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The Coffee Boat Man of Middle Harbour

Home > Sydney > Escape the City | Ice Cream | Boating | Beaches | Unusual Things to do
by Carole Liivrand (subscribe)
I love to explore & share my experiences and photographs with others on the off-chance that they too get a buzz out of simple things at their own back door.
Published January 26th 2016
Coffee expressly for you, & ice creams too

Little did I know that the man I have seen puttering around Middle Harbour in a cute little boat sporting the Vittoria Coffee Logo had such an interesting story to tell.

coffee boat, garry white, middle harbour, icecream, drinks
You'll see this boat coming from a distance

For those who don't know Sydney's Harbour's intricacies, Middle Harbour is the next big bay north of Sydney's main harbour.

It is bordered by Middle Head at Mosman, and Grotto Point at Manly, and its waters meet at the shoreline of a large number of Lower North Shore suburbs.

coffee boat, garry white, middle harbour, ice cream, drinks
Map from NSW Roads & Maritime

It is in these waters that people of all ages come out to play in their watercraft. It could be a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP), a kayak, dinghy, fishing boat, yacht, power boat, party boat, tourist boat, or row boat. You name it, they're here!

coffee boat, garry white, middle harbour, icecream, drinks, captain cook cruise, sightseeing
Captain Cook Sightseeing Tour Cruising Middle Harbour

These same shores are circled by many bushwalks and beaches which outdoorsy people flock to seven days a week. In this age of flexible hours and working conditions, and the internet, you might spot a bikini-clad blond or conservative businessman negotiating a deal or making appointments on their smart-phones while they cool their toes in the water.

People who have been boating in this area over the years all know about Garry the Coffee Boat Man. Visitors to the Bay are pleasantly surprised and soon work out that he's here to supply them with some great coffee and other refreshments.

With the advent of the home coffee machine, many of the bigger boats have their own machines to prepare coffee when they want it, yet if they see the Coffee Boat Man, they will still wave him down for an expertly prepared Barista coffee.

That's only a small proportion of the boating fraternity. Other boaties, kayakers, paddlers and beach goers are also keen to enjoy a cafe quality barista made coffee in the great outdoors. What a luxury! If you can buy such a coffee at an outdoor sporting event, why can't you get one on the water? In fact, that's how Garry got started.

coffee boat, garry white, middle harbour, icecream, drinks, balmoral beach
View across the Eastern end of Middle Harbour - Balmoral Beach to Castle Rock

Having retired from a career as an agricultural economist and political lobbyist, he did his homework, found a converted army boat and built the small floating cafe, installing the generator and coffee machines himself.

Garry works weekends, public holidays and summer holidays. In January, he works seven days a week, but you won't see him out in extreme conditions.

Operating since 2001, his business has developed quite a following and he has come to know many of his customers and their orders well. Even the rich and famous, amongst them a few former Prime Ministers, have tried Garry's coffee. Another chance meeting led to the repainting and branding of his boat. He'd unsuccessfully tried for years to get Vittoria Coffee to sponsor him. Serving coffee to Vittoria's CEO on his yacht was the lucky coincidence he needed.

coffee boat, garry white, middle harbour, icecream, drinks
Espresso, Cappuccino, Delivery Service

He's the right man for the job. Apart from being an experienced sailor, building and maintaining his own boat, and serving excellent coffee, ice creams and cold drinks, his likeable personality and chatty banter make for an entertaining customer experience.

coffee boat, garry white, middle harbour, icecream, drinks
On the shores of Middle Harbour - a sleepy part of the world, so close to a major city

So, if you are on Middle Harbour or one of its beaches and want a coffee, or have an event with a group of people give Garry a call on 0412 409 927. If he's nearby, he'll probably come to you, otherwise, he'll tell you where he is.
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Why? The novelty & convenience of coffee, tea, Ice creams, cool drinks, & sometimes muffins delivered by boat !
When: Weekends, Public Holidays and 7 Days/week in January
Phone: 0412 409 927
Where: Middle Harbour, Sydney, Australia
Cost: Coffee $5 (8oz) $6 (12 oz), Ice creams around $5 - all very reasonable
Your Comment
Fabulous :)
by Seafarrwide (score: 3|1910) 1768 days ago
What a wonderful service - I had no idea he existed! Thanks for sharing Carol.
by ROF (score: 2|313) 1768 days ago
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