Tilba Tilba, ACT

Timeless Tilba Tilba 

“My favourite weekend spot is a small town called Tilba Tilba in NSW. My wife and I fell in love with this little place and are planning our next romantic holiday there.” AT reader Stephen Fisher, Boronia, Vic

Sometimes progress can be a bad thing. When the Princess Highway was upgraded and bypassed Tilba Tilba, the locals were concerned about how it would affect the development of this sleepy little hamlet to the northeast of Eden on the NSW South Coast. They missed out on the 24hr truck stop and the obligatory highway McDonalds. And for that “lack of progress” we can all rejoice.

Speckled with art galleries and sweet shops, Central Tilba and neighbouring Tilba Tilba are antiques in their own right – they’re 19th Century charming without being overbearingly twee. And they haven’t been commercialised out of existence; you can stay in affordable, wonderfully preserved accommodation resting in the shade of mighty Mt Dromedary.

Narooma, with its sandy shoreline and proximity to Montague Island, is just 15min north and well worth a drop in. But with Tilba Tilba as your focus, you’ll be overcome with charm. Think of gently rolling hills of verdant green, sunk in a generous morning mist. Think of waking up to a weekend of doing absolutely nothing other than taking a stroll through the township or exploring the peaceful Foxglove Spire Gardens, a century-old cottage buried in lush woodlands and blooming flowerbeds. Think of that fantastic seafood lunch at a Narooma harbour cafe before heading back into the hills for cheese platters from the ABC Cheese Factory, then straight to the beach for an afternoon swim. Think of retiring to your romantic little B&B with nothing more to do than finally read that book you’ve been meaning to for the last five years. Think of Tilba.

Other things to do:

  • Hike Mt Dromedary (797m peak, the views are out of this world) 

  • Pass through the lush forests of the Gulaga Flora reserve.

  • The lake-filled Gulaga National Park is bursting with bird watching nooks, swimming holes and fishing spots.

  • Access the lakes by hiring boats from either Beauty or Regatta Points.

  • Several horse riding outfits specialise in out-rides through rainforests and along barren beaches (check out www.jingarratrailrides.com)

Details: Tilba Tilba
Where: 365km south of Sydney (5hr drive) or 236km and 2.5hrs southeast of Canberra.
Contact: The very helpful staff at the Bate St General Store (02) 4473 7290 or www.naturecoast-tourism.com.au and www.southcoast.com.au
What to take: With 13 lakes in the vicinity, your bathers would seem the best idea.
Where to stay: Try the farmstay experience of Mountain View Farm Cottages in Tilba Tilba, (02) 4473 7207.
Did you know: Originally inhabited by the Yurin Aboriginal tribe, their word “Tilba” means “wind.” Two Tilbas means lots. 

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