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Grand Pacific pit stops – your guide to 6 cool cafes

Grand Pacific pit stops – your guide to 6 cool cafes
Coffee Eat

BALD HILL

The Flying High Cafe

Now you can enjoy great coffee and a great view! The Flying High Cafe has pride of place in a new amenities block, part of a $5.3 million revamp of the Bald Hill Lookout Reserve. This new hole-in-the-wall cafe is the permanent partner of the famous Bald Hill Ice Cream van, which has been delighting visitors with hot dogs and ice-creams for 30 years. The Flying High Cafe serves sandwiches (freshly made daily), fish and chips, buffalo wings, pulled pork and beef ‘Gliders’ and the scrumptious Flying High Burger. The baristas whip up a mean King Carlos coffee, which you can then enjoy at a table in the sun, overlooking one of the finest views in the world – along the Sea Cliff Coast, to where the Illawarra Escarpment meets the Pacific Ocean.

STANWELL PARK

The Palms Cafe

In the fickle world of cafes, the Palms has stood the test of time. And it’s easy to see why. A mug of flat white here is just the kickstarter your day needs. “Delicious food, great coffee and good service are a top priority every day,” says Jo Draper, who runs the cafe with her husband, Ian. The couple brought their experience of working at a Napa Valley vineyard in California to bear at the Palms, which is now 13 years old, and remains a popular brunch and lunch venue for faithful locals and visitors. Tall palm trees line the grassy verge, its sunny courtyard has views of the escarpment and you can combine a cuppa with a browse through eclectic giftshop Vertu, Articles Fine Art Gallery and Boho Chic and Boho Emporium, all in the same complex.
A changing specials board allows the chefs to get creative with fresh seasonal produce.
“On the menu, our honey mustard beef brisket roll and Japanese noodle pancakes are firm favourites,” Jo says.
We love the delicious healthy breakfast bowl, with coconut-infused wild rice and oat muesli, greek-style natural yoghurt, chia seeds, pistachios and fresh fruit.
Other enticing bunch options are the mushroom tortilla wrap (with quinoa, haloumi, kale and red chilli yoghurt swirl), french crepes (with strawberry and vanilla compote, plus freshly whipped cream) and thyme roasted roma tomatoes with crispy smokehouse bacon.
111 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, open breakfast and lunch, Thurs-Mon 9am-4pm, (02) 4294 3371

THIRROUL

Thirroul Beach Pavilion

The historic Thirroul Beach Pavilion has enjoyed a makeover, complete with new cafe. It is a perfect spot to watch the rolling surf and passing parade over coffee and a bite to eat. The menu is well pitched, with many choices to suit all. We enjoyed the pan-fried Atlantic salmon with beetroot puree, watercress, shaved fennel and orange salad, quinoa and salsa verde. Destined to be a summer hit for locals and visitors alike.
Thirroul Beach, 7am-5pm daily, 0401 193 591

Buck Hamblin

Cafe owner Luke Barrett has lovingly reimagined the old Buck Hamblin shoe store as “a new space to gather, eat and be merry”. The interior cleverly features the original shelving, typography and pastel palette. We tried the “Buck Bowl” with poached eggs, pearl couscous, kale, roast cauliflower, pickled fennel and sourdough. Buck’s is licensed and open until 7pm on Thursday through to Saturday for a cheeky wine.
260 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul; Sun-Wed 7am-4pm; Thu-Sat 7am-7pm

HELENSBURGH

Lime Leaf Cafe

Nestled in Sunrise Nursery, Lime Leaf Cafe is a lovely spot to enjoy great food and relax among beautiful plants. Some of the ingredients for the fresh salads come straight from the nursery’s vegetable garden. There are fun options too, such as iced chocolates with Persian fairy floss. Lime Leaf is family-friendly, with a kid’s platter including a sandwich, fruit, vegie sticks and a biscuit for $6. There are toys, rows of plants to explore and the nursery’s chickens to meet. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome.
Sunrise Nursery,
193 Princes Highway, Helensburgh, Tue-Fri 8.30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm

Oat and Honey

Gift and homewares store Oat and Honey recently launched their first cafe/shop in Helensburgh. The espresso bar serves White Horse coffee and an impressive selection of sweet and savoury treats. Owner Anita Trabjerg-Hill has created a calm, beautiful space in which you can browse all things elegant, from clothing to candles, from the comfort of your cafe chair. You’ll also find a branch of Oat and Honey in Thirroul.
35 Walker Street, Helensburgh, 02 4294 4244. Open daily: Mon-Fri 6am-5pm, Sat 7am-4pm, Sun 8am-3pm