I think I have decided that some stage in my life when I decide to retire from the hustle and bustle of city life, I would happily live in Berry in the South Coast of New South Wales, about an hour and half drive from Sydney (coming from the south of the Harbour Bridge). There is something comforting about going to the country and being on a farm, in open green pastures. It might have something to do with the fact it reminds me of travelling to a farm regularly when I was about 6- 7 years old during school holidays to visit my dad who did a stint in a restaurant in regional NSW (in a small town called Tamworth) or if you believe in star signs, it might have something to do with my birth date coming under an Earth sign. There’s also something mythical about being a farm too: sun setting and rising on rolling green pastures, animals, cows, goats, pigs and chickens, greeting you as you bring them their next feed, being bowled over by wombats as you walk in the evening trying to do some night photography, or the brightness and expansiveness for the stars in the sky during night fall. A further drive down from Mt Hay Retreat towards the village, you'll also see an alpaca farm where the alpacas will happily come and greet you too.
Mt Hay Retreat in Berry is run by Anthony and Louise. There was a feeling this was home for me, disconnected from citylife. It’s about a 10 minutes drive from the Berry centre village (that is, where all the gourmet shops and restaurants are) and that’s a windy and uphill climb to the retreat.
But it’s not an old farm cottage we stayed in. It was a luxurious, private, modern and exclusive stay. There are only 5 individual suites in total, each is filled with natural light and has been designed as your own private escape. As soon as I walked into our suite, I was drawn to the breathtaking view of the rolling green pastures, the serenity, and the comfort of knowing that I’m well away from cares and complexities of city life. Serenely set on 360 acres against the majestic backdrop of Broughton Head, this is a magnificent property, a working farm embraced by native bushland and lush green pastures.
Inside the property is spacious, comfortable and filled with abundance natural light and central heating for the chilly winter nights in Berry. As our suite was east facing, there was plenty of sunshine in the morning and the automatic shades can stay down until you want to get up. I got up early one morning to watch the sunrise and it was absolutely stunning against the backdrop of the valley. There is a kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities with fresh milk in the fridge. Free Wi-Fi is also supplied if you need to be on your phone. The large green sofa is soft and comfortable for you to crash out in front of the television in the evening just before going to bed. The beds are lined with what feels like Egyptian cotton, soft and silky sheets and I would have to say the bathroom was the highlight for me. Expansive, seamless and logical for your bathroom routine. The heated towel rack makes sense too and the rain shower is absolutely heaven.
Mt Hay Retreat is not just a luxury accommodation with beautiful views but if you wander up 2 minutes from the suites, you can meet the owners’ farm animals and participate in their feeding time and interact and get to know them. That’s what we did. I recently discovered that cows like fruit because a friend who works in the markets sent a bunch of excess bananas to the farms for the cows recently and now I see they like to eat oranges too. And as the for the pigs, they have the best life feasting on left over Mediterranean cous cous salad from the restaurant down the road. If you had plans of being in and out of the accommodation, you probably should factor in some time to just chill out on the property as there is so much to see, do and not to do too which is perfectly fine when you have views like that. As for the taste aspect, you’ll have to drive down to Berry village to discover your foodies trail.
This is a wonderful weekend escape for couples from Sydney. One of the memorable parts of the stay was waking up to sunrise, when the morning light streams through the expansive windows and makes the misty valleys look like a work of art.
All the suites are $325 per night Sunday to Thursday and $420 on Friday and Saturday nights, with a 2 night minimum stay. Each suite accommodates 2 people. But check the website to confirm the rates.
260 Mount Hay Rd, Berry NSW 2535 (if you are using a GPS in your car to get there, your GPS will take you as far as it will on the map and won’t take you to the retreat itself. If you use Google Maps, just follow the road up the hill until you reach the top of the valley and follow the sign. You’ll find it). The retreat is about 10 minute drive to Berry Village
- Bring your swimmers so you can swim in the heated pool
- Bring your camera
- Make sure you make time to relax and enjoy the property because the views of the valley are stunning and there is a swing and an adjacent farm. The owners Anthony and Louise can show you how to feed cows, goats, pigs and chickens and they are a lot of fun to be with and great photo opportunity
- As Berry Village is 10 minutes away you might be inclined to buy gourmet goodies. There is a fridge in the suites for you to store your purchases.
See.Taste.Do stayed as a guest of Mt Hay Retreat courtesy of Shoalhaven Tourism.