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25+ places to eat on the way Canberra to Sydney that aren’t Macca’s

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We love us a Quarter Pounder but sometimes you want to mix it up a little. So here are some of our favourite places to eat on the road to Sydney that aren’t Macca’s—all within half an hour’s drive from the Hume Highway.

For Canberrans, the drive between Canberra and Sydney is 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!

The Press Shop

Would you like stationery with your latte? When you see it lined up in all its handcrafted glory in The Press Shop it will make perfect sense.

The menu is a locavore’s delight—everything from the meat, mushrooms, vegetables and even spring water are sourced from the region.

And if you happen to need some bespoke stationery created on a vintage letterpress, then wander into the artist’s studio…

5/391-397 Bong Bong Street, Bowral | 30 mins from Hume Highway | thepressshop.com.au

Paragon Café Goulburn

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.

174-176 Auburn Street, Goulburn | Seven minutes from the Hume Highway |(02) 4821 3566 | paragoncafe.com.au 

Eling Forest Winery Cafe

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.

12587 Hume Highway, Sutton Forest | One minute from Hume Highway | (02) 4878 9155 | elingforest.com.au

Meridian Café

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 cooked 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.

85 George Street, Marulan | 2 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4841 1126

Raw & Wild Market Café

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 à la carte, and is open every day with all-day breakfast and a seasonal lunch menu.

250 Bong Bong Street, Bowral | 8 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4861 3129| rawwild.com.au

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 as well as delicious gourmet pies, sausage rolls, and sandwiches for a savoury snack.

They also create deli desserts, dips and more for you to take home!

374 Bong Bong St, Bowral | 23 minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4861 7900 | flourwatersalt.com.au 

South Hill Kitchen

Billed as “simple food done right”, South Hill Kitchen offers a delicious range of breakfast and lunch options in Bowral.

Shop 1, Bong Bong Street, Bowral | 4861 7411 | southhillkitchen.com.au

Some Café

It’s ‘Lonsdale Street meets the country’. Some Café is a must try in 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.

5/7 Murray St, Collector | Two minutes off the Federal Highway | facebook.com/somecafecollector

The Roses Café

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

Some of the goodies to eat include home-made 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.

59 Verner Street, Goulburn | Three minutes from Hume Highway | (02) 4822 2248 | therosescafe.com.au

Grit Café

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!

6 Sowerby St, Goulburn | One minute from Hume Highway | (02) 4822 1191| Facebook 

Bernie’s Diner

Bernie’s is an American-style diner in Moss Vale that comes straight out of the 1950s.

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 and dessert pies, shakes & floats, and classic American sides; fries, cheese fries, wings, onion rings, slaw and corn on the cob.

402 Argyle St, Moss Vale | 25 minutes from Hume Highway | 02 4869 1502 | berniesdiner.com.au

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 ambience, 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.

653 Moss Vale Road, Bowral | 21 minutes from Hume Highway | 02 4868 3800 | briars.com.au

And then there’s…

Gumnut Patisserie 

Shop 7, Grand Arcade, Bong Bong St, Bowral

Corner of Cavendish &, Dalton St, Mittagong


Olive View Café and Restaurant at Fedra Olive Drove

5796 Federal Hwy, Collector


The Historic Bushranger Hotel

24 Church St Collector



42 Cork St, Gundaroo



175 Auburn St, Goulburn


Café Book

140a Auburn Street, Goulburn


The Midge Tallong

90 Caoura Road, Tallong


The Shaggy Cow

112 Main Street. Mittagong



105 Main St, Mittagong


Highlands Merchant

405 Argyle Street, Moss Vale


Bundanoon Hotel

6-18 Erith Street, Bundanoon


Exeter General Store

1 Exeter Road, Exeter


Magpie Café Berrima

28 The Old Hume Highway, Berrima


The Old Hume Cafe

78 Yass Street, Gunning


Have we missed your favourite? Email editor@hercanberra.com.au and let us know!

Feature image of The Press Shop by Tim Bean Photography.

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11 Responses to 25+ places to eat on the way Canberra to Sydney that aren’t Macca’s

jroper says: 19 November, 2015 at 9:53 pm

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.

Trish Smith says: 13 April, 2016 at 3:05 pm

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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