a special evening!
Love Crepes – celiac friendly gluten-free buckwheat CREPES! Sweet and savoury options. I’d recommend the sweet ones though as the savoury ones were way too cheesy and all fell down/mushed together as a big lump of cheese. The sweet one we shared as a family was delicious – the lemon, cinnamon and sugar – such a nice treat! Make sure to tell them you are celiac and they will thoroughly wash down the crepe maker.
Finn Poke bowls – such a great fresh option! Fabulous with allergies too. I loved The Big Katuna (modified to be gf - switch one of the toppings, amazing flavourful taste!).
Acai bowls – the ones we had here were good, but I wouldn’t say great. My favourite ones are in Maui (Paia Bowls! See my post here for gf travels on Maui), but the ones we had from Combi were good but not great, and pricey (I didn’t have the granola though as it had oats that weren’t safe).
Elephant Rock Café – great little café on the water in Currumbin – they had the most beautiful display of many GF treats but unfortunately my photo doesn't come close to doing it justice... I'd love to try making that pavlova - what a beautiful dessert. I had a delicious avo toast and latte. Try this cute place if in the area!
Vapiano – this place was fabulous for our kiddos. It was made to order – you got to place your order and watch the chef make it right in from of you! This was fast and delicious. The boys and I had zoodles with an incredible marinara sauce.
Finn Poke bowls (same as above – great option for quick, easy and safe gluten-free meal!).
Lastly, the grocery stores. I enjoyed just browsing the aisles. So many incredible options! Such a treat – numerous FRESH gluten-free wraps to choose from, the produce was beautiful and fresh and one of my favourite finds was the coconut milk yogurt – CoYo – we went through a lot of this on our trip. The only place I’ve found this quality (without numerous fillers) is at The Heart Café in Bragg Creek – Amarin, one of the owners makes it herself and it is spectacular.