Secret Creek Cafe, Lithgow NSW

While we were on the hike to the glow worm cave, we chatted to a friend of ours who has appeared on this blog before; firstly when he organised a fabulous wine tasting evening and secondly when he attempted to make Peking duck pancakes with spelt flour.

The Secret Creek Cafe

The Secret Creek Cafe

He had driven up from Sydney the day before and in that time said he had discovered the best cafe in Lithgow and we absolutely had to go there before heading home.  He said the restaurant was owned by a couple who used to run a cafe in Newtown, a part of Sydney that’s trendy and a little bohemian.  And he told Carl, who was aching for a coffee, that the coffee was amazing and to order at least two short blacks.

View from the car park

View from the car park

Carl was back down the mountain in a flash.  We rushed to the car and started driving to the City of Lithgow, that, with a population of around 20,000 is more like a country town.  The Secret Creek Cafe is not on the main road or even in the town centre but instead is way off the beaten track.  As the sat-nav had us twisting and turning towards what looked like ‘no man’s land’ I did wonder if this was going to be another of those sat-nav moments.

Patting a wallaby at the entrance of the cafe

Patting a wallaby at the entrance of the cafe


Oh ye of little faith!  All was good with the sat-nav and we turned onto a dirt driveway that led us into a gully where on 200 acres there is the Secret Creek Sanctuary that cares for and runs breeding programs for native animals including dingoes, wallabies, emus, quolls, brush-turkeys and potoroos (a kangaroo-like marsupial about the size of a rabbit that’s incredibly endangered).

Very rustic

Very rustic

Within the sanctuary, is the Secret Creek Cafe that has been established for around 10 years.  The building looks very rustic and more like a home than a cafe.  As we approached the entrance a wallaby hopped towards us; it was a lovely greeting.  As it was still warm and sunny we decided to sit outside on the verandah.

An open fire for chilly days and nights

An open fire for chilly days and nights

A waitress appeared and advised that the lunch menu was finished.  I sighed.  We’d just hiked around 10kms on almost an empty stomach and now they weren’t serving lunch.  I said, ‘We’ve been hiking all day’, and without missing a beat she said, ‘The chefs have already gone for the day but we can plate you up a dessert’.  Well that was something.

The bar area

The bar area

I’d been salivating for about four hours over thoughts of something substantial and filling.  I could see a blackboard menu with wonderful lunch choices including butternut pumpkin risotto, a pork cutlet with roasted fennel and salt and pepper calamari with a roquette and pear salad.

The interior of the cafe

The interior of the cafe

Disappointed we looked through the dessert menu that had things like apple and macadamia cake, rose and peppermint tea pannacotta, brandy alexander cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding but we both wanted something savoury so ordered the cheese platter that came with fig paste.

Emu

Emu

The cheese plate was presented on a board and came with a selection of three cheeses.  The waitress walked away before explaining what they were but there was a cheddar, a brie and a blue cheese.  The fig paste was wonderful and not too sweet and the apple sauce was lovely with the cheddar.  I’m not sure if you’re allowed to feed the natives but one of the wallabies really liked the apple sauce!  The crackers were water crackers and I would have preferred something a little more exciting however, for the price, this was a very good cheese platter.

Cheese platter with fig paste and apple sauce

Cheese platter with fig paste and apple sauce $12.00

Alfie had the warm chocolate mud cake with cherries and cream.  This was a very dark and moist mud cake that was beautiful but very rich.  The cherries accompanied the mud cake very well as they were slightly tart and helped cut through the sweetness and richness of the cake.  Alfie did struggle to get through this though as he’s not used to chocolate being so dark.

Chocolate Mud Cake with Berry Sauce and cream $10.00

Chocolate Mud Cake with Berry Sauce and cream $10.00

Having waited all day for a coffee, Carl ordered a soy cappuccino.  The coffee comes from Single Origin Roasters and Carl said it was well worth the wait!

An emu

An emu

The cafe is BYO and bookings are preferred.  You can book to go on a wildlife walk at sunset and you’ll see all the animals as they emerge from their hiding places.  There is a charge for the wildlife walk and tour but all proceeds go directly to the conservation programs.

Our new friend

Our new friend

Verdict:  Even though we weren’t able to sample more of the menu, this cafe was a surprising and wonderful find.  It’s in a special setting, it’s a unique concept and it’s a quirky experience having wallabies join you at your table.  It’s definitely worth following your sat-nav to get there.

Hopping through the cafe

Hopping through the cafe

Secret Creek Cafe, 35 Crane Rd, Lithgow NSW 2790
(02) 6352 1133

Our dining companion

Our dining companion

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Comments

  1. How disappointing that you were too late for lunch. Dessert is all well and good but you usually need a solid foundation of real food to sit it on. I loved the cafe ‘greeter’ and dining companion. 🙂

    Am loving the tour of Australian sights.

  2. Sounds well worth going back to one day. I like the name.

  3. I’m sorry you missed the main lunch menu but this cafe sounds wonderful – just the kind of hidden (secret!) place that would appeal to me. The desserts sound gorgeous too!

  4. How marvellous to get up and personal with the wildlife. Thank goodness the coffee was good!

  5. Well this was certainly a bright spot at the end of the hike, even if you couldn’t order a real lunch! And I love that photo of Alfie and the kangaroo!

  6. Looks like Alfie could use a new pet. What a unique place. I would have loved this. Also, I laughed at your definition of this as a “country town” as my community has a population of about 23,000 and I don’t consider it to be country. But it’s all perspective, I suppose.

  7. I thought you were going to tell me that the wallaby came home with you! What a picturesque place and what fun to have all of the wildlife around. Do wish you had been able to sample the savory food, but the desserts look good.

  8. What a lovely little rustic place. The cheese plate sure was substantial! And that mud cake…Yum! The little wallaby is adorable! I hear they and kangaroos are as common to see as deer are here in the US…along the roads, in fields and such. So cool! 🙂 xo

  9. What a cute and appealing cafe! You do make the loveliest memories with your family. That wallaby is just too cute!

  10. What a cute wallaby!! Sounds like the whole day was an adventure. bummer about the menu but I do love a good cheese plate.

  11. What a find. I can only imagine your reaction when they said lunch had finished. I think I might have cried!

  12. This place looks so interesting with all the beautiful animals around, hope this helped you to overcome the disappointment over the missed lunch!

  13. Up close and personal with a lot of cutie pies 😀
    They are so cute!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  14. I’d go there in a heartbeat! Thank you so much for sharing part of the real Australia. Off the beaten track, people who still love and trust and just a teensy bit rustic. AND good coffee.

  15. G’day! What a great find Charlie!
    is a pet peeve of mine with cafes, especially in places like this that they cannot be more accommodating in making a simple toastie sanger or salad!
    Glad you all enjoyed!
    Cheers! Joanne

  16. Isn’t great to discover these kinds of places!

  17. Great coffee, up close and personal with wild life, and beauty all around = my kind of day. Too bad you missed the lunch part, especially as you were looking so forward to it, but maybe, as this would be worth a second visit for sure, you can get lucky the second time around. I wish we had this kind of a cafe here too.

  18. What a family/kids friendly place! My kids will be so happy being in this cafe while adults are chatting… they can hang out with emus and wallabies. 🙂 The open fireplace makes it very cozy at night time or cold days too.

  19. Aww that’s so cute with the wallaby but haha funny enough I am terrified absolutely terrified of wallabies and kangaroos hahhaa but i think it seems like a fun cafe to visit 🙂

  20. What a shame you still missed out on a meal Charlie! What you got does look nice, but you must have still been hungry 🙁 The location of this cafe looks lovely Charlie, and the company looks like fun too xox

  21. What a shame you were too late for lunch. This Cafe looks so special in such a beautiful setting and I think I would definitely have enjoyed that Chocolate Mud Cake … looks delicious!

  22. I have never shared a meal with a wallaby! He certainly added to the ambience! There’s a rustic charm that very much appeals to me. The risotto sounded good to me, so maybe you can return another time and give that a try! 🙂

  23. I want a wallaby!
    Have a super day Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  24. This sounds like a fantastic place, Charlie. Too bad you missed lunch, though. Though the cheese platter looked good, it would be hardly satisfying after an 11k walk and an early morning drive. At least Alfie enjoyed the chance to get up close with the wallabies.

  25. That sounds absolutely delightful and the greeting would be certainly a thrill for the kids. You now have me wanting to go there.
    Carolyn

  26. Sounds even more exotic to those of us who live in the other hemisphere!

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