#navbar-iframe { display: none; }

« Home | Duke Bistro, Darlinghurst » | Malacca Straits, Broadway Ultimo » | Daruma Japanese Restaurant, Haymarket Chinatown » | Happy Lemon, Broadway » | On The Pier, Batemans Bay and Moruya Markets » | Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Picnic » | Bavarian Bier Cafe O'Connell, Sydney » | Freebie Friday: Win a $100 gift voucher from Audre... » | Kazbah, Balmain - Breakfast Banquet » | The Famous Berry Donut Van and a food tour of Berry »

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bodalla, Tuross Head and The Big Cheese: South Coast NSW

Who doesn't love a country fair?

After a leisurely morning at the Moruya Markets on the South Coast, we pulled into Bodalla (population 308 according to the 2006 census) just after midday.

Bodalla police station

The town of Bodalla began when Thomas Sutcliffe Mort purchased 13,000 acres of land in the area in 1860. Mort was determined to create a dairy estate, eventually supplying fresh milk, butter and cheese to Sydney. He is perhaps remembered as the father of Australia dairying, and recognised as one of the pioneers in refrigeration machinery, registering an ice-making patent in 1861, setting up the first freezing works in the world in Darling Harbour, and trialling his first shipment of frozen meat to London in 1868.

Bodalla Debutante Ball

Bodalla is a close-knit community that is proud of its roots. We were sorry to miss out on tickets for the Debutante Ball but a poster advertising the Heritage Fair seemed too good to resist.

Bodalla Heritage Fair

Bodalla Heritage Fair

It was 1.00pm by the time we spotted the poster and being city folk we were rather worried we wouldn't have time to get there in time and see everything. Oh how silly were we. The Bodalla Oval was only about three minutes down the road, with nary a queue and a small cluster of stalls spread out across the field.

Locals dressed up

Demonstration of spinning wool

Concert stage with local musicians

1904 6 horse power York portable farm engine
used to drive a peg toothed drum thresher and winnower to make chaff for stock feed

International harvester
Model M tractor circa 1952

1950 Riley 2 1/2 litre saloon, manufactured from 1946-1953
The Riley was Britain's most successful motor company between 1910 and 1938

Baby goat




We headed back to the town of Bodalla for a late lunch.

Malibu Mex Mexican Restaurant

Malibu Mex Mexican Restaurant and Surf Museum

The Malibu Mex restaurant looked crazy cool with surfboard chairs and a surfboard roof, but it was unfortunately closed.

Bodalla Dairy Shed

Bodalla Dairy Shed

I had been keen to check out the Bodalla Dairy Shed after hearing of its retro fit out and traditional milkshake menu. By the time we stopped in however, after checking out the All Saints Church (built in commemoration of Thomas Mort by architect Edmund Blacket, designer of St Andrews Cathedral and University of Sydney buildings), we were told that the kitchen had closed only five minutes earlier.

Retro table and chairs

Main dining room with chairs and booths


Bodalla Bakery

Bodalla Bakery

We end up at the historic Bodalla Bakery instead, baking bread in a woodfired oven since 1870.

Donuts and apple cinnamon scrolls

Melting moments and Anzac biscuits

The tea room

Crocheted tea set, cupcakes and macarons

Cornish pastie $4.40

Inside the Cornish pastie

Our Cornish pasties were brilliant - a generous filling of beef mince, carrot and potato in a pastry that wasn't overly thick but light and tasty.

Ella May Holiday Flats

Ella May Holiday Flats

From Bodalla we backtracked to our accommodation at Tuross Head, a sleepy coastal town on the end of the jutting headland between Tuross and Coila lakes. We hadn't been quite sure what to expect with a name like Ella May Holiday Flats (bales of hay? a man named Jed?) but we're impressed by the two-bedroom flat with bright and airy rooms and chirpy decor.

Kids room

Red Box Pizza

Red Box Pizza

We're booked into dinner at Red Box Pizza, a spot that sounds ordinary enough until you actually arrive at the scene. We notice the stretch of lake behind the building, but it's not until we're led down the stairs out the back that we realise that patrons dine on the deck right by the water.

Waterfront dining

It's rather surreal sitting so close to the edge of the wharf. To my right is the huge stretch of water that is Tuross Lake, lapping quietly right beneath my chair.

Now this is what I call waterfront dining!

Garlic pizza $9 small

Stretchy mozzarella

Nemo and I share three pizzas, starting with a simple garlic pizza that is laden with cheese, before moving on to the supremo and pear bianco.

Supremo pizza $20 large
Tomato, mozzarella, onion, mushrooms, capsicum, ham, olives, anchovies and pineapple

The woodfired oven gives a deliciously smoky and crisp base.

Rocket salad $7

Pear bianco $22 large
Ricotta cheese, prosciutto, pear, roast capsicum, fresh chilli, capers and brie cheese

Pear pizza $12
Vanilla custard and pear topped with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato

An unseasonal shift in weather brings on a sprinkling of rain and we move back upstairs under shelter. Sitting closer to the kitchen enables us to chat with the staff, who have no shortage of entertaining tales about working with a view of the Tuross Lake. We hear about the dolphins who would swim past like clockwork at the same hour each afternoon, and the day they spotted a kangaroo swimming across the lake.


Tilba Sweet Spot - Old Time Lolly Shop

The weather doesn't let up the next day, and after our planned kayak adventure is cancelled, we decide to head to Tilba (population 80) instead, a picturesque village 360km south of Sydney. The entire township is protected by a National Trust listing.

We find a series of charming cottages selling woodwork, art, jewellery and gifts, but it's the staple of every tourist town - the ye olde lolly shop - that gets us most excited of course.

Pint pots - beer flavoured jellies

I bought a bag of these beer flavoured pint pots and still can't find anyone to help me finish them. They smell strongly of hops and taste much the same way too.

There's a huge range of boiled lollies, sherbets, licorice, American candies and English favourites too.

Boiled sweets

Tilba Club Cheese at the ABC Cheese Factory

ABC Cheese Factory

Down the road we stopped at the ABC Cheese Factory, first established in 1891, and the first cheese co-operative in NSW.

Tilba cheese

Tilba Club Cheese is unusual in that is used a secondary manufacturing technique, where mature cheese is crumbled and then mixed with other flavours before being pressed in traditional hoop moulds, and finally waxed by hand.

I tasted the range of flavours, including applebox smoke, Vintage and the Tilba Trilogy before finally settling on the Red Pepper variety which was sweet with a spicy kick.

Bum hummers (1,000 farts in a jar!!!) in the ABC Cheese Factory shop

Rose & Sparrow Cafe

Rose & Sparrow Cafe

Hamburger with the lot

Did somebody order a hamburger? We almost laugh with disbelief when our lunch arrives, a towering beauty of beef patty, beetroot, pineapple, eggs, bacon and salad sandwiched between a toasted bun and skewered with a toothpick. It even dwarfs the garnish of rockmelon wedge on the side.

No burger is complete without chips

Bates Emporium Store

The Bates Emporium Store is also a step back in time, the town general store opened in 1895 and once the largest store on the South Coast in its heyday.

The general store was featured in a Nescafe ad

Siphon bottles

Lining the back wall is a huge series of wooden shelves which you can imagine used to hold every grocery item a housewife could want. Now there's an assortment of modern products mixed with historic memorabilia like old soft drink bottles, beer bottles and siphons.

The Big Cheese

And how can't drive through the South Coast without taking a photo of the Big Cheese!

The Big Cheese

Sadly the Big Cheese looks more like a big yellow can. It's faded now too, as the Big Cheese visitors centre closed down in 2007.

And after four nights on the South Coast, it was back to Sydney. I think we'll be back soon.

Grab Your Fork and guest travelled to the South Coast hosted by Tourism Wollongong and Eurobodalla Coast Tourism.

Famil inclusions: Ella May Holiday Flats, Red Box Pizza and Hertz car rental

Personally paid for: Bodalla Bakery, Tilba Sweet Spot, ABC Cheese Factory and the Rose & Sparrow Cafe

Malibu Mex Mexican Restaurant & Surf Museum
81 Princes Highway, Bodalla
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 5583

Open Wednesday to Saturday 6pm-11pm

Bodalla Dairy Shed
52 Princes Highway, Bodalla
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 5555

Opening hours:
Wednesday to Friday 9am-5pm
Saturday and Sunday 8am-5pm

Bodalla Bakery

66 Princes Highway, Bodalla
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 5213

Open 7 days 9am-4pm

Ella May Holiday Flats
15 Jellicoe Road, Tuross Head
Tel: +61 (02) 6161 7793

Red Box Pizza
93b Trafalgar Road, Tuross Head
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 8537

Opening hours:
Lunch Saturday and Sunday 12noon-2.30pm
Dinner Wednesday to Sunday 5pm-8.30pm

The Tilba Sweet Spot - Old Time Lolly Shop
Bate Street, Central Tilba
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 7099

Open 7 days 10am-4.30pm

Tilba Club Cheese at ABC Cheese Factory
37 Bate Street, Central Tilba
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 7387

Open 7 days 9am-5pm (except Christmas Day)

Tilba Rose & Sparrow Cafe
4 Bate Street, Central Tilba
Tel: +61 (02) 4473 7229

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Batemans Bay and Moruya Markets
The Famous Berry Donut Van and a food tour of Berry
Nan Tien Temple and a food tour of Wollongong
9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/21/2010 03:26:00 am


  • At 12/21/2010 8:12 am, Blogger K said…

    Wow, some of those places are such gems! Bring the beer candy along to S11 events next time and I'm sure Mr Potato Head and M will give them a try. :)
    LOVE those old fashioned bottles!

  • At 12/21/2010 9:01 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    I'll help you with Beer jellies! :D the waterfront seating at the pizza place looks wonky... but man, that Mexican place looks awesome!!

  • At 12/21/2010 10:40 am, Anonymous jude said…

    Fabulous, many familiar spots and lots of newies. You may be interested to know that you didn't miss anything at the (closed) Big Cheese. It was the worst, saddest, and most expensive rip-off tourist centre in the country, run by 2 of the weirdest Austrians (?) you could ever wish to meet. Terribly disappointing. Bodalla is much better without it!

  • At 12/21/2010 12:11 pm, Blogger Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said…

    Now why was my bedroom never like that kids' room when I was younger?

    The waterfront pizza place looks excellent and the husband would've been happy to have that pear pizza (big fan of dessert pizzas). Bit worried about the seemingly slanted deck seating though?

  • At 12/21/2010 12:44 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Squee!! That lolly shop in Tilba was one of my favourite places/parts of holidays when I was younger. Whenever we went to the coast or on a driving holiday, I'd keep my eyes peeled for old fashion lolly shops.

    It seems I've always had a sweet tooth :P

    Didn't realise deb balls still happened these days, though!

  • At 12/21/2010 7:11 pm, Blogger Anna said…

    Lovely photos, Helen :) I have decided I want a baby goat for Christmas - what a gorgeous little fellow!

  • At 12/21/2010 9:47 pm, Anonymous sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    I don't think I would be having a few glasses of wine with my pizza, I would end up in the drink!!

  • At 12/21/2010 11:45 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi K - Ahh great idea! And yes those bottles are so cool aren't they?

    Hi Billy - Argh must remember to bring you some. Not sure if my camera angle is to blame for the perspective shift and yes I was so sad the Mexican place was closed!

    Hi Jude - Aww thanks for letting me know. I love that Australia has such a larrikin appreciation of all things Big. It is a shame that the cheese makers in Bodalla had to close though.

    Hi Mademoiselle Delicieuse - I know! That's what I was thinking! The kids room was so cool.

    Ha, not sure if my camera angle was to blame?

    Hi Hannah - I do love lolly shops. So many treats to admire and pine over! I think Deb Balls still take place in many towns around Aust and hey, there's nothing wrong with honing our sweet tooths early, right?

    Hi Ladybird - Think of all the time you'd save mowing your lawn too!

    Hi Sara - Ha, I admit I was a little nervous at times, and I did make sure to keep a firm hold of my camera!

  • At 12/23/2010 12:53 am, Blogger lifeis2munch said…

    that pear bianco looked super yummy! i need to find someone to drag there with me...


Post a Comment

<< Home

      << Read Older Posts       |       >> Read Newer Posts