Jasmine Greens, Umina
A place where the kids can run wild and parents can have a coffee is a very good place indeed. But a place that also allows your four-legged friends to come along is even better. Jasmine Greens at Umina is just that, with one of the best playgrounds on the Coast at its doorstep and a dog-friendly beach directly opposite. The café menu is Mediterranean-inspired and created with locally grown, free-range and chemical-free food — burgers, fish, salads and an all-day brunch. There’s also a takeaway kiosk for a munch on the run. Dogs are welcome outside the café and on the deck (on leash). Owner Gabby says they have one regular greyhound visitor who comes for a vanilla ice-cream in a waffle cone every Sunday. Now that’s a treat, whether you’re canine or human.
Peninsula Recreation Precinct, Sydney Ave, Umina
Impact Plants Nursery & Café, Empire Bay
Tucked behind the Impact Plants Nursery at Empire Bay, this lovely café opened in 2006 and has been the locals’ favourite ever since. The café has a beautiful koi pond and resident water-dragons, and is surrounded by lush tropical gardens — evidence of the plant nursery’s green thumb — with rare and exotic plants. There’s an expansive deck for dining, not to mention great, hearty food. Dogs are welcome to join you but need to be on a leash, and may make the acquaintance of resident dog Ted. He’s a friendly 10-year-old Bichoodle often seen lazing about in the sun on the deck.
9 Poole Close, Empire Bay
Wyong Milk Factory, Wyong
Established in 1906, The Wyong Milk Factory closed in 1994 but was then lovingly restored, opening again in 2014 as a multi-purpose space housing a café and tavern, the gourmet cheese factory Little Creek Cheese, Central Coast Woodturners, Luka artisanal chocolates, as well as a boutique, fitness centre, kids playground and hair studio. The Wyong Milk Factory Café (located in the old factory’s lab area) and Wyong Milk Factory Tavern both have dog-friendly outdoor areas so you can bring along your best friend while you enjoy a coffee or beer. You can also take your pooch down to the creek for a walk, which is equipped with ‘doggy doodoo’ stations, and pamper them at the TruBlu K9 dog wash afterwards.
141 Alison Road, Wyong
Like Minds, Avoca
This former general store transformed into a café in 2014 but it’s much more than just a place to get great coffee and delicious wholesome food. With almost zero waste (all of the food and coffee waste is composted), a menu featuring local ingredients (some very local, straight from the on-site garden with all condiments and pickles made by owner, Melissa Morgan), a regular produce swap, and the occasional pop-up shop touting locally made goods, Like Minds has a huge sustainability and community focus. You can bring your furry friend along with you and sit in the shaded garden or, if you’re grabbing a takeaway, their leads can be clipped to the wall while you duck inside. If you’re a regular, no doubt owners Melissa and Jimmy will know your dog (and you) by name, such is the warm vibe here at Like Minds.
352 The Round Drive, Avoca
The Anchor Coffee House, Budgewoi
Self-professed pet lover, Melissa Stafford, has owned The Anchor Coffee House with her husband Paul since 2013 and it’s become quite the favourite for locals who want to enjoy a coffee with their beloved Rover. Located a short walk from dog-friendly Mackenzie Reserve and Budgewoi Beach, an off-leash exercise area, it’s a great spot to come after your dog has had a good run-around. Sit in the outdoor area under wisteria. During the cooler months, blankets are provided and heaters are switched on, and you can enjoy a meal from the made-fresh-to-order menu (serving breakfast and lunch) while your pet enjoys a treat from Melissa’s never-ending jar of liver snacks. There are water bowls around the café, and kitchen staff has, in the past, cooked up some bacon or chicken for some very pampered customers.
10A Ocean Street, Budgewoi
Bamboo Buddha, Holgate
A leafy sanctuary in Holgate, the Bamboo Buddha is much loved for its Bali-style garden, on-site yoga and wellness activities, and its vegetarian and vegan menu made, where possible, with local and organic produce. Think, spicy tofu scramble, vegetable and coconut curry, and mixed mushroom pie. But another reason to visit, other than the ever-so-friendly atmosphere, is that your pets are most welcome to join you as you enjoy the nourishing food and tranquillity. Owner Tanya says some customers bring not only their dogs but also their chickens, parrots, even pet possums! The café is also home to several koi and goldfish ponds, regular exhibitions by local artists, and a boutique nursery is coming soon.
221 Wattle Tree Road, Holgate
WORDS MEGAN ARKINSTALL