The tilba District
The villages of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba are as beautiful as they are unique.
Classified by the National Trust and regarded as one of Australia’s best heritage sights, Central Tilba offers a living snapshot of 19th century Australia along with a strong connection to indigenous cultural history.
In a land where rolling hills meet pristine beaches, it’s no surprise why this unique piece of the country appealed to those who settled here in the late 1800s.
Still largely intact today thanks to their National Trust Heritage status, the pretty weatherboard buildings of the historic townships of Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba deliver authentic charm against the backdrop of ‘Mother’ Gulaga, a mountain sacred to the local Yuin people.
Things to see and do
Dairy farms founded their homes from the rich volcanic soil around the mountain. Together, the basis for good dairy farms and the villages of Tilba were born. When gold mining dwindled in the early 1900s the dairy industry continued and Tilba became the home of exceptional cheeses.
With a flourishing countryside and sparkling waterways, quality food and produce has become the lifeblood of the Tilba region. Once the home of the TV series River Cottage Australia, the area is renowned for pure produce, bespoke arts and crafts, and a contemporary take on authentic living.
At the bottom of Central Tilba’s tree-lined main street, the ABC Cheese Factory continues a tradition started in its dairy in 1891, offering award-winning cheeses from local jersey cows. You will also find the south coast’s most extensive range of honey to sample and buy.
Take a guided walk to learn more about the fascinating history of the Tilba district.
Shops and cafes
Central Tilba and Tilba Tilba are renowned for their boutique stores, galleries and cafes, bursting with local produce, arts and crafts. The range is broad; from handcrafted leathergoods and wood-turned items to clothing, jewellery, beauty products, antiques, and curios. With the emphasis on local and regional produce, visitors can choose from bath bombs and soap, candles, arts and gifts, and other beautifully crafted items; many created in or around the Tilba district.
For many years, the Tilba Real Dairy has been the main destination in town, while anecdotes abound of nights spent at the historic Dromedary Hotel at the ‘top of the town’. The famous General Store and the traditional lolly shop Tilba Sweet Spot are also firm favourites of those for who a visit to ‘Tilba’ is a tradition. Or simply enjoy a hearty breakfast, a cream tea or a fresh, tasty lunch at one of the many cafes.
On a Saturday morning, experience the Tilba Market. Shoppers are entertained by a local playing piano on stage, and locally grown organic produce, freshly baked goods, and unique handmade local crafts are sold directly by their creators.
Walks around Tilba
Bellbrook Farm Loop is shorter and easier trail although there are many steps and it’s steep in places, but worth it. It will take you to the foothills of Gulaga from behind the historic Dromedary Hotel in Central Tilba.
Cemetery Beach walk
For stunning vistas out to sea and across to Montague Island, as well as maginificent views back across Tilba Lake to Mount Gulaga, drive to the end of Sherringham Lane – located across the highway from the Corkhill Drive turn off to Central Tilba. Park near the old district cemeteries to access the beach. In the cemeteries you will find the names of many of the old established Tilba district families.
Gulaga – the mother mountain
Gulaga is the spiritual backdrop to the Tilba region: the Indigenous Yuin people hold this mountain sacred.
The mountain and surrounding foothills were made into a national park in 2001, and in 2006 the park was handed over to its traditional owners. Jointly administered by the Yuin and the National Parks Service, Gulaga National Park remains a special place – please be respectful.
Dwayne Bannon-Harrison explains his spiritual connection to Gulaga and why Mother Gulaga is the centre of Yuin culture around which daily life is anchored.
Learn more about the Tilba district
The story behind the making of Tilba Real Dairy, its creamy milk and delectable cheeses. Soft cheeses, delicious pot set yoghurt, milk from Jersey cows: it’s no wonder that visitors to Tilba love a detour to the ABC Cheese Factory – home to Tilba Real Dairy’s production factory and retail store. When Erica Dibden and ...