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The township of Bega is best known by the Bega Cheese Factory and is loved and visited by thousands of tourists every year. When I recently got the opportunity to visit on a holiday I was a little bit disappointed that occupational health and safety stopped visitors from being able to access the viewing platforms so you can no longer see the internal operations of the cheese being made.
When we arrived around 9:30am the milk tankers were rolling in to deliver the days milk, forklifts were constantly going back and fro across the road to fill trucks and get supplies to make the cheese and on the other side coaches were bringing tourists and day trippers in droves to get a look at what makes Bega stand out on the map.
The shop and cafe are very tourist driven and unfortunately lack variety of cheeses for sale. All of the Bega cheeses for sale is what you will find in the supermarket and the other cheeses are also mass produced but at least some of them are local cheeses in the cabinet. For me, I would prefer the emphasis to be on the cheese and to be able to purchase a wide variety that is specifically made to showcase the region's fresh produce. In saying this I know it wouldn't be profitable to make small quantities for the shop and by the looks of the visitors arriving, they're happy with the cafe and gift shop as it is.
The cafe serves light lunches, cakes, coffee, fudge and ice cream and is the most popular destination for visitors. The interior of the shop is rustic and has lots of souvenirs for sale as well as a visitor information centre and upstairs is a mini museum of the history of the Bega Cheese Factory and a little craft shop that is run by volunteers and products are made by locals.
Unfortunately I can't rave about my visit to the Bega factory, it's an okay place to visit for a touristy thing to do, it has all the potential to be fantastic but for me it's not there yet. I would go back again just to support an Australian company that employs 700 locals and exports over $100 million dollars worth of cheese annually and I love to cook up a Bega cheese toastie at home. After all Bega is the number one selling cheese in Australia.
The Bega Heritage Centre is located at 11-13 Lagoon St, Bega N.S.W and is open daily between 9am - 5pm. There is plenty of parking for buses, caravans and cars, there is also a picnic area next to the river with toilet facilities.