Tor Cottage is just off the New England Highway between Tenterfield and Deepwater, NSW. Huge granite boulders are scattered across the landscape at Anketell Forest, a 2000-acre scenic hideaway that was once part of a larger sheep station in the New England Tablelands.
The above vista of native bush and natural grassland can be surveyed at leisure from a sun lounge on the deck of Tor Cottage, a romantic studio-style retreat constructed from timber and clad in corrugated iron (see dining area, left). It’s one of two accommodation options available for holiday rental – the other being a renovated shearing shed that sleeps up to 12 people.
Tor Cottage (and much of its furniture) was built from fallen trees that were salvaged, milled and crafted onsite by eco-conscious owners Steve and Kerri, who developed their dream tourism business here in 1999. They are set to open two more self-built accommodation options at Anketell mid-year: a secluded one-bedroom cottage and a glamping-style safari tent.
Steve and Kerri live in an old shearers’ shack located near Anketell’s front gate – handy enough for guests to grab the keys on the way in, but far enough away to allow privacy for all. Various farm animals have the run of the place. An old sheepdog, cows and their calves, donkeys and rescued brumbies all roam free, and because vehicles aren’t allowed past the accommodation, native wildlife also abounds.
“Bushwalkers are likely to spot many birds, large terrestrial raptors and owls, including rare species,” says Kerri. “You can bring your own animal here too, as this area is tick-free. In fact loads of pet-owners come and stay for a day or two to break up a long-distance drive, because we’re eight hours from Sydney, four hours from Brisbane and just five minutes off the highway.”
While Tor Cottage is an ideal location for a quiet, snuggly, just-the-two-of-us escape, Anketell can also cater to large family holidays and weddings.
“Guests who want to have a party with music and bonfires are welcome to book out the whole property,” says Kerri. “That way they can make noise without bothering other guests. You can use the grounds around the accommodation to set up tents and caravans [extra costs apply].”
And because Steve is a muso, they’ll let live-music lovers hire equipment, instruments and a PA, or will book local musicians for you if you are musically challenged. Approval pending, Steve and Kerri hope to host an intimate, fully catered music festival in the not-too-distant future.
Where: Just off the New England Highway between Tenterfield and Deepwater, NSW.
Notes: Tor Cottage is a studio-style self-catering holiday stay that sleeps 2-3 (best for a couple). $140-$160 per night per couple, extra adult $50 per night; well-behaved pets welcome, $10 per night; babies and toddlers free (BYO cot). Complimentary toiletries, tea and coffee, and wood for the fire. There’s also a Shearing Shed sleeping 2-12 in two ensuite bedrooms (from $160 per night per couple (extra adults $50 per night). Both stays have kitchens and Weber barbecues, and the Shearing Shed has an outdoor pizza oven.
Contact: (02) 6734 5080 or 0457 345 078; anketellforest.com.au