Although Simon is first to admit that the town lacks dinner options and is “desperate” for a baker, he has his favourite spots. “I go to a place called The Fat Cow. There’s a great local chef there and that’s where a lot of locals go. They support us and we support them,” he says.
But as much as he’s an unofficial ambassador for the area, Simon knows how to keep a secret. “There are some great hidden spots, but unless you have a guide, you’ll never find them,” he quips.
Thankfully most of Timboon’s gourmet spots are within walking distance of each other. If arriving in the afternoon, be aware that the town is fairly quiet after sunset. Unless you’re hanging for a pub dinner, visit Emma Pope at The Corner Store, which used to be a butcher shop. With a background in Asian cooking, Emma stocks beef from her father-in-law’s farm 800 metres up the road, as well as take-home meals, Jane Dough bread from Warrnambool and American bourbon and Japanese whisky.
Last April, Timboon Railway Shed Distillery’s owner-distiller, Josh Walker, redecorated to create a relaxed, Chesterfield-lounge vibe, but the tin and rafters of the original rail shed remain intact. The $35 Aussie Block tasting paddle offers a good overview of the small-batch whiskies distilled in a 600-litre copper pot still, including the single malt Port Expression and Christie’s Cut, named for Detective Inspector John Christie, who was in charge of stamping out illegal distilling in the region in the 1890s.
The start of the Timboon-Camperdown Rail Trail is just outside, as is Crater to Coast Bicycle Hire. Both Simon and Tim recommend a ride to Curdies River Trestle Bridge, just four kilometres from the distillery along the rail trail. The former railway reached Timboon in 1892, opening up the area to dairy farming and timber milling. These days, the heritage-listed bridge is more of an Instagram hot spot.
“I like to refer to Timboon as ‘Tim-boom’ because it’s going through this explosion at the moment,” says Tim. “I’m quite proud of that.”