It’s time to escape the city for the hinterland.
Tucked away in the hinterland, halfway between Byron Bay and Bangalow, you’ll find the charming guest house Hidden Valley Guesthouse perched high on a hill overlooking the lush countryside of northern New South Wales. It’s here that you can feast on organic chef-prepared food, soak in an outdoor bathtub, or frolic in your own private pool.
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Sydney chef Peter Stubbings and his British-born wife Naomi were seeking a tree change and moved to Byron Bay five years ago. Needing extra accommodation to house visiting relatives, they decided to build Hidden Valley, which they describe as recycled country chic. Designed for a couple, there are actually two timber cottages, separated by a stone walkway. The bedroom and bathroom sit in the first, while the dining, living and kitchen are in the second.
This captivating couple cares about their footprint and insists on everything being local and organic. This trickles down to not only the food on offer here, but the solar power, triple-filtered rainwater, and septic tanks. Peter and Naomi have taken great care to recycle and repurpose as much of the building material as possible. You’ll find old timber and wrought iron dotted around the place, huge barn doors in the bedroom and iron hooks and old crates in the bathroom.
Coastal chic meets country hideaway in this massive room with a king-sized bed. Keeping in line with their all-natural policy, there are even linen sheets on the bed that is adorned with splashes of coloured cushions. There’s air-con in the bedroom, but guests can also leave the screened louvres wide open to catch the breezes up on the hill here. From the comfort of your bed, you can open the curtains and enjoy the rolling countryside below.
If beautiful bathing is your thing, look no further than the aqua-coloured claw-foot bath from where you can sit and peer through the louvres at the fertile valley. If you’re feeling even more daring, there’s another free-standing bathtub outside the living pavilion from where you can soak under the stars. This property uses natural, Australian-made Sukin toiletries and even has its own bespoke bath salts.
For some serious swimming, plunge into your own 17-metre freshwater pool surrounded by verdant gardens. Two metres deep at one end, and with easy access at the other, float under the night sky or take a daytime dip, on simply take time out on the surrounding deck chairs.
Chef Peter has worked with the likes of Sydney’s David Thompson as well as on luxury yachts (where he met Naomi, a deckhand) around Europe. These days he revels in cooking for guests on the outdoor charcoal oven overlooking the pool. Hidden Valley’s garden is ripe with organic fruits and vegetables and everything served here is locally sourced. Guests can choose from two menus, the five-course Signature Seafood Dinner ($300 for two) or the three-course menu with tapas-style starter, main and dessert ($200 for two). Dine on the likes of bruschetta with Nimbin Valley fetta; warm marinated local olives; and local king prawns. BYO alcohol and sit back, relax and peruse your private menu while Peter cooks up a storm. Breakfast is included in the stay and you’ll find tropical fruit, muesli, yoghurt, sourdough, and fresh juice.
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Treat yourself to a massage on the property delivered by visiting Bangalow therapist Aleisha Marie, who specialises in bespoke skin and spa treatments. There’s a range of delights on offer here, including two exclusive Hidden Valley Spa Journeys, The Signature, which takes 2.5 hours, or the two-hour Nurturing New Life. In summer, indulge in a treatment on the deck overlooking the pool, while in winter, cosy up inside beside the fireplace while Aleisha Marie applies her extensive knowledge and intuitive healing to relax and restore.
For guests who do wish to self-cater, the full-sized kitchen is well stocked with all the basics including olive oil, red and white wine vinegar, salt and pepper, a coffee machine, coffee and tea. There’s a cooktop and oven here and a fridge with fresh milk. For those who are intent on connectivity, the property also offers free wi-fi, and plenty of power plugs from which to charge your devices. Watch your favourite shows from the large television in the living room while flopping on the huge, L-shaped couch, or on a smaller TV in your bedroom. There are also plenty of books and high-end magazines to keep you entertained.
While you won’t see or hear any neighbours, know that you are among Australian celebrities in the Bryon Bay hinterland here. To the south, you’ll find the home of tennis champion Pat Rafter, actor Chris Hemsworth lives to the east and performer John Butler is to the north.