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'Mystery' Places to Visit in Sydney and its Surrounds - Under $10

Home > Sydney > Lists | Walks | Day Trips | Coffee | Cafes | Art
by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published July 13th 2015
Get out and explore Sydney and its Surrounds
This is an activity that should only cost you under $10 while visiting somewhere in Sydney and its surrounds.

Are you sixty and over? Do you like getting out and about? Do you like riding on a train, bus or ferry? Do you like getting a bit of exercise?

If you do, you can go for a ride on a train, bus or ferry, while getting some exercise and at the same time have coffee and cake. Some of these places you may have already been to, but haven't really explored or it may be a place that you have never been to and have always wanted to go.

All of this could be done for $10 or under and it would get you out and about once a week. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.


You could do this by yourself, but it would be more fun to get together with a friend, a relative, a group of friends or old school buddies and create a list of the places that you have heard of, but have never been to. You will also need to select one day a week (that suits all in the group) to meet up.

What you could do call you group a name like 'Best Mates Club' or 'The Frock Ladies' or some other catchy name. If you are a Facebook fan, you could create a group under that name and then after you have been out for the day to have coffee and cake at your mysterious place, you could post where you have been, what you have done, how long you went for and where you had your coffee and cake to share with others.


There are a few things that I would suggest that you do before you go. They are as follows:

• Do some research on the selected place.
• Try using Google to see what places of interest may be there.
• Check out the bus, train and ferry time tables.
• Use Google Maps to familiarise yourself with the area you are going to.
• Check out what coffee shops/cafes are there.
• Pick a place for all of you to meet to start. Maybe Circular Quay or the ferry wharf at the end of the Parramatta River. This will depend on where everyone lives and you will need to pick a starting place that is easy for everyone to get to.
• Try not to go in peak hour times.


There would be a few essential items you would need to make sure that you take with you to make your day an enjoyable one. They are:

• Opal Card
Make sure that your Opal Card is topped up.

• Money
• Camera
• Mobile phone
• Hat & small tube of sun cream
• Small back pack
• Seniors card
Don't forget your Senior's Card.

• Drink bottle
• List of places that you have already researched prior to going
• Map of area you are going to. This could be on your phone or an A4 hard copy

To help you get started I have put together twenty six places that I have or haven't been to.

The first five places I will give you a fair bit of detail of suggested things to do, where to get your coffee and cake and what to do while you are there.
Coffee, cake and Mysterious places.

The next twenty one places will only give you part of the information at what you can do there. Making it a more mysterious place to visit and you will have to find your own place to have a cup of coffee or cake for $10 and under.

Example 1- Watsons Bay by Train & Ferry

You might pick Watsons Bay as the place to visit, and the place to meet up may be Circular Quay. From here you would catch a ferry over the Watsons Bay and then once you disembark, you could take one of the two popular coastal walks from the from Watsons Bay wharf.

One which takes you north past the Lady Bay Beach and then on to South Head where you can see the Hornby Lighthouse. The other walking path meanders south past 'The Gap', an ocean cliff facing the Tasman Sea, and then along past the Signal Station and Macquarie Lighthouse. You may even like to walk further afield and go to Nielsen Park.

As you are walking around you will need to take notice of the places that you could get a coffee and cake at and put it into your memory bank for later. Some of the places where you could get a coffee and cake could be as follows:

• The Grumpy Baker.
• Vaucluse House Tea Rooms.
• The Black Tulip Euro Bakery.
• Nielsen Park Cafe and Halbert Pavilion.

Example 2 - Quarantine Station Manly by Train, Ferry & walk:

The Quarantine Station at Manly is a fascinating place to visit as there is so much Australian history to learn by taking the time to visit here.

Stop off and have your coffee and cake at the Luggae Store cafe.

Here you will find a number of walking tracks and paths that meander throughout the headland though old building, bushland and gardens. While here, you could get your coffee and cake at the Luggage Store Visitor Centre, Café & Museum which is open 7 days a week and features a free exhibition about the former North Head Quarantine Station and experiences, including reconstructions of First and Third Class ship cabins from the RMS Niagara.

Example 3 – Manly by Train & Ferry

From Circular Queue to manly by ferry will take you about 25 minutes and from here you can walk through the Manly Corso down to Manly Beach and take the Manly History and Heritage Walk. From here you will have the option of heading south and walking to Fairy Bower and beyond or go north and maybe walk along the beach up to Freshwater Beach.

The North Head Sanctuary is worth the look while visiting Manly.

Once you have return back to the Manly Corso, you will need to find yourself somewhere to sit down as you maybe a bit leg weary.

A couple of the places that are worth checking out for that coffee/tea and cake would be the Rope and Anchor Cafe and Hamlets Pies and Coffee.
On the way back from manly to Circular Queue you can take in the sights of Watsons Bay, Sow and Pigs, The Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and you may even get a glimpse of the Prime Minster at home.

Example 4 – Kiama by Train

If you were to leave from Central Station in Sydney and travel south to Kiama, it would take you just over two hours to get there. Along the way you would the Sutherland Shire, Wollongong, Albion Park and then Kiama passing very close to the water in some places.

While on the train you could take in the magnificent scenery or read a book. Maybe you could pass the time by playing a game of cards with whoever you go with.

Once you get to Kiama, the world of Kiama is your oyster. There is so much to see and do here I don't think that you will have time for all you want to see. So this would be one of those places that you would have to come back to.

It's just a short walk from the train station to Kiama Harbour.

Kiama is famous for its Blow Hole on the point. But did you know that there is a smaller version just a fifteen minute walk south that goes almost as high. You might like to visit the Kiama Family History Centre or the Kiama Visitors Centre and don't forget to check out the Sandstone walk shops.

Now as for where to get you coffee and cake I am going to leave that up to you to pick, but I will give you a bit of a start.

Click here for more information.

Example 5 – Gosford by Train

After going south to Kiama you might feel like taking the train north to Gosford. From Central station it will take you about just about an hour and a half. Before you start walking around and exploring what Gosford has to offer, you may like to build up your strength by checking out the Taste Gourmet Grocer and Cafe or the Frangipani Cafe and Patisserie.

Then you may like to visit the Central Coast Interactive War Exhibition or the Henry Kendall Cottage. Both of these places have a small fee to enter and may blow out your budget of $10. For this trip you may decide to take your own coffee/tea and cake to keep it under $10.

Example 6 - The Rocks by Train.
• The Rocks Markets; Galleries; Cadman's Cottage; Walks.

Example 7 - Botanical Gardens by Train.
• Gardens; Flowers; Wildlife; Self-guided Tours.

Don't forget to check out the ferns at the Gardens.

Example 8 - Hyde Park / War Memorial by Train.
• History; Free Chess; Walks; Archibald Fountain; Sandringham & Nagoya Gardens; Food & Wine Festival.

Example 9 - Observatory Hill / Walsh Bay by Train.
• Stars; Views; Self-guided Tours; Exercise; Walks.

Example 10 - Springwood by Train.
• Historic Houses; Gardens; Historical Walks; New Age Markets; the Glass Gallery.

Example 11 - Pittwater / "Summer Bay" by Train & Ferry & Bus.
• Beaches; where they film Home & Away; TV Stars; Fishing.

Example 12 - Balmain / Birkenhead Point by Train & Ferry.• Shops; Fashion; Fishing; Discount Shopping; Markets; Dawn Fraser Baths.

Example 13 - Parramatta by Train & Ferry.
• Markets; Westfields Parramatta; St John's Cathedral; Parramatta Park; Museums.

Example 14 - Olympic Park by Train & Ferry.
• Walks; Newington Armoury; Live entertainment; Bird Watching; Outdoor Art

Example 15 - Bondi by Train & Bus.
• Bondi to Coogee walk; Whale watching; Bondi Farmers Markets; Sculptures by the Sea.

Example 16 - Kings Cross / Woolloomooloo by Train.
• The Organic Markets; the Artspace Gallery; check out the luxury boats; self-guided walking tour.

Example 17 - Centennial Park by Train / Bus.• Bird Watching; Self-Guided walks; Fox Studios; walk to Queens and Moore Parks.

Example 18 - Art Gallery / Domain by Train.
• Self-guided tours; Gallery Shop; Cafe; Exhibitions; Live Music.

Example 19 - Harbour Bridge by Train.
• Views; Walks; Fishing; The rocks; Luna Park; Cafes; Blues Point Park.

Example 20 - Queen Victoria Bldg / Town Hall by Train.
• Window Shopping; Cafes; Visit Town Hall; Walk to Darling Harbour; Walk to Circular Queue.

Example 21 - Pyrmont Bridge by Train.
• Walk across this Historic Bridge; Visit Darling Harbour; Live entertainment; Buskers; Boats; Cafes.

Example 22 - Bowral by Train.

Take the time to visit Peppers at Bowral for coffee and cake.

• Shops; Walking; walk up to the top of the Bowral Lookout; The Milk Factory Gallery; Corbett Gardens; Historic Houses; Peppers at Bowral.

Example 23 - Katoomba by Train.
• The Giant Stairway; Waradah Aboriginal Centre; Blue Mountains Chocolate Company; Shopping; Echo Point. The Three Sisters; Views.

Example 24 - Double Bay by Train & Ferry.
• Window shopping; swimming; Boutiques; Redleaf Beach; Old Historic Houses; Luxury boats.

Example 25 – Wollongong by Train.
• Lighthouse; Fishing; Foreshore walks; Surf Beaches; Wollongong City Gallery; Botanic Gardens; Nan Tien Temple.

Example 26 – Sutherland by Train.• Sydney Tram Museum; Woronora; Shopping; Historic Joinery Shop; Gardens; Royal National Park; Audley; The Audley Boat Shed; the Boatshed at Woronora Cafe & Boat Hire.

You should take the time to walk down to the historic Boatshed at Woronora.

I have given you 26 places that you can visit and have coffee/tea and cake for $10 or under. This list will get you out and about to get some exercise, see new things, and visit places you may never have been to or re-visit places you have already been to, as well as catch up with friends and family on a regular basis.

But one last thing you will need to remember before you venture out for your next Coffee and Mysterious Place to visit -you will need to randomly select the mysterious place you are next going to visit.
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Why? To get out and about with family and friends.
When: Once a week or once a month.
Where: Sydney and its Surrounds.
Cost: $10 and under.
Your Comment
All above suggestions are great - I look forward to visiting some. Another good place to visit is Richmond - it's like a little country town on the end of the rail line. On the way, you watch Sydney change from city to suburbia, then to farming country. Once in Richmond, you can get coffee & cake from many cafes in Windsor St. One called The Bank Bazaar has a room full of antiques where you can sit & enjoy your coffee, or sit in the garden beneath the spreading jacaranda tree on a hot day. Then you can take a constitutional walk around Richmond Park to help settle the food you've partaken of & see the heritage Grandstand there, as well as heritage houses opposite the Park. There are various heritage walks you can do [download them from Hawkesbury City Council's website @]. An obvious one is to walk down Windsor St from Richmond Public School to St Peters Church to see all the heritage buildings there, most of them still in use. You'll pass the house local horse breeder Andrew Town lived in (he bred some Melbourne Cup winners), where when a flood threatened, he cajoled his favourite horse to mount the stairs to the second floor to avoid the water. The Black Horse Inn further down the street now houses a real estate agency, a camping supplies shop, a conveyancing business and a hairdresser. It's where Sir Henry Parkes, a premier of NSW in the nineteenth century, had 2 of his 3 honeymoons, & tourist guides of the 1930s would describe motoring to Richmond & lunching at the Black Horse Inn as an enjoyable weekend activity. As well, you can visit Smith Park at Pugh's Lagoon on Windsor St past St Peters, and feed the ducks the leftovers from your cafe feast, if there's any. On Saturdays, Richmond Good Food Markets are held from 8am to 1pm selling all sorts of foods - to eat there or take home & cook with - as well as candles, honey & bee keeping advice, clothing for dogs & cats, & all sorts of crafts. If you're into design antiques & vintage ware, there are a growing number of shops on & around Windsor St catering to these interests - Imperfect Perfections specialising in French wares, That Shop & Treasure Chest in the Civic Arcade, the afore-mentioned Bank Bazaar, Crazy Beautiful Life & Dream Now homewares shops to name a few. Just looking at the contents of these shops satisfies a seeker of such wares. A great day to do all this and more is coming up - The Richmond Jubilee on 19 & 20 September 2015 when you can catch a steam train(courtesy of Lachlan Valley Railways) from Central early in the morning on the 19.9.15 and have another ride to McGraths Hill & return to Richmond. There'll be double decker buses to ride, other steam driven machines to see & horse & cart rides since the Sydney Antique Machinery Club have their annual Field Days at the Hawkesbury Showground at Clarendon that weekend, two train stops before Richmond. Come dressed in historical costume from the 1860s onwards, & promenade down Windsor St & around the Park to see the sights & all the activities on offer that weekend. in late August for train tickets.
by quiet (score: 1|20) 2502 days ago
It's important to know where you can get coffee and cake. =)
Looks like a comprehensive list Gary, thanks!
by Jenny Prior (score: 3|4244) 2488 days ago
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