Best Cafés on the North Coast
Planning a north coast holiday and want to be surrounded by amazing food and coffee? We’ve done the work for you. Here’s our take on the best cafés from Byron Bay to Forster…
All coffee-loving road trips should begin in the café capital of Byron Bay, a place so choc-full of delicious offerings that it’s hard to know where to start. Some of our favourite Byron experiences include brekkie at The Roadhouse or Bay Leaf Café, and while you can grab a great coffee almost anywhere in Byron, we love The Pass Cafe for unrivalled ocean views, The Top Shop for its community vibe or the Suffolk Bakery to escape the hustle of the town centre. For lunch, Fel’s Kitchen does divine vegan delights while Combi supplies a fix of ‘Byron food’ with plenty of attractive organic, gluten-free options laced with the latest superfoods. The views and food at Beach Byron Bay are also a must.
Beach Byron Bay offers a relaxing atmosphere and amazing views. Image by Yaga
Consider yourself a coffee aficionado? If so, put Botero in Maclean firmly on your itinerary. A worthy tourist attraction in itself, Botero conducts tours of its roastery as well as providing plenty of fancy ways to drink a cup of joe. Kids will love playing on the huge LEGO table while you enjoy your coffee in peace. Yamba also has its fair share of top cafes – we love the garden setting and excellent coffee at Irons & Craig while Latitude 29 on the main street is also a safe bet. If you want a view with your eggs benny head to Marracas Boatshed Café in Iluka.
For a coffee that could change your day, we recommend dropping into Coffs Central’s Depot Café on a Friday, where you’ll receive an inspiring, happy message on your cup, along with a high-quality Will & Co boutique brew. South of Coffs Harbour, the buzzing village of Sawtell provides plenty of café inspiration, with Treeo, the Hilltop Store and Split sure to satisfy your caffeine cravings. And when it comes to coffee with an ocean view, you can’t go past The Kiosk at the Sawtell Suf Life Saving Club.
.Depot Cafe customers in Coffs Harbour love their messages for Feel-Good Friday each week
The Macleay Valley is made up of little towns with plenty of soul – the perfect breeding ground for quality cafes. Begin in South West Rocks with a delectable breakfast at Sixty Degrees SWR or Malt & Honey before taking the 10-minute drive to the artist’s village of Gladstone. Head to the Gladstone Hub to browse and grab a coffee from on-site café Steam & Cedar, who are famous for their inventive flavoured coffees (lemon myrtle latte, anyone?) and home-made cakes. Continue through to Crescent Head, where you can sip a cuppa at Surfsliders while wave watching (or whale watching) at the point. If you’re serious about your coffee head to the Blackfish Coffee, where all your single-origin needs will be catered to, or The Green Room for some healthy and delicious smoothies and fresh salads.
Port Macquarie’s cafe scene has boomed in recent years, with espresso pioneers The Social Grounds still topping our list for the best coffee. The newly opened Bandwagon also offers fantastic food and drinks (their chai is a must-try), and it’s no secret that we love the views and brews from Salty Crew Kiosk at Town Beach. If you love books as much as food, Bookface in Port Central ticks all the boxes for quality food, coffee, books and gifts. It’s also worth taking the coastal drive toward the Camden Haven and stopping in at Caramels in Lake Cathie. Don’t let their location beside the shopping centre deter you – this delightful café is one of the region’s best-kept secrets.
Take in the wonderful view of Town Beach at Salty Crew Kiosk in Port Macquarie
Often left off tourist trails, the Camden Haven is still relatively quiet, and many locals want it to stay that way! Boasting incredible waterways that snake around the imposing North Brother Mountain, you’ll find a view around every corner in this region. North Haven has some consistently good cafes, including the Sandbar or Oasis by the River if you’re keen for an upmarket lunch. In Laurieton Grounded Espresso Bar is the pick for coffee, while the Village Café does a lovely lunch. Across the river, the Dunbogan Boatshed is also a popular place to sip a coffee right on the water while the kids feed the fish.
Coastbeat loves the little village of Wingham, largely because it’s the home of Garden Grub Café, a place where we could happily spend a week sampling everything on the menu. With excellent coffee, locally-grown produce and some seriously special cakes, this café is one of our all-time favourites. Neighbouring Bent on Food also does beautiful meals served in an equally picturesque garden setting. South of Wingham, stop in at The Greenhouse Cafe in Nabiac before continuing onto Forster where you’ll find plenty of options. We recommend Tartt, Café Brass Bell or Coffee Grind for a premium cuppa. And if you’re lucky enough to be spending time on the spectacular Barrington Coast beaches, try Kembali or Kingfisher Café at Blueys Beach in Pacific Palms.