Dusk Masthead

Canberra to Sydney: 12 places to eat

Megan Smith

Here are some of our favourite places to eat on the road to Sydney – all between one and 20 minutes drive off the Hume highway.

For us Canberrans, the drive between Canberra and Sydney is a not an unusual one, with most of us completing the round trip multiple times a year. As for food, always a trade-off between potentially losing time by venturing off the road in the hope of finding somewhere to eat or cruising up to the drive-thru window. Besides, there’s nothing like a good leg stretch during a long drive, especially with little ones in tow.

Just make sure to check their public holiday opening hours before you turn off!

Some Café


It’s ‘Lonsdale Street meets the country’. Some Café is a fairly new addition to the small community of Collector, which is located just north of Lake George and is around a half hour drive from Canberra. Established by partners Oliver and Lucy in 2015, the café follows a paddock-to-plate philosophy. There are chickens out the back to provide the eggs used at the café, and a kitchen garden is used as much as possible.

Allpress coffee and a pretty amazing Egg and Bacon Roll make this a must-visit.

Some Café | 5/7 Murray St, Collector, NSW | Two minutes off the Federal Highway | Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between 9am and 4pm | www.facebook.com/somecafecollector

Paragon Café Goulburn


Goulburn’s Paragon Café Image: Facebook @paragoncafegoulburn

This place is practically an institution – and for good reason! Opened in 1940, Goulburn’s Paragon Café is still dishing out homestyle meals nearly 80 years later.

With everything from pizza and pasta to a range of homestyle burgers to more substantial offerings (think Steak Diane or Surf & Turf) this is a great bet any time of day.

Paragon Café | seven minutes from the Hume Highway |(02) 4821 3566 | paragoncafe.com.au | Open seven days 7:30am to 9:30pm | 174-176 Auburn Street, Goulburn

Eling Forest Winery Cafe

ealing forest winery

Situated on a beautiful vineyard just off the Hume Highway near Sutton Forest, the Café at Eling Forest winery is a lovely stop for breakfast, a light meal or a gourmet lunch.

Experience home-style food either sitting inside this cosy café, or sit outside and absorb the atmosphere of the beautiful surroundings.

If you are after a drink, they serve quality in house-roasted coffee, local wines, or a light beer or cider. If you’re after a peaceful spot with a good choice homestyle menu, then Eling Forest is the place to stop.

Eling Forest Winery | one minute from Hume Highway | (02) 4878 9155 | elingforest.com.au | Open: Mon – Sat 8:00am-4:30pm, Sun 8:00am – 4:00pm | 12587 Hume Highway, Sutton Forest, NSW

Grandma’s at the Farm


Photo: Grandma’s fresh dips with Zater & extra virgin Olive Oil and House bread and baked Shakshukas

Grandma’s at the Farm is an absolute must stop. Right off the Hume Highway near Collector, it is located on the award-winning Fedra Olive Grove.

The menu has a Mediterranean influence, filled with freshly baked pies, pastries, their famous baked eggs (Shakshukas), salads, frittatas, pastas and kids menu items.

Perfect stop for lunch or breakfast, or just for a drink. They have real milkshakes made from homemade ice-cream, homemade sodas, barista brewed coffee and freshly squeezed juice.

All meals are made on site with fresh farm produce! Inside the café there is a shop stocked with fresh and healthy regional products, from jams, drips, pastries, gift packs, and their award winning olives and olive oil!

Grandmas at the Farm | one minute from Hume Highway | 02 48480240| grandmasbakery.com.au| Open: Everyday 9am-4pm | 5796 Federal Highway, Collector, NSW 2581

Meridian Café

Image courtesy of agfg.com.au

Image courtesy of agfg.com.au

The Meridian Café in Marulan is a lovely stop for a meal, a snack or just a cup of decent coffee. Only a short detour off the Hume Highway, the food at the Meridian Café is natural, fresh, and seasonal. All their produce is sourced locally, and all food is cook on site. This classic style café offers great customer service, serving classic breakfasts and healthy lunches – the menu is limited, however, there’s a large blackboard specials menu which changes daily.

Meridian Café| 2 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4841 1126| meridiancafe.com.au| Open: Wed-Mon 8am – 3pm (Closed Tuesdays) | 85 George Street, Marulan, NSW 2579

Raw & Wild Market Café

raw and wild

Raw & Wild Market Café is a health food store with an organic café situated at the back of the shop on the main street of Bowral.

The shop itself is filled with plenty of delicious and fresh produce and bundles of organic goods. The Café has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, with an extensive and delicious organic menu.

The wholefood café is full service a la Carte, and is open everyday all day breakfast and seasonal lunch menu.

They also offer dinner on Friday and Saturday nights with a delicious share menu (fully licensed or BYO).

Some of the delicious items on the menu include quinoa granola, chickpea & carrot pancake, eggs benedict, grilled Organic Polenta, organic burgers, risotto, salads, lamb koftas, and vegetable tagine.

The Café has many vegetarian, vegan (on request), dairy free and gluten free options.

Raw & Wild Market Café| 8 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4861 3129| Facebook | Open: Sun 8:00am – 4:30pm, Mon – Thu 8:00am – 5:30pm, Fri – Sat 8:00am – 7:00pm |250 Bong Bong Street, Bowral, NSW 2576

Flour Water Salt


Flour Water Salt is a beautiful organic sourdough bakery and café located in Bowral.

They offer an amazing range of organic, handcrafted artisan sourdough, croissants, cakes and pastries. They also have delicious gourmet pies, sausage rolls, and sandwiches for a savoury snack. They also create deli desserts, dips and more for you to take home!

Flour Water Salt | 8 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4861 7900 | flourwatersalt.com.au | Open: Tues – Sun 8:00am – 4:00pm | 374 Bong Bong St, Bowral NSW 2576

The Roses Café

Image courtesy of lickr.com/photos/adonline/11635362065

Image courtesy of lickr.com/photos/adonline/11635362065

The Roses Café is a Goulburn favourite, specialising in freshly prepared and baked savoury and sweet goods.

Some of the goodies to eat include gourmet pies, potato bakes, lasagne, quiches, wraps, pastries and extensive selection of dishes for lunch and all day breakfast.

It’s a reasonably priced, cosy café who have a great variety of food and good coffee. A great place to stop for either a quick bite to eat, or to enjoy a cuppa with some delicious treats for a nice morning or afternoon tea.

There are gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options available.

The Roses Café | 3 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4822 2248 | therosescafe.com.au | Open: Mon-Fri 8:00am – 5:00pm, Sat-Sun 8:00am – 3:00pm |10 Montague Street, Goulburn, New South Wales

Grit café

Image courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Image courtesy of tripadvisor.com

Grit Café is in Goulburn, just off the highway near the Big Merino.

The menu is filled with lots of healthy items, such as hearty soups, healthy fresh cakes, salad, wholesome breakfasts, raw dessert and homemade bagels.

Grit Cafés main motto is “life is too short for bad coffee”, so the coffee here is sure to meet high expectations.

With both indoor and outdoor seating, and a vibrant atmosphere, this is a convenient stop that is way better for you than the McDonalds down the road!

Grit café | 1 minute from Hume Highway | (02) 4822 1191| Facebook | Open: Mon-Fri 6:00am-4:00pm, Sat-Sun 7:00am-4:00pm | Unit 1a 3-5 Sowerby Street, Goulburn

98 Chairs

Image courtesy of 98chairs.com

Image courtesy of 98chairs.com

98 Chairs is a relaxed restaurant, offering fresh modern food with a fine-dining experience in the heart of Goulburn.

They grow lots of vegetables on site, which they use in their frequently changing menu (every 12 weeks). They source the rest of their produce from local free range and organic producers.

They have plenty of seating with 120 seats available inside, on the street and in the garden. 98 Chairs is also a fully licensed restaurant, in which they stock local vineyards from the southern tablelands as well as the Canberra Region.

The menu has a wide range of delicious food, including burgers, wraps, salads, pork belly, scotch fillet, confit chicken, and share plates.

98 Chairs| 5 minutes from Hume Highway | 02 4821 9800| 98chairs.com| Open: Lunch from 12pm Wed-Sun, brunch Sun 10am-12pm, dinner from 6pm Thurs, Fri, Sat | 98 Auburn St Goulburn, 2580

Bernie’s diner

bernie's moss vale

Image courtesy of berniesdiner.com.au

Bernie’s is an American style diner in Moss Vale that comes straight out of the 1950’s. A rare find, with authentic diner charm and great food. Red booth seating and 50s style tables, art deco lights and tiled walls provide a cool décor and atmosphere.

They serve classic American diner food, which the menu includes: burgers, house made beer smoked pastrami and corned beef, subs, hot dogs, sundaes & dessert pies, shakes & floats, and classic American sides; fries, cheese fries, wings, onion rings, slaw and corn on the cob.

Bonus: Monday-Friday 3pm-5pm Happy hour, $3 fries, $5 milkshakes & more

Bernie’s Diner| 25 minutes from Hume Highway | 02 4869 1502| berniesdiner.com.au| Open: Mon-Sun 6am-10pm, Public holidays 10am-8pm | 402 Argyle St, Moss Vale NSW

Briars Historic Inn


Inside the Briars Historic Inn, you will find the Briars Bar and Restaurant, serving contemporary food, boutique beers and premium wines in an original Southern Highlands Inn.

It offers a real country atmosphere with quality food, local wine and boutique beers.

It’s a great place to stop in the colder winter months with a warm and cosy ambiance, and even better in summer with a sunny balcony overlooking greenery surrounding the inn.

Serving a range of local and fresh produce, you can find items like roast Southern Highlands free range chicken, slow braised lamb shanks and Australian salt & pepper calamari on the menu.

They also have a char-grill, where you can cook your own steak or have a chef personally cook one for you.

Briars Historic Inn| 21 minutes from Hume Highway | 02 4868 1734| briars.com.au| Open: Mon-Fri: 7am-9:30am, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 7am-9:30am, 12pm-9pm | 653 Moss Vale Road Bowral


Megan Smith

Megan Smith is a final-year University student, studying Commerce, Marketing & Advertising. Her dream career is one where working and travelling come simultaneously. Megan’s favourite things include food, friends and enjoying food with friends. When she isn’t cooking, she is generally watching classic 90’s TV shows or soaking up the sun outdoors. Favourite quote; “The grass is greener where you water it”.

More about the Author

  • Michele Walton

    Thanks for all the great spots I never knew about Megan! I really love Sutton Estate Winery (next to Mcdonalds at Sally’s Corner) almost opposite Eling Forest Winery too…https://fineeating.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/sutton-forrest-estate-wines-the-best-stop-for-coffeelunch-on-the-way-to-sydney/

    • Amanda Whitley

      Thanks Michele – we’ll have to do a part two!

  • Paulette Paterson

    What about Stones Patisserie in Berrima?

    • Priscilla Garner

      I agree that Stones is an absolute gem

    • Amanda Whitley

      Thanks for the tip, Paulette!

  • jroper

    How can you not mention the Paragon in Goulburn? Granted, it’s not the newest or classiest of establishments, but it’s an institution, Sydney to Canberra travellers have been stopping there for a meal since the 40s, before McDonalds existed anywhere in the world. We grew up stopping there, my parents grew up stopping there, everyone that grew up in Canberra has fond memories of stopping there, especially those who were grew up before the Goulburn bypass was built. It’s a crime that that iconic piece of Sydney to Canberra history is not included in this list.

    • Amanda Whitley

      We plead guilty – we’ll include in the next instalment!

  • Georgia Prince

    The Exeter General Store is also a great little cafe!

    • Amanda Whitley

      Thanks gorgeous x

  • Tina Evans

    The Book Cafe in Goulburn makes some fantastic food.

  • Trish Smith

    On the way to Sydney I like to stop at The Post Cafe in Moss Vale and on the drive home I get coffee at Gilbert’s Cafe in Mittagong. Both cafes are on the main street, free parking nearby and the coffee and food has been consistently good at both for years.

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