I had the pleasure of getting out of Sydney for the long weekend, it was my first escape with my beau, just the two of us. Sydney city is a great place to be on a long weekend, but sometimes it’s also nice to get out of the centre and explore.
The image that comes to people’s minds when thinking about Australia is usually one of beaches, surfing and endless desert. Whilst that image is correct for vast parts of Australia, many people forget that Australia can also be very green!
As we’re coming into the depths of winter here in Sydney (which is till around the 15 degrees mark, so not quite freezing) the outskirts of NSW get ready for the cold front and temperatures that step to below freezing. This weekend was no exception for the stunning Hunter Region in regional NSW, my home for the long weekend: Eaglereach Wilderness Resort
We headed on our journey at 6pm on Friday evening after work and drove for about three hours, 187 KM to be exact! It was the long weekend after all and it seemed that the whole of Sydney has decided to escape from the inner city clutches as the temptation of a three day weekend took a hold. The Hunter Region is a uniquely Australian Resort which is truly world class.
It was dark and foggy and at times my car prompted me on more than one occasion to the fact that it was 2 degrees outside, eeek! However we drove on, excited to get to our final destination and our luxury spa lodge.
Eaglereach is a nature-based resort with over 1000 acres (660 ha) of natural adventure land. Native animals which have made Eaglereach their home include; Kangaroos, Wallaroos, Wallabies, Echidnas, Goannas and that’s before you look skyward and marvel at King Parrots, Eastern and Crimson Rosellas, Red-Browed Firetails, Blue Wrens, Bush Doves and our namesake, the majestic Wedge tailed Eagle. All of which we saw when we were there, at one point there were literally five kangaroos on our porch!
We even saw one with a Joey in its tummy!
Eaglereach comprises 33 custom built family and spa lodges as well as superior resort rooms. Each is sole use and complete with every facility to make your stay a genuine pleasure, and you know what it really does! We had a two-bedroom spa lodge complete with pool table and a hot tub – heaven!
We also had an expansive verandah at our ‘Gallery Lodge’ which provided the most spectacular view across the Hunter region.
Included in out $800 package for three nights was access to a self-drive Discovery Buggy for two hours, which we used to drive to Goonarook Lagoon to put our fishing skills to the test (conclusion: not that great as my guy caught nothing more than a lilly). We also drive up to the lookout at the Mount George Trig Station, which was just unreal!
The resort’s facilities include swimming pool, tennis court, a volley ball court, childrens play centre, a games room outdoor fitness centre and a series of dams for yabbying. Goonarook Lagoon is also a superb location for swimming, kayaking. All non motorised equipment and activities are complementary as is the internet kiosk and DVD library. A comprehensive activity program is available to suit every need and level of activity from rainforest walks to massages and facials in the Health & Fitness Centre where guests can relax, revitalize and rejuvenate.
I treated myself to a massage, which was great – in the tranquil lodge I relaxed for an hour as I was given a deep muscle tissue massage (perfect for getting rid of the knots in my shoulder after sitting over a computer all day, every day!).
On Sunday night we dined at the Bistro & Bar, which is located on site and features a selection of seasonal dishes and nightly specials. I had the chicken Kiev, which was amazing! Sy had the twice-cooked duck, which was just so tasty – I had a bit of food envy if I’m honest, ha!
On Saturday night we took advantage of the Bistro & Bar takeaway option, we ordered a BBQ pack which included an amazing steak for each of us and two sausages, along with a freshly prepared salad, brie and crackers and condiments, which for $24 per person, wasn’t too steap (however the two sausages were a little on the small side!).
Wonderfully for me, hot breakfast is included in the tariff; a hot English buffet breakfast makes me happy! The Observatory Deck is a great location and allows you to enjoy your breakfast with a stunning canopy view and the vast green that seems to go on forever!
The surrounding area offers some wonderful local attractions for self-drive or guided tours. These include the local Hunter vineyards, historical villages such as Morpeth, Port Stephens for dolphin cruises and the Barrington Tops National Park. Eaglereach also caters to the corporate sector, with locations for functions and conferences up to 50 delegates.
I had the pleasure of meeting with EagleReach’s Chief Executive, Paul A.Miley, who told us about his Koala initiative. He explained that traditionally Koalas inhabited this area and are now sighted occasionally. Paul said that in accordance with his ecotourism goals of sustainable growth in native flora and fauna one thousand Eucalyptus species have been planted at Eaglereach Wilderness Resort.
Located at Clayflat basin these will serve as a primary food sauce for Koalas. This will supplement the already well treed mature top story trees and healthy understorey on the 440 ha Community Property. Two smaller areas are being developed as secondary habitats and refugees for migrating individuals and expelled juvenile males. The Eucalyptus species will also benefit other wildlife such as native bees, possums and a wide range of birds as well as reducing the carbon footprint of the property. This is all music to my ears and I’m a big advocate for such a program!
Suffice to say we had an amazing time and would recommend a weekend getaway to EagleReach for anyone that either lives in Sydney, to get out of the city for a bit, or holiday makers that are interested in seeing the true Australia, that you don’t necessarily always see in the media!
For further information please log onto http://www.eaglereach.com.au
NB: Sydney Social 101 didn’t receive any payment for this review and all opinions expressed are my own. Disclaimer: We were upgraded to a two-bedroom spa lodge due to the one-bedroom option being fully booked.