Child free and chomping through Newy and the Gong

Eating a path from Newcastle to Wollongong

Not long ago the parentals came to stay and I went to play on a child-free mini break with MM to Newcastle and Wollongong. Whoo Hoo who doesn’t love those!

Newcastle, is shaken but not stirred by the odd earthquake.  It is also the place where the 77,000 tonne Pasher Buker got beached. Keep driving south about three hours and you’ll run into Wollongong. According to an Instagram study, the gong is one of the happiest cities in Australia. It’s also home to amazing beaches, spectacular cliffs, great food and shopping.

Faced with two nights in Newy and one night back in my old stomping ground of the Gong, the decisions on what to do were tough…..

Not really. I was really keen just to chill out. Eat a bit, walk a bit, watch mindless television a bit, sleep a bit in the clean crisp sheets of the hotel, catch up with friends a lot were the order of my break. Mr Miner (MM) was busy during the days doing work stuff but we managed to fit in leisure, food and catch-ups either side of that.

We start the weekend at the Chifley Apartments on Honeysuckle Drive. From here we walk across the road to the aptly named Honeysuckle Hotel for dinner. It’s Saturday night and the old waterfront warehouse is heaving. Live music is playing, the football is on, the pokies are full and the line up for food is long. Even though the place is packed, the service is quick and the drinks are cold. In around 20 minutes we’re eating steak and Thai beef pie and looking past the big screen football game to the sparkling lights of the wharves.

Sunday morning we wake up early, a habit formed from waking up to 7, 4 years and 5 month olds boys. I’m fidgety and ready to go. We walk along the Newcastle foreshore past Silo restaurant, the Visitor information Centre, Maritime Museum, Scratchley’s, Queen’s Wharf and down to the Newcastle Port and Nobby’s Beach Reserve where the lighthouse peers down on us and we think about eating at Swell but decide it looks too touristy. On our wander back, the smell of excellent coffee has us stopping at Six Degrees for some corn fritters, and savoury mince. We’ve not long taken a sip of our flat whites when the food is out. The view is great and the vibe is very relaxed. I’ll be back for afternoon tea and the decadent cakes in the cabinet.

Back to the Chifley Apartments for a quick change, then I head back out for some retail therapy while MM goes to work. I head across to the Market Place shopping centre and walk straight into Zebra Finch, one of those home and giftwares shops where you can find something you want to buy in every nook and cranny. Not much else of interest in the Centre unless I want food, which I also buy.

I wander down Hunter Street looking for the mall and get side tracked when I see the King Street Event Cinema. I decide against the Bridget Jones movie, it’s on right around dinner and I’m not that keen on finding out who’s Bridget’s baby daddy. I keep walking, still looking for the mall. Now I’m not sure where I am but I’m glad I get lost because I come across raspberries, apples and mint juiced for my drinking pleasure at the funky little Saluna Kitchen and Bar. They also help me out with directions to the mall.

The Newcastle mall is no longer home to Myer. It now features a range of shops with up and coming designers, discount shops and places to eat. The waterfront train lines have been taken up and some of the shops have been freshened up so you can the Revitalising Newcastle project is happening but it’s not quite there yet. Nothing appeals in the mall and I walk back to our apartment.

That night we head back to the Honeysuckle Hotel for more food and drinks and the NRL semi-final.

Monday morning finally brings a sleep in till 8am! Then we pack up and head to the office for MM. While we’re parking the car we stumble across Papa’s Bagel Bar

Bagels hand-rolled, boiled and baked daily spruiks the post card. I chomp and chew through a blueberry and butter bagel while MM has hollandaise sauce dripping all over his hand from his crispy bacon, poached egg and papa’s taters bagel.

The staff are great and they have the regulars coffees ready as they rock up to the counter. They’re not so on the ball with visitors and they lose our coffee order twice. It’s okay though the food makes up for it. It’s obviously a much-loved location because by the time we eat there’s about ten people lined up to order.

Now it’s time to grab the hire car and drive the three or so hours down to Wollongong and over to Thirroul my old stomping ground.

I park and wander the high street of Thirroul. I browse and buy some gifts at Oat and Honey gift, then wander down to Fin Box for my favourite flat white.

The sun is going down and I head back to Wollongong and my super soft bed for the night on the top floor of the Novatel North Beach. The room is dated but huge and the view is amazing. I can’t be bothered to walk around town so I meet all my peeps downstairs at Pepe’s bypassing the restaurant and room service on offer.

Our final breakfast is at Diggies right on North Wollongong Beach for an Acai Berry bowl, toast eggs and several flat whites. Alas the break is drawing to a close.

I’ve got a hot tip on a hidden spot for a great flat white and I finish off the day in the Gong with Coffee at Frank the Happy Barista’s hole in the wall on Keira Street. Then one last spot of retail therapy over at Gwyneville at Pod Espresso and Emporium where they often have some great Elk, Eb & Ive on sale. They don’t disappoint and I walk out with some Eb & Ive pants 40% off.

We get to Sydney Airport with 15 mins to spare for our flight and grab food and the plane.

I’m not sure my seat belt will fit now I’ve eaten my way down the coast and but I know the hugs of my boys Hugo, Max and Ruben will fit just perfectly.

Thanks parentals for being so awesome and giving us some time away.

Child free breaks are awesome but so is the reunion!


Chifley Apartments Newcastle
Honeysuckle Hotel
Newcastle Visitors Information Centre
Six Degrees
Swell Newcastle
Market town
Zebra Finch
King Street Event Cinemas
Saluna Kitchen + Coffee 
Papas Bagel Bar
Revitalising Newcastle

Oat and Honey Gifts and Homewares 
Finbox coffee
Novatel North Wollongong
Pepe’s on the Beach
Diggies Café
Happy Barista
POD Emporium and Espresso