Middle Head, Sydney: My Top Three

Middle Head is a beautiful headland that isn’t particularly near the middle of Port Jackson, better known as Sydney Harbour. Here are my three favourite things to do in one of my favourite parts of the city.

Gunners Barracks Tea Rooms


That’s the contents of the gluten free afternoon tea you can see there, right before I inhaled the lot in about five seconds flat. We’ve got sandwiches, scones, cake, panna cotta, macarons, cheesecake… I suppose I should point out there is tea too, but nobody goes to afternoon tea for the actual tea, do they?! Now, not only is the food absolutely divine (see review coming soon over at A Gluten Free Nomad), but the view is possibly even better. I mean… Just look.


Swoon.(And, oh hey Manly ferries!)

Middle Head Gun Emplacements


After our afternoon tea, we took a digestive walk around to the Middle Head gun emplacements. If you’ve eaten a little less cake than we had, then you can walk around from Gunner’s Barracks itself, but we chose to drive to a car park a little nearer the action, from which you can walk along a pleasantly tree-lined path.


You soon get to the furthermost point of Middle Head, upon which stand the remains of the gun emplacements. You can clamber up all around them, and from the top of the edge on the circular rampart you can gaze out on this killer view, out between North and South head and right into the Tasman Sea beyond.


You can watch the boats and the birds to your heart’s content, and then seek shade in the cool tunnels under the gun emplacement.

Burnt Orange

You may have noticed a strong bias towards food and beverage establishments… And you’d be right. I do love a good afternoon tea. Burnt Orange is a cafe/restaurant with a beautiful gift shop attached. It will soon be launching as an events venue as well, and I wonder why they haven’t done it sooner – it’s a gorgeous location and building.


There’s a glimpse of the harbour through beautiful mature gum trees, a gently sloping lawn, and rabbits hopping around just to give it an even more idyllic atmosphere. The building has a wide verandah which you can sit in and enjoy your meal. In our case, we went straight for the good stuff (predictably).


The whole place is full of homely touches, from the cute patterned plates they use to serve the food (which are also available in the shop), to the friendly service. It’s also great for babies, with neighbours graciously cooing over my rather-too-noisy-at-times 8 month old nephew. There was a good selection of gluten free cakes, too, so I was happy.


Stopping to take a whiff of the frangipani by the front door on the way out, and beaming happily relaxed are the overwhelming feelings I have when I think of Burnt Orange.In case you’re in the area, here are the places I’ve mentioned mapped out for you.

Have you been to Middle Head? Did you try any of my Top Three?

-RachelLinking up with #traveltuesday hosts BonnieCynthiaYalanda and Courtney.



  1. Foreign Geek
    27th January 2015 / 14:02

    Not yet, but I will when I move there later this year 🙂 and for sure will have an afternoon tea at the Gunners’ Barracks, those cakes look delish!

    • 27th January 2015 / 20:10

      Ooooh lucky you. Which part of the city will you be living in? Afternoon tea at the Barracks can’t be beaten, especially if you’ve got a special diet like me. Oh and if you like to look at pretty views while you eat.


  2. 27th January 2015 / 15:48

    Your photos are so preeeeetttyyy, both the scenery of the area AND the food. That Easter looking cookie & latte is fully on my radar now. I’ve not had the pleasure yet to visit Australia but I would love to some day 🙂

    • 27th January 2015 / 20:08

      Why thank you! The scenery made it fool proof 🙂 Secret – the latte-lookin drink is actually a hot chocolate. In 30 degree heat. I know. What can I say, I’m not a coffee gal!

      I’d highly recommend Australia, just in case that’s not clear…!


  3. 28th January 2015 / 14:23

    omg wow yes please to the tea and cakes , beautiful scenery to enjoy it with

    • 31st January 2015 / 16:47

      I know, what could be better than that, right?!


  4. 30th January 2015 / 08:13

    The sceanery is what i think makes everything so much better! Having tea and cakes with that view sounds so wonderful and relaxing!

    • 31st January 2015 / 16:49

      Honestly it was such a fabulous experience, I couldn’t recommend it any more highly. Complete bliss in my books!


  5. 30th May 2016 / 20:52

    Can I submit this for most comically late reply ever? Not sure how I’ve only just seen this… But yes! You need to check out this afternoon tea. It was even better than today’s!(Apart from the drinks, they will never be surpassed)

  6. Cath
    3rd June 2018 / 16:00

    Middle Head is beautiful. And don’t forget that Sydney’s two best nudist beaches can be found there. My husband and I discovered Cobblers Beach when we did the Sydney Skinny Swim to raise funds for Dr Charlie Teo’s cancer research, and have become regulars there ever since. There is a really friendly community of regulars on the beach who are very welcoming and protective of this special place.

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