The team at Wayward Trails believe the Coffs Coast has some of Australia’s finest cafés, boutique bars, seafood and dining experiences. We ask them about some of the highlights from the tours and tips on where to eat and drink in the region.
Hi Deb. What is Wayward Trails?
Wayward Trails is a local food, produce and beverage tour showcasing the best the Coffs Harbour region has to offer. We use our local knowledge to give you the best bang for your buck, whilst focusing on fresh produce, quality venues and an awesome experience. Simply put, our trails are like a wine tour … on steroids!
What’s your relationship with the Coffs Coast?
The Coffs Coast has always been a place close to our hearts. We lived in Coffs for many years and got to experience all its wonders. When we decided to expand our business from Armidale, it was a natural progression to head down the hill. We believe that Coffs is on the cusp of something very exciting when it comes to food and beverage and frankly, we wanted to get in on the ground level. Just have a look around; Coffs is a natural food bowl with more natural assets than you can poke a stick at.
How long has Wayward Trails been servicing the Coffs Coast?
Basically, we are brand spanking new. Wayward Trails has been operating out of Armidale for a couple of years now and on the back of our incredible success up here, we have decided to expand into Coffs Harbour and showcase through our tours the best food and beverage Coffs and Bello has to offer.
You offer both a day and twilight trail with Wayward Trails. What are the differences between the two?
Our day trails start at 9:30am and finish at approximately 3:30pm. We travel to Bellingen and back for the day, eating and drinking all the way. It is a lovely day out, with a lot of behind the scenes food experiences. Our Twilight tours (starting at 1:30pm) are a little more focused on the beverage side of things, showcasing our wonderful wineries. Throw in some Dark Arts cocktails, ciders and dinner, and you get a pretty awesome afternoon out with very much a festive atmosphere.
Tell us a little about some of the highlights we can expect from the tour?
Where to start … Personally, I love the behind the scenes tour of the Fisherman’s Co-op. We feel very privileged to have this access and are extremely proud of the fact that Coffs Harbour has some of the best and freshest seafood in the whole of the country.
The sourdough and fruit loaf at Hearthfire is literally to die for! As previously mentioned, our wineries are pretty amazing (Two Tails and Raleigh Winery) and I have a bit of a thing for craft beer and cider, so for me a visit to the Bellingen Brewing Co., Mother’s Milk and Element Bar are an absolute must. What’s wine without cheese, or should I say, the cheesemaking workshop?
The thing I love about our tours is that we take visitors and locals alike to the secret spots … down the dark alleys and back lanes, to these spectacular places you never even knew existed. For this, how can you go past Dark Arts! Seriously, the place just oozes with atmosphere, and the coffee is extraordinary!
How did you decide on the places you include on the tour?
Our “Dream Team”, as we call it, are the venues and businesses we showcase on our trails. Aptly named by us, as they are all a dream to work with and produce the best the region has to offer. We were not interested in having a venue on the trail just because it fitted in with a schedule or location. We wanted the best of the best, and we truly believe that is what we have achieved.
Another criteria was a cellar door that gave our customers some insight as to why that particular product is the best of the best – the makings of that product, the process and the ingredients used. I believe that people are truly starting to realise that big is not always better. They do not want the same old tasteless pre-packaged stuff; they are moving towards flavour and buying local produce and the closer the paddock is to the plate, the better the flavour and quality is going to be. We believe people want to experience food and beverage, not just consume it.
Who can book with Wayward Tours?
As the trail features a fair bit of beer, spirit and wine tasting, I am afraid it is for the adults only. We pride ourselves on flexibility, which means that our trails can cater from group sizes of just two people to however many you would like (we have no maximum limit). How the Trails work is that we operate from Wednesday to Sunday each week, and you just book in on a date that suits you.
We specialise in group bookings and are a great option for office work parties, bachelor/ette parties, birthdays and celebrations of all kinds. We are also a fantastic option for our smaller groups, singles and couples wanting to meet other like-minded people.