We are almost there. Driving through the narrow roads lined by grasses, ferns and trees, each twist and turn is an ever jaw dropping postcard image which gives way to glimpses of rolling green hills and dramatic valley drops. It’s impossible not to gaze in wonder as nonchalant black and white cows munch on spring green grass. Everything looks like it should be in a country gardens magazine. Before we even arrive, we are on holiday.
With a blink and you miss it driveway and a shriek from this writer “slow down”!!! “We are turning into the long drive way flanked by a sign ‘The Drawing Room of Berry’. It’s like stepping back in time as we enter the stunning estate. To our left, in the distance is a beautiful blue and white manor house framed by a backdrop of hills and trees and a foreground lake. There are a number of two-bedroom properties on the estate which can be hired, but we continue down the driveway to our house signposted ‘Treetops’. Thanks to emails and texts which we had received earlier its as simple as tapping a code as we enter the house without needing to connect to another soul. Bliss.
The House – Treetops
Treetops is a one-bedroom luxury escape that’ is perfect for couples, as it’s not only the most secluded on the estate, but also has a number of elements that make it the ultimate weekender.
Living Areas – We park the car under the house and enter at ground level and walking up the stairs to the main level. The fully equipped kitchen is to our left with a stylish Breville espresso machine (yes take that, you pesky over used hotel Nespresso). A range of teas, a generous line up of cereals and thoughtful provision of key supplies like Cobram olive oil, local Berry milk and a few jars of spices are touches of thoughtfulness. You can cook up a feast here (we do!).
The Lounge – Is centred around a large low slung coffee table facing the thing many of us city siders dream of – an open fire which can be seen from the bedroom. OK, well it might be gas, but that’s a bonus in our book along with a three-seater sofa. We anticipated with a name like Treetops, that we would be close to trees, but hadn’t expected this…
With floor to ceiling glass along the length of the house we have a bird’s eye perch of the world below us. The views act like a magnet as we pull back the patio doors and walk out onto our terrace.
From here we can see down the valley, in the morning, we watch the milky mists rising like steam from the earth, by day, the colours and textures of the lush forests create an ever enchanting screensaver, and by night our Weber BBQ is the centre piece of our relaxing dinners. The wrap around balcony has a lovely feature at the end of the house – a cushioned bench which captures the afternoon sun and some voyeuristic bath time action if you so desire (see next section!).
Bedroom & Bathroom – You can’t have a luxury getaway without a king-size bed. This one is glorious! Goldilocks would proclaim this one is ‘just right’ and if you need to perfect your slumber, then in the walk-in wardrobe provides us with more pillows, doonas and blankets. The one thing we recommend is bringing an eye mask. All this glass means that light and the sheer vertical blinds (whilst romantic and stylish) are not conducive to a lie in if you don’t want your retinas burned in the morning. Having said that, you can go to bed watching nature and be woken by it at dawn – human and environment as one. If there is a ‘wow’ moment other than that view, then it has to be looking from the lounge into the bedroom and onto the huge bathroom with a very sexy free standing bath which overlooks the terrace (the cushioned bench) and down the valley. Everything is how we would love to live; full size Australian Lief toiletries, double sink and a large rain shower. Fluffy towels, outdoor towels for the hot tub and even soft bathrobes (not those nasty scratchy waffle ones) keep the good vibes coming.
Back Garden Terrace – All this, and then you open the door at the back of the house and here is your secret hidden garden terrace. The deck leads upwards to an intimate space framed by natural grasses, palms, bamboo, bird of paradise plants, decking and an oooh la la a hot tub flanked by two black and white striped sun loungers. This is where we spend most of our late afternoons. It’s hard to read a book or even catch up on emails when nature all around us; the sounds are so different. Rustling and crackling of the wind against bark and bamboo branches, sonnets of birds we have never heard before, our fellow sunbathing lizards scamper around and the ever-busy wattle birds come to our orbit and world.
Our days fall into a pattern of lazy mornings, exploration by day and retreat by late afternoon with drinks and dinner in our home.
Kiama- Heading down from Sydney we take a pit stop at Kiama. Both of us haven’t been here for a long time. The Hungry Monkey lives up to its reputation and delivers us some of the best burgers we have had in while the chicken burger is served with melted American style cheese, and fresh slaw. The brioche is on the right side of soft and strong and the sweet potato fries disappear in nano seconds. Locals are comfortable waiting upwards of 20 minutes on Sunday. A walk around the bay and then upwards to the blow hole creates anticipation. We are lucky it’s a blustery day and whilst crowds line the various vantage points, we get a good view of its explosive power! We continue along the coastline and stop at the fish market buying a dozen rock oysters and some prawns which we know will pair so beautifully with our champagne when we reach the house…
Kangaroo Valley & Vineyards
After a good night’s sleep and a lazy breakfast (our hamper is hand delivered and contains berries, bananas, apples and yoghurt with a beautiful spray of lavender that we duly pop into a small vase. We head south to Mountain Ridge Wines. On a Monday the place is busy but not pumping (our last visit was a Saturday, and the hens parties outnumbered the range of wines on offer). Sitting on the outside terrace enjoying the views onto the vineyards we enjoy a tasting ($5 for 5 wines) and a lunch consisting of duck ravioli and a pea risotto with Kingfish. Whilst the winery has a full selection, two are made from their own vineyards. Our pick was the sparkling.
Kangaroo Valley – The Drawing Rooms of Berry are perfectly situated, just 9 minutes from Berry but in a rural escape, turn left out of the driveway and in 15 minutes you will be in Kangaroo Valley. The scenery is breath taking. Winding down into the valley is not great for those with motion sickness! It’s a pretty little town which has kept its curiosity shops, and tea houses. The main street is busy with day trippers, bikers and some migthy fine Harleys enjoying the sunshine and winding roads.
We are addicted to: The photos and the website don’t do this place justice. Perhaps some places need to be experienced. The peace, views, tranquillity just oozed into our city frazzled veins. This is a home not simply a holiday house. It has the luxuries of a villa with the on-hand service of reception if you need it. The very fact we didn’t need to interact with anyone added to our sense of escapism. With Shoalhaven on our doorstep our days could have been full. Our advice is that spending time at Treetops is the thing which makes its special. Everything on your doorstep is a bonus.
To get us more addicted: Strangely there is no door between the lounge and the bedroom which (if like us) you are a couple who are opposites ie night owls/morning larks then this can be annoying as you can’t shut the door and provide your partner with peace and quiet as one watches TV at night or the other is up in the morning making breakfast! The lack of black out blinds means dont forget to bring an eye mask.
The Drawing Rooms of Berry
21 Wattamolla Road, Berry, NSW 2535