The historic village of Cobargo, on the Sapphire Coast of NSW, lost a number of shops in a bushfire at the end of 2019 but there are plenty of businesses that were not damaged. The community has shown an enormous amount of heart and courage in their recovery, with visitors able to help the town get back on its feet by shopping at the galleries, boutiques and cafes in town.
Shop up a storm
The Princes Highway, which links Sydney with the Sapphire Coast before crossing into Victoria and then South Australia, runs through Cobargo and doubles as the main street. There are a host of places showcasing the work of local artisans including the Cobargo Creators Centre, which has a great selection of art and beautifully crafted handmade works and is run by a not for profit community group.
At The Lazy Lizard Gallery look for the Himalayan salt lamp trees, paintings and stunning timber pieces, while at Twig and Feather you’ll find an inspiring selection of homewares and gifts. Just out of town on the Bermagui Road find Bandicoot Pottery, who lost their studio in the fires but rebuilt and reopened in 2020. For vintage clothing, visit Little Birdie Vintage, who love to rescue, salvage and restore.
Eat and drink
The Cobargo General Store sources fruit and vegetables from local market gardens and also stock locally made cheeses, salami, honey, jams, pickles, chutneys and olive oil. Make sure you buy one of their home-made ice creams from a secret family recipe and please pick up a copy of the book The Day She Stole the Sun produced by students from Cobargo Public School about their fire experience.
Pick up a pie or some bread from Working Dog Bakery, check out the Via Luna Tiny Cookery for real food made with a smile as well as great coffee while Kitchenboys does a fantastic breakfast or brunch. Do stop in at the Cobargo Hotel for a drink or a pub meal before you leave.
Things to do
The Cobargo Open Garden Farm has extensive and exquisite gardens including a large orchard, orchids, natives and roses as well as a spectacular sub-tropical area. The market garden has an impressive array of vegetables that you can purchase on a tour of the Farm, and you’ll meet some of the farm animals as you stroll around. It operates as a BnB so you can even spend the night.
Near Cobargo, head to the beaches at Bermagui, Narooma or in the Mimosa Rocks National Park. The rugged wilderness of Wadbilliga National Park is perfect for bushwalking, camping and mountain biking. Cobargo has two major events, the Cobargo Folk Festival and the Cobargo Show, both of which will return in 2022.
Getting there and where to stay
From Sydney, the drive to Cobargo takes about 5h 30min, while the drive from Canberra is three hours. You can fly from Sydney or Melbourne to Merimbula Airport, which is less than an hour from Cobargo. There are a number of places to stay in the surrounding Sapphire Coast region.