I love a road trip, and heading north from Melbourne on the Hume Highway often leads to the fun of the snow, a nourishing country retreat or a buzzing week in Sydney. But, once you have hit the road you need to know where you will get the best coffee close to the road.
Between Melbourne and Sydney, there are two fantastic towns to detour into. Albury and Jugiong.
Both towns are close to the highway, and provide fantastic coffee and gourmet food options.
(three hours from Melbourne)
If you have time to go to the centre of town (a five minute drive) then I would suggest heading here for a takeaway coffee and snack. Piccolo Pod is a shipping container turned café in a side street near the main drag. The baked goods are provided by micro-baker The Bicycle Baker, and they are delicious. This is a spot that only the locals know about, and is giving Albury a touch of Melbourne laneway café cool. Follow the address on their Facebook page, otherwise you may not find it.
This is the fashionista destination, and a local secret for a good coffee (they don’t advertise their coffee, but the locals flock here for a caffeine hit). Decker and Lee is hidden in a pedestrian lane off the main street (Dean Street) and is a stunning fashion store stocking international and Australian brands. The best bit is that they do a great coffee. So if three hours in the car has meant you are craving a bit of retail therapy, then this is the place to be.
This trendy café is in the most divine spot, sitting right on the banks of the Murray River, surrounded by trees and parks. It is not far off the road, and has space for running around, a beautiful bike path and play grounds if you have children or animals in the car with you. The food is homely with the likes of handmade ricotta gnocchi, a delicious serving of mushrooms on toast with Persian fetta, kale and fennel and I can recommend the muffins which are oozing with delicious flavours. The coffee and milkshakes are a hit too. During the summer months they can get quite busy, so I would book ahead if you think you would like to eat in.
This is the spot to go if you are looking for a breakfast on the run, and some amazing bread to take on your trip. Nord is a hidden gem in an industrial feeling area of Albury, and also not too far from the Hume. The pastry treats you will find here are of Scandinavian descent, so think warm cinnamon scrolls, beetroot and beef sausage rolls and amazing Danish and Swedish rye or cranberry sourdough loaves that you will find hard not to eat as soon as you are back in the car. But, it is popular so you will need to visit this spot by lunch time otherwise you might miss out. They are not open every day, so it is worth checking the website and calling ahead. At this stage there is no coffee on offer here, so I suggest heading to Piccolo Pod or Decker and Lee for your caffeine.
While you are in the Nord Bakery part of town, if you have a little extra time, it is worth popping into Di Billiet homewares. Di Billiet is a fashionable local who sources a beautiful selection of homewares, fashion and accessories where you might pick up something quite unique.
If you want a quick stop, then this is the spot to choose. It is closest to the highway, and provides everything you need. Musette offers coffee, a good range of delicious snacks and are famous for their soup (which you can take away if you are in an extra hurry). The country hospitality is a bonus here, with a wall covered in locally grown fruit that the owner asks you to help yourself to!
This is a stylish café, serving delicious food. It is on a quiet corner close to the main street, and if you a looking for a relaxed cafe stop, then this is the place to divert to. If you are there for breakfast, the blueberry and ricotta hotcakes are amazing, and for lunch try the master stock pulled pork roll stuffed with melt-in-the-mouth pork and punchy pickled tomato. Their cakes are scrumptious too.
(five and a half hours from Melbourne)
There is only one place to stop here, the Long Track Pantry situated opposite a park and very close to the highway. This is a foodie destination in itself, providing gourmet homemade provisions such as jams and sauces, and delicious meals including homemade pies, slow cooked lamb and famous toasted sandwiches to hit the road with. Long Track Pantry is country style gourmet and definitely worth detouring for a coffee and delicious cake if nothing else.