There’s nothing like a drive in the country to clear your head. For me, a journey to Tyalgum feels as though we’ve entered the landscape that inspired FernGully or Avatar. With a lead up of meandering waterways, lush rainforest and towering rockfaces, somehow the greenery clears your head. At dusk, the atmosphere has its own zen-like quality emanating from the core of the extinct volcano.
Skirt around the edge of Mount Warning and you’ll come to the tiny village of Tyalgum (pronounced ‘Tal-gum’ by locals). As the bus crests the hill on the town’s approach, the towering western wall of the giant caldera rises up before us, providing a magnificent backdrop to the tiny 300-resident town.
Founded in 1908 as a timber-cutting centre, Tyalgum is now home to a community who operate a series of shops cascading down the main street: a general store, craft studios and galleries, a bookshop, a bakery, accommodation and a wellness retreat. Following a fire that destroyed three shops in August 2019, many businesses are clustered around the famous Flutterbies Cottage Café skirting its meandering backyard garden.
Having already eliminated single use plastic, there has been a huge push toward sustainability and renewable energy in the area, a commendable drive for this already alternative township to move off the grid.
Like a step back in time, Tyalgum is filled with an olde world charm rarely seen today. A sprawling hub of craft, retail and food, Flutterbies is a delightful excursion for collectors, foodies and day trippers to sip, shop and sup.
From French linen to teddy bears, collectibles to organic beauty products, vintage china to handmade jewellery, honey and jams to giftware, whether you visit Flutterbies for breakfast, high tea or lunch, there’s plenty to look at while you are there.
Making all their goods in house, Flutterbies contains its own bakery and kitchen, espresso coffee bar as well as a fully licensed bar serving regional native gins, vodka and champagne cocktails.
Roaster and barista Archaeus Adidam tells us that he began roasting his award-winning ethically sourced ‘Double or. Nothing coffee’ in 2010 in a 1kg roaster at the espresso bar in Flutterbies. Now roasting offsite, his coffee is available for purchase in Flutterbies, either as beans or as coffee by the cup. He also wholesales to several businesses in the local area.
Being health-centric, the café makes the most of the area’s rich, volcanic soil by purchasing organic produce, free range eggs and chicken from local farmers. Famous for their chicken and vegetable pot pies (large enough to feed two), we dine outside in the garden area. Our meals of soft Tacos, a Nourish bowl and Tandoori chicken salad are brimming with the goodness of fresh vegetables and housemade sauces. This is wholefood at its best, served in charming, quaint surrounds.
The café is also the hub for many village events: Flutterbucks pizza with live music every Friday, markets on the last Saturday of every month, several festivals and celebrations, the Spring Fair as well as various concerts.
Whether it be for a Sunday drive, morning tea, markets or just to get out of the city, there are plenty of reasons to visit Tyalgum.
Flutterbies Cottage Cafe, 23 Coolman St, Tyalgum NSW Ph: 02 6679 3221 Open: Mon – Sun 8am – 4pm (Tues 3pm close)
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast was a guest of Flutterbies.