By Tilly Smith Dix


Tilly does Tilly’s


Such fun playing hookey with my private pilot. Of course, there is, as the saying goes, no such thing as a free lunch and I still await the payback request from himself but, for now, I’m basking in the afterglow of an exquisite flight over Mount Dandenong, Silvan and Cardenia Dams, and a feather-soft landing at Tyabb on the Mornington Peninsula.

Coldstream Sling 4 lineup July 2017 Coldstream flying club windsock and cows July 2017

Taking off from Coldstream Aerodrome was a breeze, without as much as a ghost of a breeze, as the image of the windsock will confirm. This is always a bonus, especially when removing the airplane covers, or rather, my pilot’s Number One Wife’s apparel! Agility does not count for much when you are slight of frame and flapping around with those covers in a stiff wind.

On an almost cloudless, azure-sky day in the Yarra Valley, we flew over one of my favourite places in the world, the Dandenongs, and I could see Kalorama, Olinda, Sassafras and Emerald clearly as we were flying just high enough to miss the mountain but low enough to see to almost forever on a clear winter’s day.

Coldstream Sling flight Olinda Mount Dandenong July 2017 Coldstream Sling Cardenia Dam July 2017

Within twenty-five minutes we were disembarking at Tyabb airfield, where we took a leisurely fifteen-minute stroll into the laid-back little town to find a casual spot for lunch. The town is well-known for its antique shops. It is worth a leisurely browse to reminisce about yester-year, objets d’art and memorabilia we remember from our grandparents’ homes. From refurbished French period pieces to gramophones and Priscilla meets camp glam, there is something for everyone.

En route to the town centre, we popped into a restaurant we’d visited before but opted for a quieter space on this day as this being winter school holidays, every mommy and toddler within a 10km radius was out to catch up with their besties while the kiddies could play in the child-friendly surroundings. Too noisy for us, so, on we strolled.

Coldstream to Tyabb sailing below July 2017 Tyabb walk from airfield plantlife July 2017

We spotted two chaps walking towards us, looking rather pleased with themselves on a cold day. We asked if they knew of a good spot for lunch and the answer came swiftly, “for a good old-fashioned, look no further than Tilly’s on the main street, just up there to the left,” said the elder of the two. Turns out they were also on a flying visit, and on their way back to the airfield.

Tilly’s Café and Tearoom offered a delightful ‘old-fashioned’ everything, from friendly, bantering service to an aromatic baked potato with bacon and coleslaw for my pilot to the flavoursome cottage pie, complete with grilled cheese on top, and loads of minced beef, laden with carrots and peas for moi. Just like my darling departed mama used to make it!

Tilly's at Tyabb July 2017 entrance Tyabb Tilly's interior July 2017

The décor is quirky and I believe Miss Marple would have approved of the teapots, clocks, cottage furniture, antiques, and old lace – minus the arsenic – on display.

Take mom, gran, the spouse, heck, anyone you adore as the atmosphere is warm and it feels like home, the old-fashioned kind.

Tilly's at Tyabb Cottage Pie July 2017 Tyabb Tilly's bacon and slaw baked potato July 2017

The hot chocolate was tall, hot, and creamy, complete with two marshmallows served on the side. It being a cold day, I did slurp mine up way too fast for a lady, so, forgive my not taking a snap thereof. This Good Life scout embraces warm hospitality, people and places that creep into the heart – the full enchilada, 57km from Melbourne city, a mere 25 minutes by air from Coldstream.

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