Where to Eat Bush Foods in the Northern Territory

From croc balls to mud crabs, Australia offers many dishes one might not at first consider food. But outback bushrangers have been hunting wild animals and raising livestock for generations, while indigenous people have lived off the plants and animals of Australia for thousands of years. Many restaurants and tours specialize in such cuisine, called “feral food” or “bush tucker,” depending on what it is. If you can’t hunt and gather yourself, hit up one of these iconic spots.

Kakadu Hwy, Jabiru NT 0886, Australia
At the indigenous-owned Cooinda Lodge, near Kakadu National Park’s famous Yellow Waters billabong, grab a seat at one the picnic tables at Barra Bar & Bistro and order the Taste of Kakadu platter. It features creative bush concoctions such as crocodile spring rolls, barramundi pie, buffalo kofta and kangaroo skewers served with Kakadu plum chili sauce and bush tomato relish.
1 Flinders Street, Jabiru NT 0886, Australia
Decorated with Aboriginal motifs and located inside a hotel that’s built to look like a saltwater crocodile, I guess it’s no surprise that Escarpment Restaurant at the Mercure Crocodile Hotel specializes in bush tucker, or native Australian foods.
72 Hartley St, Alice Springs NT 0870, Australia
Before America had the Outback Steakhouse, Australia had The Overlanders in Alice Springs, a Northern Territory institution housed in the building that served as Alice Springs’ first town hall. Opened by Daphne Campbell (now Calder) and named after the Australian drama The Overlanders in which she co-starred, the place is part restaurant, part museum where antique leather saddles and framed playbills showcase the ranching and film history of the town. Celebrity fans should look for familiar autographs on the “windmill of fame.” Besides the decor and heritage, locals and tourists flock here for the quintessential cuisine, exemplified in The Drovers Blowout menu: a four-course meal that includes a platter of crocodile vol-au-vent, kangaroo fillets, buffalo medallions and wild camel served with plum sauce.
Petermann NT 0872, Australia
A quieter version of Uluru’s Sounds of Silence or Tali Waru desert dinner, this Kings Canyon spinoff offers a four-course meal in a rugged wilderness setting blanketed by the same southern night sky. The moon and flickering fire provide the only light, while soft music and rustling oak trees create a romantic background for intimate conversation. Sparkling wine and canapés are followed by a menu focusing on the fresh local produce of the Australian outback.
1 Namatjira Dr, Alice Springs NT 0872, Australia
Inside the historic Glen Helen Homestead, an old cattle station set along the Finke River—possibly the oldest river in the world—is a restaurant dedicated to Albert Namatjira, the late Aboriginal landscape painter who grew up nearby. Namatjira Gallery Restaurant serves such outback fare as crocodile spring rolls, barramundi with apples and potatoes, and pepper steak in a dining room covered in Namatjira’s windswept masterpieces.
16 Stuart St, Daly Waters NT 0852, Australia
The Daly Waters is everything an outback pub should be: kitschy but “fair dinkum” (genuine) and in the middle of Woop Woop (the Aussie term for “the Boonies”) but still offering revitalizing grub and grog. Oh and there must be beds, considering the next one could be a few hundred miles away. This ancient watering hole, established in 1893 and named after this small town along the Explorers Way between Alice Springs and Darwin, ticks all the boxes and then some. The tap beer is delightfully cold (kept at a degree below freezing), and food offerings range from kangaroo loin and crocodile sliders to chicken shnitzel. The decor is the best part; everywhere you look there are hilarious mementos left by patrons. Are those bras over there? Yup. An Irish hurling stick? Yeeeaah. Why is that weird?
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