Canberrans flock to the sea in droves when the scorching summer heat hits, and with good reason. Even in the aftermath of recent bushfires, the coast has plenty to offer those who make the journey over the Clyde Mountain, with fabulous beaches, water sports and the relaxed seaside lifestyle never far away.
But when you’ve had your fill of sun, surf and sand, where do you turn? If you’re in the Ulladulla or Mollymook region, Milton is the answer.
Milton is perched on a ridge just inland from the coast, in a gorgeous pastoral setting with spectacular views over the surrounding dairy farms and the mountainous hinterland of the Budawang Ranges.
The Princes Highway runs right through the centre of town, so it’s easy to get to by road, and is just a short hop from Pigeon House Mountain with its spectacular views over the ocean and rugged escarpment.
The delightful historic town may be small but it’s packed with things to do. If wine, good food, antiques, art, or shopping appeal to you, the chic village with boutique shops, restaurants, cafes and a well-preserved slice of history ticks all the boxes, and as a bonus, there’s an idyllic view around every corner.
Why you’ll love it
There are plenty of reasons that visitors love Milton. Here are a few of the town’s highlights.
1. Immerse yourself in history
Many of the colonial buildings in Milton have been lovingly preserved. An amble along the streets will give you a peek at the 19th-century heritage. Pick up a brochure called Your Walking Guide to Historic Milton from the Visitor Information Centre in Ulladulla.
It lists 25 places of interest in the town, including Milton Library, built in 1871, the Methodist Manse which was a gift from ex-convict Henry Claydon, and the Post Office, built in 1880.
Discover the Milton of days gone by with several guided tours which include a step back in time coach tour, a trip that takes in the local cemeteries, and ghost walks of Milton. If you’re staying longer, ramp it up a notch and join a lantern-lit walking tour of the colonial architecture.
2. Shop til you drop
If you’re into boutique shopping, check out the businesses along The Settlement, a row of shops dating back to the 1870s in the main street. This area is where you’ll find art galleries, contemporary homewares stores, antiques shops and much more.
Here’s a handy guide to the shops in the village.
3. Discover gastronomic delights
Just outside Milton, in an old cheese factory, you’ll find Milk Haus. It serves knockout wholefood that’s fresh, honest, simple, free of toxins, preservatives and anything artificial.
If you’re into tea, taste-test some of the unique specialty teas at Something’s Brewing or check out the fabulous vegetarian eats at Pilgrim’s Cafe. And there are plenty of other places to grab whatever treats your tastebuds desire.
If you’re in the area on the first Saturday of the month, drop into the Milton Village Markets. There are usually more than 40 stalls and the busy markets are a fun and family-friendly way to spend some time.
4. There’s plenty to see and do around the region
From Canberra, head to the Kings Highway via Queanbeyan. Follow the Kings Highway all the way to its intersection with the Princes Highway, just outside Batemans Bay.
At the big roundabout, turn left and follow the highway through Ulladulla and continue until you reach Milton. It’s less than a ten-minute drive from Ulladulla to Milton.
When to go
Milton rolls out the welcome mat to visitors year round. Summer is the busiest time so go outside school holidays if you prefer to visit when it’s quieter.
There are several events and festivals on throughout the year. Here are our picks:
- The annual agricultural show and exhibition happens on the first weekend in March, with all the usual fun and entertainment of a country show.
- For something different, the Milton Scarecrow Festival takes place on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend every June. Locals and visitors decorate scarecrows and there’s plenty of entertainment as well as markets, rides, and kids’ activities.
- On the first Saturday of each month plus long weekends, the Milton Village markets take place.
- Check out the events calendar for festivals and shows – there’s often a concert or performance happening at the Milton Theatre.
- Duration: the drive from Canberra to Milton takes around 2 hrs 45 minutes. If you’re already at the South Coast, it’s a quick drive from the Ulladulla and Mollymook areas.
- Distance from Canberra: Around 200km from the CBD.
- Recommended for: Milton is a paradise for foodies and avid shoppers. Fans of history and peaceful rural settings will love it as well.
- More information: Milton Shoalhaven Coast or Milton Shoalhaven South Coast
Do you have a favourite place to visit in Milton?