As local Guides in the North Sydney area, hosting tours for predominantly overseas visitors, our Guides and Instructors are proud to recommend places to our guests, offering them some hidden gems and some not so hidden gems that we ourselves would visit on a regular basis and absolutely love! Here are our top recommended breakfast cafes after kayaking with Sydney by Kayak.
One of the most popular recommendation questions we get asked at the end of our sunrise kayak tour is obviously, where do we recommend for a good breakfast and a second coffee? Now, usually people are getting up a little earlier than normal to attend our kayak tour at dawn, and we do provide a fresh, barista-made coffee on our tours, but this only gets you so far when working up an appetite, out on the Harbour.
To combat the feelings of hunger and to tide you over until you reach one of our top-rated cafes, you can grab a Tim Tam or a banana from our tucker box at the back of the kayak van before you start your journey to breakfast. (Or you can grab one of each as our Guides do!)
So, here is a short list of our favourite cafes and eateries that we highly recommend for a hearty, tasty, post kayaking meal and a second coffee or fresh juice.
- Thelma and Louise – a waterfront café on Hayes Street in Neutral Bay, literally next door to the Neutral Bay ferry wharf, which is great for getting out and about after you’ve finished breakfast. It is, however, the furthest away recommendation of ours for breakfast. If you are driving or catching an Uber, it should take no more than 5-6 minutes, but if you’re walking, definitely grab a banana and enjoy a good 20-minute walk from Lavender Bay, through Wendy’s Secret Garden and up and under the Railway line at Milsons Point. Once you’re at the cafe, you can enjoy organic, locally grown produce, cooked and served with a smile. On top of this, you can book ahead and try and get a table on the balcony, overlooking the Harbour. Take your time and reminisce about your kayak tour, looking through the photos taken by your Guides. Our favourite “sweet tooth” breakfast option is their famous berry ricotta crepes and for those preferring a savoury breakfast, the salmon Benedict would be our pick. Yum!
- Ripples Milsons Point – If you don’t think you’ll quite make the journey to Thelma and Louise cafe, our second option is a little closer and also has incredible views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, which at this point should be fairly familiar, yet still stunning after your morning kayak tour. From Lavender Bay boat ramp, simply follow the boardwalk around the beautiful Lavender bay, past Luna Park and along to Ripples Milsons Point, which is literally just in front of the North Sydney Olympic Pool, a stone’s throw from the Northwestern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Enjoy a hot cappuccino and smashed avocado on toast as you watch the ferries and boats go by on an increasingly busy harbour. It’ll be difficult to believe that you were there just a short while ago, on a calm, glassy, still, a waterway with no ferries, drinking a flat white in a kayak. We recommend booking ahead of time as this café is popular and books up quickly. Ask your kayak guide or email Sydney by Kayak to check what time you’ll be arriving back at the boat ramp after your tour, so you can book the best seat in the café!
Here are two of our lovely Guides, Laura and Cath, enjoying a champagne breakfast at Ripples on their day off, sharing the Blue Marble Project love 🙂
- Celsius Coffee Co. – The next one is a bit of hidden gem and we only know it’s there because we kayak past it and one of our co-Guides lives nearby and loves going there herself. This is Celsius Coffee Co. in Kirribilli, offering more local produce, fresh market fruits and veggies and glass walls around the café, over hanging out on the ferry wharf itself, overlooking Sydney Harbour. Enjoy hot or cold brewed coffee and cold pressed juices along with your hearty breakfast with a view. Keep your eyes peeled for your kayak guide on their next kayak tour as they paddle around Kirribilli point, past the Opera House. Give a wave and reminisce in your perfect morning on Sydney Harbour. Another great opportunity to look through your photos from your Guide.
- Piato – Our hidden gem on the other side of the bay is up the stairs to King George Street and all the way up on Blues Point road, named after William “Billy” Blue, who you’ll likely learn about on your morning kayak tour of Blues Point. The café is called Piato and is run by a local family, offering a European twist on the classic, tasty dishes. Enjoy free range eggs from their “from the coop” menu, or if you’re after a bit of a health kick after your gentle morning exercise, they have a “health kick” menu option, offering paleo dishes, Acai bowls and vegetarian options. If you’re a regular paddler down in the bay, you may know our resident Personal Trainer, Nino, who runs Personal Training and nutrition coaching, through his business, Body Image PT, near our launch location. When Nino isn’t helping his customers work up a sweat in the stunning Lavender Bay, he’s up at the café, helping them make good nutrition choices at Piato.
- San Antonio Bakery – If you’re looking for something a little lighter or perhaps just another coffee or tea, you can’t go past the San Antonio bakery in Kirribilli. They offer great coffee and baked goods to go. Morgans coffee beans and a yummy Croissant or pan au chocolate, freshly baked that morning. From here, it’s a 1-minute walk across the road to Milsons Point train station or to the stairs that lead up to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It takes about 15 minutes to walk across the bridge, give or take, depending on how many times and how long you stop for photos. If heading over the bridge, we also recommend climbing to the top of the southeastern Pylon Lookout. It has great views and history of the bridge and it’s a little quicker than doing Bridge Climb if you’re time poor or apprehensive about heights. At $15 per person, it’s definitely worth a look. After that, you’re not too far from the city itself, which opens up a whole new list of our recommendations, which I’ll leave for another blog post.
- The Australian Heritage Hotel – Our final recommendation isn’t really a breakfast recommendation, but it is definitely one of our favourites for a team get-together after kayaking. By the time you’ve come off the water, enjoyed a nice walk around Lavender Bay and up the stairs to the bridge, plus maybe a quick look up the Pylon Lookout, you may be nearing lunchtime and need a bit more of a hearty brunch or even lunch and possibly a cheeky beer. Our first pick for this would be the Australian Heritage Hotel in the Rocks, literally across the road from the steps of the Bridge, but on the city side. Not only do they offer a great roo burger and yummy gourmet pizzas, but also a great range of Australian beers and even accommodation, which is pretty central to a lot of things in Sydney. You could enjoy a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge before you go kayaking on Sydney Harbour. Then you really would work up an appetite!
Well, there you have it. Our Kayak Guides and Sydney by Kayak team’s top picks for a good local feed after kayaking. Our friendly Guides can help you with directions to these places, along with transport options and other top things to do in Sydney. Make sure, while you’re enjoying a Tim Tam and waiting for your photos to Airdrop at the end of your tour, you ask your Guides for their top tips.. and enjoy!