Travelling inland along the valley of the Bega River, the road ambles through rich dairy and beef country, passing the historic pastoral estate of Kameruka, and arriving at the delightful little village of Candelo.
Built around the crossroads of Merimbula, Bega and Bombala in the early 1830s, Candelo remains a meeting place and through fare for travellers and, increasingly, musicians and artists.
Set on the banks of the Candelo River and with a population of just 300, you’ll be surprised by the local fare and busy events calendar. On the first Sunday of each month the town hosts one of the region’s oldest markets and there are regular music festivals, open recordings and performances at the historical town hall and St Peter’s Church.
The markets transform the village. In the warmer months there can be 150 traders but even in winter it’s worth going for the drive, the food and the stroll around the beautiful park (which has a flying fox!). Expect to find old wares, books, fresh produce and local products, as well as services like massage or hair dressing that you don’t see at other markets.
The History of Candelo
Earlier settlers of Candelo had the foresight to establish the beautiful park beside the river, and today it offers shade in summer, a spectacular colour show in Autumn and a year-round meeting place for locals and visitors. It will beckon you as you drive past, so why not stop for a while and take a walk along it’s banks.
Candelo today still retains many of its nineteenth century old buildings. Offering a warm and open reception to travellers, they are invited to share in the every day lives of the countryfolk.
Although bullock teams no longer pass through town and there is little need for blacksmith’s shops, a walk along these streets conjures up images of a past way of life. Venturing further afield, Candelo is surrounded by beautiful old forests and clear waterways. The Candelo Golf Course at Kameruka is living history with sand greens.
A drive up Myrtle Mountain to the lookout is rewarded with magnificent distant views over the valley and a perfect secluded picnic spot under old trees.
Candelo’s National Parks
The South East Forests National Park includes Tantawangalo forest and Six Mile Creek Camping and Picnic area. Camping at Six Mile Creek is a unique experience, there are only four campsites nestled amongst wet eucalypt forest but each have room for a camper trailer or van.
The undulating country changes dramatically with a steep drive up the mountain. Here you can take bush walks through old growth forest areas, go boulder hopping through the network of waterways, picnic by a creek or take exploratory drives along the forest trails.
Places to eat
The restored Candelo General Store is open daily for breakfast and lunch, with dinner on Friday nights. It also has a little shop that will delight people who love to cook.
The Candelo Hotel is a great local pub that overlooks the river.
Candelo is also the home to Wheatley Lane Bread, although you can’t visit the micro-bakery you can get the bread at markets right along the Sapphire Coast and at some wholefood outlets and cafes. The artisan breads are made from cultured leaven based on a time honoured method of baking by hand in a wood fired oven.
Visit the Candelo Village Festival website for upcoming events.