Bald Hill was the location for Lawrence Hargrave’s box kite experiments, but it’s bikes that now do the flying
Flying High Cafe – Sitting high on a grassy windswept peak, enjoying unobstructed views down the coast as far as the eye can see, is a location that has been a popular stop for motorcyclists for decades.
Bald Hill at Stanwell Tops on the NSW South Coast is heaven-sent for motorcycle riders. It’s situated at the southern end of the Royal National Park, and northern end of the Grand Pacific Drive that hugs the coast as it winds through postcard-quality villages all the way to Thirroul.
It doesn’t matter if you arrive from north, south or west, there’s numerous short and long routes you can attack to arrive at the popular hangout, which are all riding paradise.
The nearby Hindu temple and Sea Cliff Bridge attracts tourists in their thousands, pushbike riders by the peleton, and flocks of handgliders – a common sight in the skies since aviation pioneer Lawrence Hargrave started the craze from that very spot with a box kite in 1894.
And at the heart of the action is the Flying High Café. Rhett Davies owns the tiny 4m x 4m café with brother, Jarod, and their wives, Katy and Lee.
“I have been coming here my whole life,” Rhett said. “My dad Phill owned and operated the famous carpark ice-cream van that has been here for 30 years. It was originally owned by the infamous former Member for Bulli and Heathcote, Rex Jackson.”
Rhett said the crowd that converges on the famous landmark daily is made up of multiple minorities, but they all like to think they are the majority. “Some days there are so many motorcycles here the cars cannot get in, other times it’s the car clubs that rule the roost. There’s always something different to see up here.”
Despite the cafe’s diminutive size, Rhett’s experience in the food game is evident in the way his staff deal with hordes of hungry patrons that roll in from sun-up each day. Fresh food and fast happy service has given the café a loyal following.
“We have guys on motorbikes that come here every single day,” Rhett said. “We have become part of their life, and that’s great. This place is important to a lot of people who have been coming here for a very long time.”
It would be a rare thing to see the carpark void of motorycles during daylight hours, but Sunday is when things really get crazy at Bald Hill. The carpark turns into a constantly changing bike show, as classic and custom machinery arrive and leave. If you love a chat about motorbikes, Bald Hill on a Sunday will leave you hoarse.
Top 5 Menu Picks
Fish and Chips $12.00
Bald Hill Burger $12.00
Veggie Burger $15.95
Chicken Parmigiana $20.95
Chilli Cheese Fries $10.00
At a glance
Flying High Cafe
Bald Hill Lookout
Stanwell Tops, NSW
Eric Lemon loves two-stroke motorcycles so much he bought a stable of them as a retirement present for himself. We spotted Eric in the Bald Hill carpark (below) standing beside his two-stroke Honda NSR400R.
”I raced two-strokes back in the day, TRs and TZs,” he said. “The NSR400 was sold in Australia in 1986 and 1987; they were not on the market in Australia very long.”
Powered by a 387cc three-pot, the NSR400R produces a claimed 53kW at 9500rpm and weighs 163kg (wet). A nice little touch to Eric’s bike is Freddie Spencer’s signature on the seat cowl.
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