Heritage villages on the South Coast
Step back in time into two small heritage villages on the NSW South Coast. Nestled in the shadows of Mt Gulaga, amid rolling green dairy pastures you will discover Tilba Tilba and Central Tilba. Spend a relaxing morning exploring the two villages, while browsing through the arts ,crafts and produce shops along the main street.
Not only is it a pretty place, but a very peaceful place. Immaculately maintained weatherboard miners’ cottages line the main street. Rolling hills and dramatic volcanic landscapes surround them.
Dreamtime stories, fresh produce and artisans
Nearby Mount Gulaga is the traditional land of the Yuin people. , Their dreamtime stories are told in the volcanic landscape surrounding the villages. The area holds an important cultural and spiritual significance to the Yuin people.
The area was also the setting for the popular TV series, “The River Cottage,” which some readers may have followed. The locals maintain an emphasis on growing fresh local produce, honey and the dairy products for which the area is even more famous.
Tilba is a creative hub, with a wide range of handcrafted pieces available across a wide range of media. From woodworking, jewellery and leather working, to painting, photography and even candle making. You will find a wide range of interesting outlets during your visit to Central Tilba.
A gold mining town during the mid 1800’s, the rich pastureland became the basis for successful dairy farming. When gold mining ceased early last century, the towns became well known for their cheese production.
Today the villages provide a relaxed lifestyle and a unique peek at a bygone era through the preserved cottages.
Tilba cheese is still manufactured in the ABC cheese factory at the bottom of the hill. Here visitors can watch cheese and milk being produced as well as sampling the local produce.
While many of the weatherboard cottages remain as private residences, several are today craft, gift shops and cafes. Central Tilba is really just one street, flanked by quaint former miners cottages.
The hub of the town is the local “mixed business”. Here you will find the local “corner store”, garage, post office, bank agency and Bed and Breakfast all in one building. Enjoy genuine country hospitality for a few nights while exploring the local region. Don’t forget to sample the home-made fudge, and say hi to Bridee, the effervescent spaniel who believes she runs the show.
The nearby Dromedary Hotel has recently been renovated and has been the social centre of the towns for over a hundred years. Great spot to stop and enjoy a good Aussie beer on the verandah and meet a few of the locals.
On Saturday mornings the local hall is abuzz with the Tilba Growers market and the chance to purchase fresh local produce and locally made crafts.
Spend a morning browsing through the quaint shops. You will find handmade leather goods and handicrafts, handcrafted woodwork, bespoke jewellery, unique candle ware, antiques, clothing and curiosities. You can even purchase fossils and gemstones to add to your collection, home made boutique soaps and gourmet teas among the unusual wares on offer
Do take the opportunity to relax for a coffee and a bite to eat while taking in the atmosphere of the village.
A short drive to the south, the even smaller village of Tilba Tilba is now the starting point for the hike to the summit of Mt Gulaga.
Starting from Pam’s store, now also a gourmet cafe, the walk takes around half a day to complete and you will need to be physically fit to enjoy the hike. The hike passes through rainforest, past waterfalls and old mine workings, giving you a true glimpse of the natural beauty of the area.
Self guided tours are welcome, with guided tours available through the local tourist centre.
Mount Gulaga, near Tilba NSW – Image by Lindy Quin
The two villages are around a ten minute drive from either Narooma or Bermagui.
Read also: Narooma, the place we call home