NSW south coast tour

This marvellous tour is based in the historic villages of Tilba and Bermagui on the Sapphire coast of NSW. Surrounded by mountains, national parks, rolling farmlands, rivers, lakes and miles of pristine coastline, it is the perfect place for a week of walking, swimming and sampling fine local food.

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We believe the south coast of New South Wales is very special place:  mountains covered in eucalyptus rainforests, rolling green farmlands; breathtaking coastline made up of stunning beaches and pristine lakes; and sleepy heritage villages and coastal towns, plus there are four national parks to explore.


The first three days of the tour are based near Central Tilba, a beautiful heritage village on the south coast of New South Wales.  Behind the village is spectacular Mt Gulaga (an extinct volcano) and the forests of the Gulaga National Park.  In front, rich farmlands roll down to kilometres of uncontaminated beaches and freshwater lakes. 

For the next three days of the tour, we will be based in luxurious accommodation, a private retreat that is a short drive south of Bermagui, capital of the Sapphire Coast.  The beautifully appointed house is in the middle of an eighty acre eco-paradise, bounded by the Mimosa Rocks National Park and a pristine stretch of coastline.  It has a swimming pool and is a short walk from the beach. 

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It was not by chance that Central Tilba was used as the site for the very successful TV show ‘River Cottage, Australia’.  Hosted by Tasmanian chef Paul West, the show highlighted the region’s excellent culinary treasures, including: its famous cheeses; its celebrated produce; the Mimosa and Tilba Valley wines and ales; but most of all, its fresh seafood, particularly the fine  oysters that are cultivated in the area's crystal-clear waters.

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The tour starts with a guided heritage walk and dinner in Central Tilba.  It also includes with:  a spectacular walk up mystical Mt Gulaga; a walk from through spotted gum forests to the Narooma inlet; a boat trip out to Monague Island (a nature reserve that is home to hundreds of seals and over ninety species of birds); a private cooking lesson with a very accomplished local chef (whose credits, among many, include working as the producer and menu designer for ‘River Cottage Australia’); a walk from Baimanga National Park to the coast; and a coastal walk through the Bournda National Park to historic Tathra.

Having grown up in Canberra, this beautiful part of the world has always been special to me and I’m very glad to be able to share it!

The accommodation:

The accommodation:

The accommodation for the first three nights is a short walk from Central Tllba in a very comfortable 4-star lodging in an eight-acre estate.  There is a large lounge area with a fireplace.  Breakfast will be served on the verandah.  Dinner will be served along the French farmhouse table in the dining room.

For the second three days, we will be staying in luxurious accommodation surrounded by unspoilt bushland and pristine beaches south of Bermagui.  The well-appointed bedrooms have en suite bathrooms.  There is a large living area, generous verandah, a BBQ and beautiful gardens.  There is a swimming pool and the beach is a ten-minute walk away.

The walks:

The walks:

Surrounded by mountains, national parks, rolling dairy farmlands, rivers, freshwater lakes and miles of pristine coastline, this area offers some fantastic walking.  First and foremost, Mt Gulaga, an extinct volcano that dominates the whole coast, which is considered sacred by the local Yuin people.  We also include country rambles through fields and forests and lovely walks along the spectacular Sapphire Coast.  There will be two guides on each walk.  Please see the itinerary for details of each walk.

The food and wine:

The food and wine:

As the popular TV program ‘River Cottage, Australia’ showed, the district around Central Tilba has a wonderful culinary tradition: excellent fruit and vegetables grown in the deep volcanic soil; celebrated Tilba cheeses, butter and yoghurts produced from local milk; fresh seafood available at the wharves of nearby Bermagui and the oysters grown in the pristine estuaries behind Narooma. 

Our all-inclusive tour includes pop-up picnic lunches; visits to some of the regions best restaurants; the privately catered dinners and a cooking lesson conducted by the executive chef of ‘River Cottage, Australia.’  We will also have the chance to sample the local wines and ales.

Getting there:

Getting there:

Central Tilba and Bermagui are on the Sapphire coast of southern New South Wales, approximately five hours’ drive from Sydney and six hours from Melbourne.  The roads are good but we would recommend breaking the drive into two days, there are plenty of really good places to stop along the way, coming from either direction.  The closest airport from Sydney is Moruya while Merrimbula has the closest airport for Melbourne.

Health and safety:

Health and safety:

All aspects of the tour will comply with the NSW government recommended health, safety and cleanliness procedures. including: the maintenance of social distancing (in the accommodation; in the transport; at meal-times and during activities); regular deep cleaning of the accommodation and transport, compulsory hand sanitizer use entering and leaving the accommodation, transport and restaurants.  Each member of the group will be provided with surgical face masks, disposable gloves and a bottle of hand sanitiser.

Booking conditions:

We require a $500 per person non-refundable deposit to confirm the booking.  Should government COVID-19 travel restrictions prevent the tour from operating, the tour will be rescheduled.  In the event the new dates are not suitable, you will have the option of a credit note for the amount paid which can be used towards future tours or a full refund, minus the deposit which will be held as credit for future tours.  Click here for full T&C’s

The tour leader:

The tour leader:

The tour will lead by Simon Tancred.  "I first went to Italy as a backpacker in 1980 and fell in love with the country.  I returned in 1983, living and working in Milan until 1988. Afterwards I worked at the Institute of Languages, University of New South Wales (Sydney) taking guided tours to Italy annually. I spent two years with my family in Prato (Florence) in 2003 and 2004, working at the Monash University (Melbourne) Centre. Since then I have dedicated myself full-time to Hidden Italy. I love photography and writing and have had articles and photographs on Italy published in most major Australian newspapers and travel magazines. I speak fluent Italian, alas with a pronounced Australian accent.  "Great Walks" magazine recently said I had the best job in the world.. there are other much more worthy jobs around but I am lucky my passion has become my profession - click here to read their interview."

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Sapphire Coast (NSW) walking tour

  • Tour Lead

    Simon Tancred

  • Tour Size
    10 people
  • Tour Cost


    per person
  • 3 nights in 4-star accommodation (a short walk from the village) and 3 nights in 4-star in a luxury resort south of Bermagui
  • All breakfasts, all lunches and dinners with wine included (see itinerary for details)
  • All transfers listed in the itinerary
  • 4 guided walks (with two guides)
  • A half-day trip to Montague Island
  • A professional seafood cooking lesson in purpose-built kitchen


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The tour was wonderful and certainly lived up to any expectations I may have had. The highlights..... that is a difficult one to answer. The walks, the food, the accommodation... Personally, I wouldn't know of any changes to suggest.

– Pam Parodi, 2021

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