“G’day mate! Ya going veggo, hey?”
That’s not an uncommon phrase in the land down under, especially to those on the plant-based path!
Going vegan in Australia is simple, but it can bring some challenges depending on your location and how diverse you’d like your lifestyle to be.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best resources to help you do it right.
Thriving as a vegan in Australia’s top destinations
98% of Australia’s population lives on the coast. Traveling from city to city in Australia is simple and can be cost effective if you plan your trip around Australia in advance.
Aussies tend to be a very friendly people, and many seek exciting experiences, love the outdoors, and enjoy living a healthy lifestyle.
Because of this friendliness and the egalitarian society, many restaurants are naturally inviting to the vegan diet and are happy to accommodate when possible.
However, finding the vegan restaurants and shops in Oz can sometimes be difficult.
Find below the major cities and top destinations of Australia and some delicious vegan standouts in each one:
The quiet hills of Adelaide in South Australia are home to some of the country’s best wine and quaintest living. But the city is also home to beautiful food of the vegan variety.
Give these a try: Veggo Sizzle, Ayla's Café and Chianti.
Located in the heart of the outback, Alice Springs is isolated from the major cities on the coast. This historic home to legendary hiking routes and dry-river boating also offers several acclaimed vegan eateries.
Give these a try: Page 27 Café and Tea Shrine.
Queensland is known as the tropical fruit capital of the world, and for very good reason. In Far North Queensland, Cairns is home to countless tropical fruit groves and farms at every turn.
In addition to the shops listed below, if you find yourself traveling across Cairns, it’s likely you’ll stumble on a delectable fresh fruit or veg vendor on the roadside!
Give these a try: Snoogies Health Bar, Waffle On, and Tamarind.
As the capital city of Australia, Canberra has over 70 vegan-friendly restaurants for its 400,000+ residents. But be prepared to build your own meal at many of them, as dedicated vegan restaurants are few and far between.
Give these a try: Blu Ginger, Sweet Bones, and Utopia (previously named Kingsland).
Brisbane is located in the subtropics of southeast Queensland and has plenty of veggo options to go around.
Give these a try: Vege Rama and The Green Edge.
I also must mention the amazing markets that pop up each week around Brisbane. If you’re in Brissy on the weekend, try the New Farm, Milton and West End Markets for fresh local fruits, vegetables, and treats. If you’re there during the week, pop by the City Markets for a midday lunch or snack.
For more delicious vegan food in Brisbane, visit this page on the city's official website.
Australia’s Northern Territory boasts some eclectic and mouth-watering vegan options, including one extra-special plant-powered food truck!
Give these a try: Eat at Martin’s, Simply Foods, and the Buda Bar food truck.
Upon entering the Gold Coast, you can feel the sun on your skin and the taste of sea salt in the air. And this big-time beach town has your vegan needs covered.
Give these a try: Greenhouse Canteen, Cardamom Pod, and Bootleg Juice Bar.
Located on the south coast of Tasmania, capital city Hobart is home to a landscape of rugged mountains and wild ocean. And while you might be hard-pressed to find a restaurant specializing in vegan-only cuisine, there’s no shortage of plant-based dining here.
Give these a try: Veg Bar, Heartfood Café, and Our Little Vegan Kitchen (vegan food van)
Melbourne is the definition of “cool.” Walk through the city to find outstanding works of art in the form of graffiti on the side of buildings, musicians perfecting their crafts on the street, and specialty restaurants delivering beauty on each plate. These are just a few of the many things to do in Melbourne.
Give these a try: Smith & Deli, Matcha Mylkbar, and Trippy Taco.
Perth has heaps of vegan-friendly restaurants buried within its streets, including many with a great view of the vast Indian Ocean.
Give these a try: Loving Hut, Something Raw Café, and C Restaurant.
Find a full list of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants on the Vegan Perth directory.
The iconic city of Sydney is full of amazing sights, bright lights, and mouth-watering vegan goodies.
The epitome of big city living, Sydney’s vegan options range from charming local juice bars to elegant, award-winning vegan Chinese restaurants.
Give these a try: Bodhi, Mother Chu's Vegetarian Kitchen, and Soul Burger.
Venturing beyond Sydney? Use this vegan and eco-friendly guide to plan a side trip to the Blue Mountains!
Trying these wonderful restaurants is great, but what if you want to cook at home?
You’ll find all the ingredients necessary for a complete vegan meal plan at your local Coles or Woolworths supermarket. If you’re going the organic route, try visiting Fundies or Wray Organics for more options.
Favourite food cooperatives
Peppered around Australia are some amazing cooperative organizations, where the community will grow (or source) and distribute fresh, local, healthy food to others.
It’s a great alternative to the grocery store, and many organizations are largely run by volunteers. You’ll be supporting local growers and eating healthy and staying vegan in Australia at the same time.
Often you can buy in bulk, and many co-ops will offer online ordering as well. Just imagine how you'd feel walking away with 20kg (44 pounds) of bananas!
Find below some co-ops across Australia:
Bathurst Wholefood Co-operative
Best Apps for Eating Vegan in Australia
When traveling in Australia, it’s likely your computer won’t be handy for research 24/7. Here are three apps perfect for helping you stay on the plant-based path while on the go as a vegan in Australia.
Is It Vegan?
Excellent for new vegans or those interested in simply eliminating animal products from their diet.
The Is It Vegan? app categorizes the ingredient based on a search, or the product by reading the barcode, then tells you whether the item you’ve chosen is “Definitely Not Vegetarian” or “Definitely Vegan!”
You can also help out the community and upload your own products, growing the list of hundreds of thousands of products already available on the app.
Get the Is It Vegan? app on iPhone | Android
Locating the best vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants in Australia has never been easier. Vegman is a fun and user-friendly app that helps you to discover your new favorite vegan joint.
Using their companion website, you can also write reviews on the places you visit, upload images of your favorite dish, and leave a rating to help others using the app.
*To verify the data is correct and the shop is open, I recommend you call the restaurants found in the app before visiting.
Powered by the largest independent packaged foods database in Australia, the FoodSwitch app helps you learn what’s really hiding inside the food you enjoy. Knowing what’s in your food helps you make better choices for yourself and your family.
Scan your packaged item and see how the traffic-light-style labeling allows for easy identification of how foods are rated according to healthfulness.
The mandated Health Star ratings listed on food labels in Australia also show within the app, providing consistency and helping you keep your overall vegan nutrition in check.
Get the FoodSwitch app on iPhone | Android
Make some new mates: how to volunteer as a vegan in Australia
As you likely already know, being vegan is about more than the diet. It’s about a full lifestyle of conscious decisions.
There are plentiful opportunities to volunteer while in Australia, depending on your length of stay.
Here are some of the most popular opportunities to volunteer while in Australia:
● Volunteer your time to help rescued farmed animals at Edgar's Mission
● Lend a hand with conservation at the Great Barrier Reef
● Lots of chances to help through GoVolunteer
● Plenty of volunteer opportunities at Conservation Volunteers
Find support through Facebook: join a vegan community
Whether you’re traveling through, living in, or simply visiting Australia soon, it’s ultra-helpful to find support on Facebook!
Check out these location-based vegan Facebook groups for news, restaurant suggestions, and inspiration for staying vegan strong.
Vegans in Australia (Australia-wide vegan community)
Vegan ACT - Canberra, Australia
Raw Vegans of Cairns & Tropical Queensland
Now you have some expert recommendations on vegan restaurants, you know how to find the best Australian cafés using your phone, you’re set to volunteer, and you’ve found your community on Facebook.
You're all set to make the most of life as a vegan in Australia!
And just remember, even some of the big chains can be veganized with a few tweaks - See Starbucks, for example.
What’s left? Broaden your horizons and embark on a vegan tour through the land down under! There’s really nothing like it.
About the Author
Brian Isaac is a world traveler and health-living connoisseur in Brisbane, Australia. Brian owns an eco-friendly marketing business and loves to visit the beach, cycle through the city, and walk amongst the rainforest. You can follow him on Twitter.
Hey – what about Hobart, Tasmania – missed a capital city off the list. Great article but can I suggest Currimbin Wildlife Sanctuary is more of a tourist attraction and zoo than it is a sanctuary – not a place that vegans averse to zoos would visit. There are a number of farm sanctuaries around Australia who may welcome volunteers though.
Oh, thanks very much for letting me know about Currimbin, Karen! Can you suggest any ethical farm sanctuaries in particular, or any restaurants in Hobart?
Thanks for your message and for pointing these out! I’ve updated the article with some new recommendations and the changes should go live soon.
Australia has a very meat-heavy culture and you often feel excluded.
I’m sorry to hear that you feel excluded in Australia. Unfortunately, the same could be said for vegans living just about anywhere in the world, since we are still a small (but growing!) minority in a world of meat eaters. Nevertheless, the world is becoming more vegan-friendly every day, and that’s certainly true in Australia. Have you tried seeking out vegan meetups and potlucks in your area? You would probably feel much more included at these kinds of events.
Just to update you – Our Little Vegan Kitchen no longer operates in Hobart – business has closed. But there are some other wonderful mobile vegan food vendors in Hobart including Harissa Hobart https://www.facebook.com/HarissaHobart/ who move to various markets, events and festivals in and around Hobart. You can find details on their Facebook page. You also missed Straight Up and Bury Me standing – both have great vegan food cafes/bakeries.
Thank you for the updated info, Vanessa! I appreciate it.