If you’ve ever wondered what is the most charming and idyllic historic village in Australia – I’m pretty sure Central Tilba in NSW is it!
Full of quaint timber cottages from the 1890s, this perfectly preserved tiny heritage village with just 300 residents is an absolute dream!
Walking through Central Tilba you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time – it feels enchanting, magical, incredibly authentic and so unique!
Where Is Central Tilba NSW?
Central Tilba is located in the NSW South Coast Hinterland, 20km south of Narooma in the Eurobodalla Shire.
Located just a few hundred metres off the Princes Highway, Central Tilba is an ideal and convenient place to stop off for a few hours on any NSW South Coast road trip.
Equally, Central Tilba is becoming a popular and fashionable destination in its own right for people to come and spend the weekend, whether you’re after a romantic getaway or a fun trip with the family.
How To Get To Central Tilba NSW
Central Tilba is a 5 hour drive south of Sydney (360km). It’s an easy drive down, following the A1.
Travelling by car is definitely the most convenient way to get to Central Tilba, although you can also get there from Sydney by public transport.
There is a coach that goes all the way from Sydney to Central Tilba which takes 8 hours.
This 700-1 bus goes all the way from Sydney to Eden, stopping at many touristic destinations along the way including Sussex Inlet, Batemans Bay, Narooma, Bermagui, Merimbula and of course Tilba.
Note that this bus service is a private service run by Premier Motor Service and so you need to book your tickets in advance.
Buses run 7 days a week – including public holidays, but they only run once per day in each direction – leaving Sydney Central at 9am and arriving to Corkhill Drive in Central Tilba at 5pm.
Heading back to Bomaderry, the bus leaves from Corkhill Drive in Central Tilba at 07.55 and arrives into Sydney Central Station at 4.10pm.
So it’s a long journey, but it’s certainly doable if you don’t have a car! Plus no connections are required so you can relax the whole journey!
Fares are roughly $57 each way if buying a return ($44 for children and senior and student card holders, excess luggage/surfboards/bikes costs a bit extra), or $63 if just buying a one-way ticket.
If coming from Canberra it will take you just over 3 hours drive to get to Central Tilba.
What Is Tilba Known For?
Tilba is known for its beautifully preserved heritage buildings and is classified under The National Trust. In fact it is known as one of Australia’s best heritage sites!
Gold was also found in Tilba in 1877 so it is recognised as one of the many gold rush towns of Australia.
Is Central Tilba Worth Visiting?
Honestly, Central Tilba is a complete gem 100% worth visiting!
What was once just a small dairy village has now become a chic weekend destination for people to visit, complete with many cafes, gift shoppes and boutique accommodations to suit everyone.
With its gorgeous historic buildings, picturesque streets and lovely relaxed atmosphere there’s nothing you can’t love about this place!
The countryside surrounding Central Tilba is incredibly stunning, with rolling green hills and Mount Gulaga in the background.
Plus, the beaches and bigger towns are just a short drive away so you can pack a lot in your day and explore many places nearby.
I’ve been travelling around Australia for the best part of three years now and I’ve never seen a more picturesque village than Central Tilba.
If you are keen to get an authentic look into 19th-century living Australia as it was, this is the place!
Things To Do In Central Tilba
Stroll Down Bate Street
Bate Street is the main street in Central Tilba, full of wonderfully maintained heritage weatherboard shops dotted along the charming street, painted in all different colours.
Take a relaxed stroll down here and admire the stunning historic buildings and all the details.
Many of the residents in Central Tilba are artists so you’ll find lots of art and traditional craft shops, as well as stores selling curios and local gourmet produce.
Tilba Dairy (ABC Cheese Factory)
At the end of Bate Street, The Tilba Cheese Factory which opened in 1891 produces many award-winning cheeses from local jersey cows using traditional methods.
You can watch the cheesemaking and milk bottling process and taste lots of different cheeses! Definitely pick up some cheeses and milkshakes (the cows make the creamiest, sweetest milk here!) for a snack later!
Tilba Dairy is open from 9am-4.30pm 7 days a week.
On Saturday mornings there is a great vibe down at the Tilba Markets, where you can get the best local produce straight from the farmers! There’s also lots of live music around!
If you’ll be visiting during the Easter weekend you’ll also get to witness the Tilba Festival on Easter Sunday!
Where To Go For Food & Drink In Central Tilba
Stop off for a drink or some food at the iconic Dromedary Hotel, which has still retained its charm after serving as Tilba’s local gathering place for over 120 years!
They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food here is pretty good!
A Smokehouse Bay & Grill open Thursdays-Sundays.
Serves over 200 different types of tea!
Tilba Teapot Cafe
Great for a delicious breakfast!
Shops In Central Tilba
Tiba Sweet Spot – a traditional Lollipop Shoppe which is a great spot for kids to get some treats!
Mockingbird Lane – great unique home goods store.
Things To Do Near Central Tilba NSW
Visit Tilba Tilba
Located just 2km south of Central Tilba is Tilba Tilba, another gorgous village a little smaller than Central Tilba that is definitely worth a visit seein as you’re in the area.
Tilba Valley Winery & Ale House
A 5 miute drive up towards Corunna will take you to the Tilba Valley Winery & Ale House. There is a cellar door here for you to enjoy wine tasting in a beautiful setting with live music on Sundays.
Opening times are 10am-4pm Wednesday – Friday, and 11am-5pm at the weekends. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Climb Mount Gulaga
Central Tilba lies in the foothills of the once-active Gulaga Volcano. The now-extinct volcano, known as Mount Gulaga is a place of spiritual significance for the local Aboriginal Yuin people.
Note that it is sometimes called Mount Dromedary as that was the name Captain Cook gave to Mount Gulaga – as it reminded him of a dromedary camel. Gulaga is the Aboriginal name.
If you’re up to it you can do the Gulaga Mountain Walk to the top of Mount Gulaga. It’s a steep 14km climb, the mountain is over 1000 metres high and it will take a few hours, but the views from the top between the trees are excellent.
Scenic Drives & Walking Tracks
The countryside surrounding Tilba is some of the most picturesque in the whole of the state of NSW, and there are many scenic drives and walking tracks around Tilba that you can visit, such as the Bellbird Scenic Drive and the Bellbrook Loop Track (2km walking track).
There are also lots of kangaroos and wallabies around so be on the lookout!
Visit Mystery Bay & 1080 Beach
An 8km / 10 minute drive east of Central Tilba will bring you to Mystery Bay Beach and Mystery Bay Lookout. The views from here are stunning.
Make sure to also check out 1080 Beach nearby. Both beaches are the perfect spot to go for a quick dip or surf.
Visit nearby Narooma
Narooma is famous for its fur seals, so head out on a day trip to Montague Island where you can go snorkelling with the seals!
Accommodation In Tilba
Located just behind Bate Street in the centre of Tilba, Pet Friendly Farm Stay is a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with garden and barbecue facilities. Situated in the ideal location if you’re a family or group of friends travelling together.
Beautiful French provincial-style apartments set in the village of Tilba Tilba, 2km from Central Tilba. This is the perfect accommodation if you’re looking for a romantic weekend away.
Located right in the heart of Central Tilba, this is the ideal guesthouse to base yourself in for your stay – with free breakfast included too!
2 bedroom holiday home complete with a kitchen located 1.7km from Central Tilba.
If you prefer camping, stay at the nearby Mystery Bay Campground. This lovely unpowered camping site faces the ocean and has cold showers, pit toilets and water taps.
Hopefully you’ll have a brilliant time in Central Tilba and enjoy this beautiful place!
If you’re looking for more gorgeous and quaint Australian villages and towns, check out Walhalla (VIC), Braidwood (NSW) and Bowral (NSW) – all with a lovely village feel.