In search of Wide Bays best ice cream? Hervey Bay to Bundaberg, Maryborough and Childers, we’ve searched out the best in gelato and frozen treats.
Our list topping favourites offer a product that is full of flavour and deliciously creamy. They are artisan-made by local producers and give more than a nod to the makers and growers of this fabulous food bowl region. This is the scoop, which ones have you tried?
Rather than pick a favourite I decided to bring you along on our ice cream crawl across the region from Maryborough to Hervey Bay and north to Bundaberg via Childers. It was a tough choice to narrow it down but we think we have the best of the best here for your next fix and it’s well worth a minor detour on your next road trip to stop in at a few of these!
These top gelato and ice cream shops don’t serve up mass-produced frozen desserts, you’ll find a lot of local expertise, regional produce, Aussie ingenuity, hard work and love for the finished product that goes into delivering iced treats as good as these.
After extensive taste testing, these are our top spots not to miss when you are next in need of a frozen fix!
Lychee Divine – Maryborough
Located off the Bruce Highway just south of Maryborough, Lychee Divine is perfectly situated for a rest stop on your travels and directly on your way to Hervey Bay from South East Queensland. This satellite retail outlet relocated in 2021 to new purpose-built premises with indoor tables, more display space and outdoor seating on the shady wrap-around deck.
Lychee Divine is part of Tomarata Orchard in Tairo just down the road. It’s a family business and they are one of the largest lychee growers in Australia.
Their range of lychee ice cream is made locally by a boutique producer on the Sunshine Coast and all centre around the delicious lychees. Served in a cone or tub, the plain lychee is very good but the range has expanded and my top pick is the lychee and ginger. They are deliciously creamy with tiny bits of real fruit giving texture.
Even with early and late season varieties planted, fresh lychees are only available from mid-December until mid-February so to extend the flavour throughout the year they’ve created a range of products. The preserves and vinegar, wines and liqueurs are all raved about by their fans. My personal favourite is their lychee balsamic vinegar to use as a fast and delicious dressing.
Sundae’s on the Pier, Urangan
Sundaes on the Pier is a popular spot for a coffee or ice cream after a walk on the historic Urangan Pier. We’ve been coming to this one for years but it changed ownership in late 2020 and the new owners are lovely.
The great range of gelato is made on the Sunshine Coast by Maleny Food Company. They produce their gelato and sorbet in the artisan style. The rich Guernsey milk and cream is sourced from a local family farm and then fresh natural ingredients are added also sourced within the region where possible.
The result is a delicious gelato with an extensive range of flavours. My personal favourite is lychee, hot ginger and chocolate but I’m easily persuaded to have a second scoop to keep trying out the range of flavours.
Related: Things to do in Hervey Bay
Gelateria Pasticceria Caffateria Santini
While many on our list are inspired by the local Australian produce and lifestyle, Mel and Greg set out to create a creamy, authentic Italian gelato that wouldn’t be out of place in Rome or Florence.
We love a family business that makes their gelato on-site so set out to try Santini. It’s located at Shelley Beach on the Esplanade in Hervey Bay. I have to admit to finding it a bit of a challenge to stay focused at the counter with the choice of pastries too including some incredible looking custard Cannoli that I am told are made fresh on premises each morning.
I settled on the slightly odd combination of lemon cheesecake and salted caramel while Drew’s pick was a slightly more conventional combo of chocolate and coffee. All four were really great in flavour, texture and richness but I have to say that the lemon cheesecake stood out for being really intense and delicious.
If you’ve wondered what the difference between ice cream and gelato actually is, the Santini team explained it like this; Gelato is made with milk, not cream so the milkfat percentage should be under 8% whereas ice cream is usually 14% – 17%. The lower fat content means the flavours aren’t as diluted so you’ll get a fruitier finish or more intense chocolate. Gelato is also churned at a slower speed meaning it’s denser with less air.
Mamminos has been around for years, we must have first stopped here with family over 15 years ago, back then there were only one or two flavours but it was characteristically creamy and decadent and the presentation pots that can be eaten as a tub or on a stick are still in use.
The ice cream is churned on-premises and many flavours still feature macadamias which are an increasingly dominant crop in the Bundaberg region, every time we visit lately we seem to notice more sugarcane fields being irrigated and planted out with young trees.
The ginger & macadamia with a hint of vanilla is still my favourite but Drew was tempted with the cuppa-macadamia, a cappuccino nut variation which of course I had to taste and it was darn good too. Six of the range still focus on macadamia nuts but there is also a range of fruit and other options and two sorbets that are gluten and dairy-free.
Tinaberries, Innes Park
Winter is strawberry season in Queensland and it came early this year so we detoured out to Tinaberries on our way back from Bargara. It was a bit late in the day to get fresh berries but there was time to enjoy one of their fabulous ice creams created from fruit like strawberries and passionfruit grown on the farm and others like lime and dragonfruit that are sourced nearby.
We choose to stick with their homegrown fruit, the original strawberry and tangy passionfruit. It was actually Tina who first clued me in on how to eat a passionfruit without a knife or spoon, an essential Queensland skill that I make sure to practice at every opportunity.
There’s plenty of parking and a number of areas to sit to eat your ice cream. For the kids, there’s games, pets and room to run around. During the strawberry season, you can also take the opportunity to purchase punnets of fresh fruit or pick your own once the season is well underway.
Alowichus Delicious, Bundaberg
I’ve made a few stops at Alowichus Delicious over the years. Their Bundaberg cafe is on the main drag through town and a few years back when Tracey and Mike felt the draw to expand into gelato the stars aligned and they managed to pick up the shop directly opposite to expand into. Clearly, it was meant to be.
This is where the magic happens. They bring together their mad gelato skills and the diverse range of fresh produce from the surrounding food bowl to make delicious creamy gelato that reflects all that is good and local.
It’s hard to pick a favourite from a range this size, they are also constantly experimenting so I wouldn’t want to limit my future options but
You’ll also find their gelato at regional foodie events, markets and now their store in Maryborough. I do have to admit that I’ve been spotted queueing at their adorable relocatable ice cream cart more than once.
Windmill Cafe, Bargara
Located in the heart of Bargara, just a block back from the beach is the distinctive Windmill Cafe. In addition to its diverse breakfast and lunch menu, the gelateria counter offers a wide range of flavours from the Nannas Pantry range all made locally in Bundaberg utilising local produce. In the range, you’ll also find dairy-free sorbet, gluten-free options and rich creamy flavours.
We popped in recently and enjoyed a selection from the range including the rich dark chocolate, mint chip, Mon Repo which featured refreshing pear and ginger and what could be more iconically Bundy than a rum and raisin? If you are having trouble making your choice they’ll also offer your a taster to make it easier.
So who did we miss? Do you have a favourite ice cream shop, maker or flavour we need to try out for a place on the list?
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