From utilising organic and locally sourced produce to reducing food waste with Green Food Australia, these sustainable restaurants in Tropical North Queensland are not only delicious, but kind to people and the planet too.
Tropical North Queensland is known for having an incredible array of eco experiences, and that is no different when it comes to dining. Through innovation and care for the greater community, here are some of the sustainable restaurants from Cairns to Port Douglas that are consciously reducing their impact on the environment.
Cooking with Organic Produce
In contrast to traditional agriculture, organically grown produce has lower levels of pesticide residue and is farmed with the environment in mind. Not only is this better for human health, but this method of farming enhances biodiversity, creates better soil quality, reduces pollution, conserves water, and is an overall more sustainable use of our natural resources.
The Healthy Hub – Cairns
With one of the largest selection of organic, fresh and local produce in Tropical North Queensland, the Healthy Hub’s mission is to provide nourishing, earth-conscious, sustainable eats across the community. Located in North Cairns, both the Healthy Hub store and plant-based cafe are powered by organic produce sourced from the local region. This food-court-style cafe is packed full of gourmet and biodynamic foods, at the best prices possible.
Oaks Kitchen & Garden – Port Douglas
With food as lush as the land in which it resides, Oaks Kitchen & Garden is a Southeast Asian restaurant situated just 15 minutes south of Port Douglas amongst beautiful acreage in Oak Beach. Growing organic produce in their very own garden and making the most of what is seasonal, their beautiful restaurant and Thai cooking classes (both available only via booking) make for a sustainable dining experience for the senses.
Temple of Tastes – Palm Cove
Inspired by the “produce to plate” principle, the Temple of Tastes menu favours organic products from the Atherton Tablelands. This sustainable tropical-terrace restaurant set in Palm Cove uses fresh and seasonal produce from artisan growers in the nearby highlands to create a variety of textures and flavours on your plate.
Reducing food waste through Green Food Australia
In collaboration with restaurants and cafes, Green Food Australia collects food waste from commercial establishments and processes it into a powerful probiotic to enrich farming soil. With the use of innovative technology, they are tackling climate change, fighting against food waste and changing the future of agriculture.
Salsa Bar & Grill – Port Douglas
Under the sway of the Port Douglas palm trees, Salsa Bar & Grill has created a clean and green business by sorting through their scraps and donating them to Green Food Australia. They have drastically reduced their footprint whilst creating a conversation around food waste and encouraging regenerative farming. Carefully curated with their tropical location in mind, Salsa Bar & Grill uses an array of locally sourced, tantalising flavours to bring you a vibrant sustainable dining experience.
Using Sustainable Seafood
Through overfishing, creating pollution and causing an imbalance to the entire marine ecosystem, the seafood industry has historically had a harmful impact on our oceans. However, when restaurants use sustainable seafood – wild-harvested or consciously farmed – it helps to ensure healthy and resilient ocean ecosystems for generations to come.
Julaymba Restaurant & Bar – Daintree Ecolodge
Nestled in the heart of the world-heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, Julaymba Restaurant & Bar is a relaxing oasis within the magical setting of Daintree Ecolodge. Dine on sustainably harvested, homegrown, locally sourced & seasonal produce as you overlook the lagoon amongst the tranquil rainforest. This ever-changing menu features both the tropical tastes of the Daintree and the freshest tastes of the reef, reconnecting you with the flavours of nature.
Alongside their sister property Mount Mulligan Lodge, Julaymba has been accredited by Australia’s sustainable seafood guide, GoodFish, as a restaurant that prioritises the health of the ocean with every dish.
Hook A Barra – Port Douglas
The Hook a Barra kitchen and farm, located 30 minutes north of Port Douglas, is providing quality barramundi in a way that helps to safeguard this iconic species. This Eco Certified operator farms their barramundi in Daintree saltwater to bring you everything from classic fish & chips, all the way to delicious barra burgers, fish tacos, gyozas and so much more.
Wrasse & Roe – Port Douglas
With a passion for making their sustainably harvested seafood the hero of every meal, Wrasse & Roe specialises in serving food straight from the ocean onto your plate. This carefully considered modern dining experience is in the heart of Port Douglas, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients alongside their daily catch. For those looking for a fine dining, sustainable seafood restaurant, look no further than Wrasse & Roe.
Sourcing Local Ingredients
Local ingredients tend to be fresher and of higher quality and sourcing local ingredients cuts down on carbon emissions, produces less waste, supports the local economy and creates a safer food supply. With arguably the greatest variety of food producers in the country, these restaurants are making the most of the local Tropical North Queensland produce.
Guyala – Cairns
Located on the northern end of the famous Cairns Esplanade, Guyala is a fully inclusive cafe connected to the Spinal Life Australia Healthy Living Centre. Acting as an integration between the broader community and the non-profit facility, the thoughtful Guyala menu is constructed of locally sourced and Indigenous ingredients, intending to inspire, boost inclusivity and bring healthy sustenance to all who visit.
CC’s Bar and Grill – Cairns
CC’s Bar and Grill is inspired by the ruggedness of the Australian outback with a large focus on their famous steak sourced locally from the Atherton Tablelands. Equipped with climate calorie information beside each dish, their menu allows you to immediately see whether the ingredients in your meal are locally or ethically sourced, have come from Indigenous producers, are sustainably grown or caught, have minimised waste, or have been supplied in eco-friendly packaging. This earth-conscious restaurant is filled with flavoursome and hearty dishes intended to redefine the typical steakhouse.
Harbourside Bar & Kitchen – Cairns
Harbourside Bar & Kitchen interprets global cuisine with the use of tropical, locally sourced, and eco-conscious ingredients from farmers and local suppliers. This award-winning, sustainable restaurant in Cairns overlooks the Coral Sea, with the most extensive list of organic, biodynamic, ecologically sustainable wines in the region.
Ochre – Cairns
One of the most innovative modern restaurants in Australia, Ochre prides itself on leading the way for socially responsible and sustainable dining. Ochre lowers their carbon footprint and supports the community through many initiatives, such as utilising wild-harvested meat and native bush foods from local suppliers. They also replace plastic with innovative reusables, lead the way in the ‘straw no more campaign’ and separate their recyclables for a local charity. This sustainable restaurant is more than just the everyday dining experience.
Removing single-use products with Plastic Free Cairns
Plastic Free Cairns is a community project working directly with suppliers, manufacturers, and local food retailers to assist them with making the switch from single-use plastics to sustainable alternatives. In partnership with the non-profit Boomerang Alliance, Plastic Free Cairns has created a list of establishments that are working to make eco-friendly changes and create a cleaner environment.
Turtle Rock Cafe – Cape Tribulation
Situated just 400m from the coast where the rainforest meets the reef, Turtle Rock Cafe and Bar is an outdoor eatery offering fresh & delicious meals in the heart of Cape Tribulation. Operating in this delicate rainforest ecosystem and being a member of Plastic Free Cairns, the team at Turtle Rock are incredibly eco-conscious; switching to compostable or biodegradable packaging, cutlery, plates and cups, and sourcing the best local produce from the region.
Turtle Rock Cafe also has a water refill station which is shown on the Plastic Free Cairns water refill map; helping you find places where you can refill your drink bottle and cut down on single-use plastics.
Hi-Tide – Port Douglas
Located on the Port Douglas esplanade, Hi-Tide is the only licensed restaurant overlooking Four Mile Beach. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Hi-Tide sources sustainable and local ingredients to create their conscious menu. As a Plastic Free Cairns champion, this is one of the few restaurants in Port Douglas that have successfully removed all single-use plastics from their establishment.
Nu Nu Restaurant – Palm Cove
Overlooking the stunning coral sea, Nu Nu is a sustainable restaurant bringing you the best of modern Australian cuisine. They are a member of Plastic Free Cairns and combine the freshest local produce from the Tropical North Queensland climate. This award-winning restaurant is the perfect place to relax in the vibrant setting of Palm Cove.