Kick back on the Sunshine Coast
Adriano Zumbo has found the ultimate work-life balance on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Here are his top tips to explore the region.
By IMOGEN REID, ADRIANO ZUMBO
From Travel July 22, 2022
Adriano Zumbo’s intricate creations give the impression that he is just as meticulous as his desserts, which is why his easy going demeanour might come as a surprise. Being based in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast might have something to do with this, but even at his busiest moments, Zumbo never breaks a sweat.
Rising to fame after an appearance on MasterChef in 2009, where he single-handedly made every Australian fear the croquembouche, Zumbo has held onto his crown as dessert king with a growing catalogue of jaw-dropping and equally mouth-watering recipes.
“Once you’re on the tools it’s kinda like having adrenaline pumping through you. You start getting more ideas for cakes, macarons, biscuits, cookies, flavours, textures. It’s endless,” he explains. But there’s a catch: “When you love it, you just can’t get away from it.”
Following the closure of his Sydney and Melbourne stores, Zumbo relocated to the Sunshine Coast, where he recently opened Zumbo Test in Noosaville, a humble patisserie that serves his signature-style desserts. This reset and relocation has kept Zumbo grounded but never too far away from his work.
“The beautiful thing is that it’s a place for everyone,” Zumbo says of the scenic Sunshine Coast. “The coast is a 10-minute drive from the hinterlands, so if you want to hide out in the mountains and watch the fog roll over the hinterland before going for a surf, you can. It’s all accessible,” he says.
There’s certainly no shortage of activities for locals and visitors alike. “There are things happening everywhere. Art studios, farms and factories all produce this awesome vibe,” he says.
Below, find Zumbo’s personalised guide to exploring the Sunshine Coast.
Cravings covered: Former MasterChef contestant Matt Sinclair serves up modern Asian cuisine at Sum Yung Guys Restaurant in Noosaville, a local favourite. Order their all-star dish of chargrilled chicken served with green chilli, sesame, peanut and ginger cream, and don’t miss the Watermelon Sugar High, a summer tipple made from rum, Campari, watermelon, lemongrass and tonic water.
Local gem: Zumbo says Blue Plum in Noosaville for Japanese food is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. “The hand rolls are amazing … and only locals know about it,” Zumbo says. “It’s a real hidden gem in an industrial area.”
A bit of everything: Also in Noosaville is Belmondos Organic Market which brings together all of the best produce from the region in one space. It is also home to Clandestino Coffee, Noosa’s first specialty coffee roaster who have been pouring for 10 years, and Tanglewood Organic Baking Co., which is best known for its incredibly popular sourdough bread and croissants.
One slice or two? For pizza, one of Zumbo’s guilty pleasures, he recommends trying Goodslice Pizza Napoletana in Maroochydore. “The crust and toppings are pretty amazing.” Choose from traditional orders like Capricciosa and Margarita, and a specials including Buffalo Mozzarella or a Mortadella pizza with stracciatella, crumbed pistachio and lime and black pepper on a bianche base, which are all made with wood-fired dough.
For something sweet: Of course, you can’t look past Zumbo Test in Noosaville to feed your sugar cravings. Try the famous Zumbarons, trademark V8 Vanilla cake or tangy Passion Fruit tarts.
Morning brew: One Block Back in Moffat Beach is one of Zumbo’s go-to joints for coffee. For those looking for something other than a caffeine hit, perhaps their famous deep-fried ice cream will do the trick.
Best trail: When Zumbo has time to catch his breath, the first thing he does is take a walk through Noosa National Park to Hell’s Gates. The 60-minute walk promises dramatic views of the surrounding cliffs. “Just being next to something so powerful is incredible,” he says.
Surf watch: One of his favourite vantage points is the old Point Cartwright Lighthouse in Mooloolaba Beach, which is perfect for catching the sunset. There, he says, you often watch daredevils surfing the waves below the cliffs, but you won’t be finding Zumbo surfing.
“I just love watching people do what they love,” he says. “You have to be pretty gutsy to go out there and do that, but it’s mindless relaxation for me.”
Family-friendly beaches: You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to planning a family day out. “Everywhere up here is designed with families in mind. Whether it’s by Noosa River or by the beach, there’s going to be a spot suitable for kids.” Zumbo’s go-to spots are Noosa Main Beach and Coolum Beach.
Unwind in the hinterlands: Zumbo recommends staying at Spicers Tamarind Retreat in the hinterland town of Maleny where a soothing Asian ambience permeates throughout the stunning grounds and its beautiful rooms.
“It’s perfect for relaxing and being at one with yourself,” says Zumbo, who has stayed there twice. “You can hear all the wildlife from the surrounding rainforest and the cabins are incredibly comfortable. The bathtub is amazing.”
It’s a place where you can “blank out and just listen to nature” while enjoying the spa, which has a tailored menu including hydrotherapy treatments, aromatherapy massages and facials.
Later, make a reservation at The Tamarind restaurant where chef Dan Jarrett uses local produce in a menu inspired by the traditional sweet, sour and spicy flavours Asian cuisine is known for.
Spicers also offers cooking classes and experiences including a guided waterfall tour.
“It’s very much that kind of place where people go to be a bit more spiritual,” Zumbo says. “Their spa treatments and various walking tours are highly recommended.”
Article reposted from The Australian 22 July 2022