The hardest part when travelling is knowing where you can eat or where you can shop (i.e. knowing what supplies or items you can buy) – in town you’ve never been to before! No need to worry here, we have done the hard work for you!
Travelling on one of Australia’s most scenic roads Tourist Drive 33 (for more information see our guide ‘The Best Scenic Drive for Campers – Tourist Drive 33’) is perhaps one of the easiest ways to travel and explore a myriad of destinations and places, simply because there are a variety of places to enjoy a meal and snacks, shops to purchase some basic supplies, and galleries to do a little gift shopping too, and to suit any budget. But you need to know where you can shop first and what a venue offers. Here’s our guide for the most popular eateries, shops and galleries along Tourist Drive 33.
- Cafe (outdoor seating)
- Petrol station
- Shop (service station shop)
- Gift and souvenir shop (gallery)
- Food price range $4 – $12
Jerry’s Cafe is a popular stopping point for motorcyclists on Tourist Drive 33. Here you can stock up on fuel and snacks or have a bite to eat al fresco – in the outdoor seating area of the cafe, this is the place to spy a fancy motorbike or two! Snacks range from meat pies ($5.50), sausage rolls ($4), hot chips ($5), burgers ($10), to quiches ($5.50). Even if you’re not in the mood for a snack, this is a great spot to have a stroll – in Jerry’s cafe’s quaint gallery at the back of the shop, wander with a coffee, and perhaps purchase a gift. With a range of artisan products, you might even find a new gift for yourself, whether it be handmade soaps, clothes, small furniture items or other interesting arts and crafts products.
Great Northern Trading Post
- Cafe (undercover outdoor seating)
- Band area (indoor live performances)
- Petrol station (restocks gas)
- Sells ice
- Food price range $7 – $26
- Includes a kids menu
The GNTP cafe is open every day of the week for lunch, Thursday to Sunday for dinner and they now offer a weekend breakfast menu. The sandwich bar and coffee machine operate every day. This sleepy town of Laguna comes alive when live acts perform at the GNTP, as it includes a stage area too. Bands perform on most Friday nights. There are a variety of snacks and meals here, such as pasta meals – lasagnas ($24), tandoori chicken bun ($18), garlic bread ($8), fries ($7) and bacon and egg roll ($12). And a variety of burgers, which include Portuguese, chicken, pulled pork, and veggie burgers. They also include gluten-free and vegetarian options. The menu is subject to change, and the trick to knowing what’s available is to view their Facebook page (as recommended by GNTP too).
- Cafe (outdoor seating)
- Historic sites (on property)
- Food price range $8 – $38
- Includes a kids menu
Set on acres of lush fertile country land, Mulla Villa is a historic homestead and is a must visit experience, even for just a coffee. If you’re in the mood for something a little more substantial (which offers quality ingredients and locally sourced vegetables), this is the place to visit. Or if you’re in the mood for a light snack, Mulla Villa also provides a cafe too (cafe and restaurant food can be ordered in either setting – outdoors or indoors). The scones are house-made, paired with certified organic strawberry jam ($8), other options include chips and aioli ($6), bruschetta ($12), pork sliders ($15), duck pie ($18), soups ($16) and chicken burritos ($18). For more information view their breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and for wine options too.
However, what’s interesting about this place, is that while you can enjoy great comfort food – you also have the opportunity to walk off the extra pounds you may have gained while eating here. They have a walking track – which is a 20-minute stroll through lush nature surrounds, although it ends up being more, as you’ll end up exploring the property further, as there are other sites to see. Worth viewing are the convict holding cells, the remains of the original Great North Road – with pick marks, and a convict built wooden bridge. Perhaps you might light to work up an appetite and visit their restaurant. Main meals range from rump steak, crispy skin salmon, beef curry and port cutlets (including a variety of vegetables with the dishes). They also include gluten-free and vegetarian options. This is a great venue if you’re looking for a quality meal and a fantastic scenic location.
There are a variety of eateries to choose from in this historic and peaceful village and also a couple of galleries to explore, including an Aboriginal art gallery. There are also many places to buy gifts from especially if you visit during market days – as there are a multitude of items on display that make shopping fun – see our article – A Guide to Wollombi Village and Its Market. The first venue you approach in Wollombi village travelling from Sydney is Wollombi Tavern. All listed below are affordable choices, however, if you’re in need of a little upmarket dining head to Grays Inn and visit the Panino Restaurant.
Grays Inn – set in a beautiful historic sandstone building, as well as Noyce Brothers Cellar Door, houses the Panino Restaurant (see the website for opening hours and menu) which offers a range of Italian style food. Both al-a-carte and al fresco options are available. During the day the café offers a more casual menu which includes; pizzas, pasta, hamburgers and salads, home-made fresh cakes, pastries, biscuits and coffee. During the evening the al-a-carte menu offers, for example, entrees such as grilled scallops with caramelised balsamic leek lime and chive dressing ($29) and a main; roast Berkshire pork belly rubbed with rosemary, fennel and garlic served with apple eschalot, sage compote and crispy sweet potato wedges ($38). It is licensed and BYO.
Wollombi Tavern – is another popular stopping point for motorcyclists and is the quintessential Aussie pub. Enjoy a meal and a drink on the wrap-around verandah and absorb the scenic surrounds. The tavern also includes a cafe. Route 33 Cafe, provide a variety dishes, from pizzas ($13) to burgers ($7) and Chicken Parmigiana ($23), check the above link for more food options and opening hours. The tavern includes gluten-free and vegetarian options too. The tavern is well known, especially for its signature drink: Dr Jurds Jungle Juice. Small bottle size are great for gifts.
Myrtle House – in the mood for an easy laid-back cafe meal or snack, Myrtle House offers a range of choices from the Myrtle house burger ($22), halloumi burger ($22), lamb fettuccine ($24) toastie of the week ($17) and Caesar Salad ($24). They also include a kids menu. See the above website for breakfast, lunch, evening and drinks menu. Myrtle House is licensed and provides an outdoor garden bar area. Wander in their quaint and unique gift shop too!
Harp of Erin Gallery Cafe and Wollombi General Store. This is an easy, relaxing spot for a snack and for the best gelato in town (you can even choose a gelato flavour for a milkshake). It also includes a small gallery (as part of the cafe), housed in one of the many historic buildings within the village. Snacks range from quiches ($5.50), burgers ($10), meat pies ($5.50), sausage rolls ($4), and chips ($5). The shop has a few basic supplies such as bread, milk, a couple of small baskets of local vegetables or fruit, tins and packets of food etc. It is also the local post office for the community where you can buy postcards, stamps and post mail. There are many artisan items here too, such as stationery, locally made honey, jams and pickles, skin care – natural products made from locally grown lavender, which can also make great gifts!
Best Places for Food Supplies
Once you’ve stocked up on food for this road trip, there are a few small general stores close by to Tourist Drive 33. The main supermarket is in Cessnock (which is towards the end of the Drive). In order of the Route 33 maps i.e. if you travelling from Sydney and realise you’re still in the need of some basic supplies – these are the smaller shops along Tourist Drive 33:
- Kulnura General Store and Cafe
- Jerry’s Cafe (service station type items)
- The GNTP (just a few items here, which include mainly tins of food)
- Wollombi Village General Store
As it’s impossible to list everything (and items are subject to change) – what is listed is just a guide. In all the abovementioned shops, their website links are provided should you need to make that call and check what they actually have. If you’re on a budget, stock up on grocery items before you start Tourist Drive 33 which should last you until you arrive at Cessnock in the Hunter Valley (Lower Hunter), the next major shopping point (camping at Wollombi for a weekend on the way). However, with a range of cafes, and smaller shops you always have a backup of food you can buy and you can always enjoy a snack or meal in any of the places mentioned in our guide. With the Lower Hunter Valley (or Upper Hunter, depending on where you stay) being your final destination, anything you need can be found here. This is one vast area to explore, and is where you can visit some of the most beautiful vineyards and wine boutiques in Australia!Create your own adventure!
Shelley has published a variety of online articles. With a master’s degree in Special Education, this has allowed her to write in the area of Education, through platforms such as the Huffington Post. Being an outdoor enthusiast, she is currently writing for the Weekender Travel and Kombi Lifestyle. She is keen to share her knowledge and enjoys writing informative articles that help the discerning traveller prepare for road travel and holidays in Australia. Shelley is the founder and editor in chief of Kombi Lifestyle.