Visions of Australian food didn't exactly excite our imaginations before we went. Although Sydney is known for its excellent fusion-focused fine dining, we didn't envisage doing much of that, and didn't fancy the idea of ''bushtucker'' either.
Considering its antipodean location, food in Australia is incredibly, amazingly just-like-in-the-UK, with a retro twist. Yes, there are some exotic fruits available in the tropical regions, but not really that many that are not well known and easy to find in European supermarkets (custard apple was the only one we tried in Oz for the first time). Fish that go into fish-and-chips are different (barramundi was a passable equivalent of haddock) but the whole fish-and-chips concept is the same, as is the execution. Indian food, as we found in Canada and NZ, is on average worse than in the UK (the worst ever Indian meal we had, or rather didn't have, was in Australia, but this judgement is based on the average standard of cheap Indian food available) while Chinese is better.
Of the traditional, and twist-on-traditional, beef is ever-present, lamb exists largely as roast, while pork is rarer and more expensive. EVERYTING is made of beef, from burgers (obviously) to sausages (not so obviously, and not so tastily). Aussies really do barbecue a lot, and public parks, picnic areas and national park rest areas often have public barbecues, either traditional (ie you need to bring and light your own coal) or, amazingly, gas-powered ones which operate either on insertion of a small coin (20 cents at the time of our visit) or simply on pressing of a button. I am not quite sure why I find this so amazing, but I do. In fact, a public park barbecue might be among the most underrated contributions Australia made to human civilisation.
In addition to imported cattle and sheep, Australians do eat (though not that commonly) the native game in the form of kangaroo and crocodile (which is farmed). Kangaroo is venison-like, gamey and meaty and nothing particularly special (though maybe we didn't have the best quality meat); crocodile is just like chicken with a little of a fishy tang.
The food our hosts offered us in Australia was overall more basic and more old-fashioned than we experienced in Canada, although we had some amazing stuff, including quite memorably beef cheeks with dates in Queensland (I don't think it was a typical Australian food, though).
Cairns, and especially Darwin, let the Asian influence shine with tropical-fruit-filled markets and East Asian street food in abundance, most easily sampled in a variety of forms on the Mindil Beach Sunset Markets in Darwin.
Sydney lived up to its reputation for multicultural variety, and the best meal out we had in Australia was in the Lebanese district Lakemba, at Jasmin's Kitchen (see a separate review).
Australia might not have amazing local food (though it does pretty well with its influences, however beef-biased its overall tradition is), but it does have wine, and although I am not normally mad keen on New World wines, it seemed stupid not to drink local in Australia - so we did, and for some reason, it tasted better there. Tasting Barrosa Valley produce was an enjoyable and memorable experience, though although most tastings are free, one is too tempted to buy, especially the more special - and more expensive - stuff.