It was in Australia in 2002 when I decided to go vegan. I didn´t know any other vegans at that time (for quite a while actually) and hadn´t been in touch with veganism, but I had been a vegetarian for several years and somehow I woke up one morning and just knew I wanted to try.
I went back to Australia for only two months last year, so that this can never give a thorough overview on veganism in Australia. It´s just meant to show that, as much as Australians love their barbecue, there are also many vegan options available, especially in cities such as Sydney or beautifully alternative Melbourne. Australians are also quite concious when it comes to food intolerances and healthy food, at least in the cities.
Since this time around, I only visited cities (Perth and lovely Fremantle, Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Cairns and Darwin), it´s all I can write about. I will mention my favourite vegan places, which are mainly in Sydney and especially in Melbourne, but there is so much more to explore in this beautiful country, and you can get the loveliest products at supermarkets, health food stores and markets.
If you are in Perth, make sure to go to Fremantle, which has some cozy coffee places and lovely vegan and raw food (as for example at the Heaven Raw Cafe, http://fern.org.au/; Manna Wholefoods, 274 South Terrace, or the Juicy Beetroot Cafe, Tum Tum Tree Lane, 132 High St).
Up in Darwin, I expected the worst and had therefore decided to make use of such little temptation and to fast. But I was surprised to see that a paleo place with valeo options had just opened up (Rawgasm Cafe, http://www.rawgasmcafe.com). Furthermore, they had some lovely raw cakes at Mindil Beach Markets (a nice place to go to if you are already up there), where you can get other vegan food as well and eat it on the beach enjoying sunset.
Hobart on Tasmania suprised me as well with soy (with honey though) and coconut frozen yoghurt at Vita: Natur + Culture (100 Elizabeth Street), which I just had to try, even though it was winter and freezing cold (yes, I am used to cold weather, but we do have heating and insulation…and this makes all the difference).
In Cairns, I had one of the best raw cakes ever! Love & Peace (Main Street Arcade, 85 Lake Street) is a small coffee place that, at least for its cake (I didn´t try anything else), is definitely worth a visit.
Sydney has a lot to offer for vegans, with Newtown being the main area. Suzy Spoon´s Vegetarian Butcher (22-24 King Street, http://www.ssvb.com.au/) is a place you will want to go to, if you are into fake meat and fast food. They also have an online shop where you can order their products from. Some lovely vegan ice cream can be found at either Gelato Blue (318 King Street, http://www.gelatoblue.com.au/) or Green Gourmet (113-117 King Street, http://www.greengourmet.com.au/index.html), where they also offer quite a choice of vegan brownies. Next door, they run a restaurant as well serving all vegan Asian food with neither onions nor garlic used. For the pizza lovers, there´s Basil Pizza & Pasta (126 King Street, http://www.basilpizza.com.au/) to visit with some interesting and tasty combinations.
Two more places that I can recommend around Sydney are: Pure Wholefoods (5/10 Darley Road in Manly, http://www.purewholefoods.com.au), where they serve some beautiful, fresh meals and they also have a shop, and Oneness Cafe (244 Coogee Bay Road in Coogee, http://www.onenesscafe.com.au/).
Melbourne is a place vegans (and everyone else) just must love. A great area to start at is definitely Fitzroy with many vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes and shops – and some lovely alternative shops and markets. I liked the Vegie Bar´s menu – and food – a lot (380 Brunswick Street, http://vegiebar.com.au/) and also the healthy options at Yong Green Food (421 Brunswick Street, http://yonggreenfood.com.au/)
For those with a sweet tooth, I can recommend Frolic Yoghurt (365 Brunswick Street, https://www.facebook.com/frolicyoghurt), where I had a waffle with green tea and caramel banana walnut frozen yoghurt and some nutella and caramel sauce. Allergy-friendly sweets you can get at Mister Nice Guy´s BakeShop (151 Union Road, Ascot Vale, http://www.misterniceguy.com.au/). They used to have a stall at Prahran Market, which according to their website they closed recently, so that one has to travel now to Ascot Vale or order online.
Another great area to explore is St Kilda, with my absolute favourite nearby, Monk Bodhi Dharma (Rear 202 Carlisle Street Balaclava, http://www.monkbodhidharma.com.au/), a MUST! I went there whenever I could; loved the coffee, the food, the place, the attitude. The buckwheat apple pancakes with cinnamon ice cream and vanilla bean whipped cream were amazing and so was everthing else I had there.
I liked the concept of Lentil as anything (at several locations, the one in St Kilda is at 41 Blessington Street, http://lentilasanything.com/), where you „pay as you fell“. I also loved shopping at The Source Bulk Foods shops (http://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au/), which can be found all over Australia and allow you to buy just the amount of grains, spices, superfoods etc you actually need.
For those looking for fries, burgers or hot dogs, Lord of the Fries (http://www.lordofthefries.com.au/locations/) is definitely one of the places to go, with stores in quite a few locations mainly in Melbourne but also in Sydney.