Perfectly positioned with rolling fields in one direction, national park in another, and the ocean a short drive away, Bega is the buzzy regional centre of the Sapphire Coast.
It’s famed for its cheese production, but beyond cheese tasting there’s a whole lot more to see and do around town – and beyond. Stay a while and get to know the rural heartland of the region. Stay longer and explore the charming country towns nearby.
Where to stay
Bega Village Motor Inn
The Bega Village Motor Inn features decent-sized rooms with all the mod cons required for a comfortable stay, including fridges, microwaves and stovetops for those who wish to dine in. If you want to head into town, the shops and restaurants are all a hop and a skip away and the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre is the 10 minutes’ drive away.
Bega Downs Motor Inn
The well-designed rooms in this comfortable hotel come in a variety of configurations, ideal for everyone from the corporate traveller to the family on that much-needed holiday. Bega Downs Motor Inn also a restaurant onsite, and a salt water swimming pool for when the weather calls for it.
Located on the Old Princes Highway (now Newtown Road) – making it a convenient option for those who want a quick overnight stop en route elsewhere – Bega Motel is a budget friendly and comfortable option. The motel has a variety of rooms to suit solo travellers, couples and families, with some rooms allocated to allow pets too.
This comfortable recently renovated hotel in Tathra – located 15 minutes’ drive from Bega – is comprised of both a hotel (rooms and suites) and a motel (units), with some of the lodgings boasting views of the ocean. Whatever option you choose, a stay here is comfortable, the service is friendly, and the headland location makes for a spectacular backdrop. Tathra Hotel also an onsite bistro, which is very popular with locals and visitors alike. Book ahead.
BIG4 Tathra Beach Holiday Park
This one is a gem for families, with everything for camp sites to cabins available for a variety of budgets. The reality however is, that kids care way more about the location than where they will sleep, and there’s plenty to do on the premises and beyond. BIG4 Tathra Beach Holiday Park has a solar-heated pool onsite, the ocean nearby, great bike tracks nearby (and bike hire available through BIG4), a playground, recreation room and more, everyone in the family will sleep well.
Where to eat in Bega
Nook Tea and Espresso Bar
For simple cafe fare done incredibly well, you can’t go past Nook Tea and Espresso Bar. Manager Brent is extremely passionate about all things coffee, with his special ristretto coffee the talk of the town. But if chai is more your cup of tea, the team here brew their own and it’s a delightful concoction of Tielka’s Organic Chai Tea. Lunch options include gourmet toasted sandwiches made from local Whealtey Lane Bread sourdough and warm and gooey jaffles. The raw treats on offer seal the deal, made in-house with a range to suit gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian needs.
Phoenician Street Food
Wassim Hayfa is recognised around Bega for his delicious Lebanese/Phoenician street food. He started with a food van business in 2016, then towards the end of 2018 he opened Phoenician Street Food… and the crowds came running. Locals and visitors come here to feast on dishes such as lamb kofta (his mum’s recipe), beef soujouk (an Armenian family friend’s recipe), spinach and cheese pide with zataar, and home-baked falafels. Meals are best finished off with a dose of Wassim’s ethical and organic coffee.
For delicious and vegetable-laden breakfast and lunch dishes, Red Cafe can’t be missed. The meals here are always beautifully presented and substantial (think huge and colourful salads, gutsy quesadillas and delicious wraps) and all served with a smile. Save space for a sweet treat (or three), washed down with an aromatic cup of T2 tea or homemade ginger beer.
This is where the locals come to hang out, and it’s one of the very few places open on a Sunday for breakfast in Bega. The menu spans well-loved favourites as well as a changing specials menu (the buttery mushrooms served on Turkish toast served alongside poached eggs is a good choice for breakfast). And the coffee – Cafe Evolve’s own direct trade organic coffee, with milk-based coffees made using local Tilba milk – is a great way to start the day.
Cafes and restaurants worth travelling for
Wild Orchid, Tathra
A simple and seasonal driven menu and the modern beach vibe setting make this the go-to cafe in the bustling seaside town of Tathra. In a way, Wild Orchid embodies the people who live and visit Tathra – outdoorsy and stylish. Chef Row Ellard – a born and bred Sapphire Coast resident – spent time working in kitchens across Sydney and London, but ultimately decided to put her skills to use where she came from… which everyone in Tathra was very pleased about.
Candelo General Store & Cafe, Candelo
Located in the charming original general store building, the Candelo General Store & Cafe is the hub of the small and vibrant village of Candelo. The building was given a refresh in 2014, and today acts as both a shop selling unique giftware and a cafe serving scrumptious food with a focus on fresh and seasonal.