Gaddleen Grove Cottages, Wadonga review: Unleash the dogs

Read our writer's views on this property below

Stephen Nicholls finds a fenced cottage stay where his pets are welcome.

Finding a dog-friendly stopover on the Hume Highway between Sydney and Melbourne is no mean feat. Having decided on the border towns of Albury-Wodonga, one place claiming to be pet-friendly insisted we tie the dogs up on the balcony because of "health regulations".

So after a search on Stayz, we are happy to come across Gaddleen Grove Cottages, on a hill overlooking Wodonga, which turns out to be a lot more welcoming.

Our hosts, Stuart Gadd and Noeleen Nicklin, built two cottages at the back of their 104-hectare farm a decade ago. But it's only since they went pooch-friendly in October that interest has gone through the roof. "We've been getting occupancy rates of between 80 and 100 per cent each month since, " Nicklin says.

Access is via a road through an upmarket housing estate on the outskirts of town. The bitumen disappears and you find yourself at a farm gate. We arrive late on a Friday night, and the dogs - two Hungarian vizslas - go berserk as we drive up a hill, dodging cattle on the way. The city's lights are laid out below like a carpet.

After collecting the key at the farmhouse, we drive about 500 metres further up the hill past one of the cottages, Tree Creeper, which already has a car parked in the drive. Mental note: ask for that cottage next time as it's the one with the great view.

Still, we're happy with Bluewren Cottage, which faces the other direction. It is not your average log cabin, however: a master craftsman has combined plaster and exposed beams inside to great effect to create an authentic and comfortable place. We later learn that Gadd has built the cottage, as well as much of the furniture, from the red gums on his property.

The vizslas bound about enjoying new smells as we get the wood burner going and gobble down home-made biscuits. Later, we sleep well in the cottage's queen-size bed and the dogs take prime position by the fire. Gaddleen Grove has dog-proof fences so in the morning we take the vizslas for a run.

And then we ate a delicious breakfast, as our hosts have left a hamper of bacon, eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice and decent coffee. Later we buy prime steaks - at a fraction of the price you would pay in the city - from a bargain-priced butcher called Kennedys (10 Osburn Street, Wodonga) and enjoy a barbecue in a shelter built from Gadd's red gums.

Stepping out We head to the former migrant camp Bonegilla Block 19, about 10 minutes' drive from Wodonga. This remnant of the vast Bonegilla Reception and Training Centre is a sobering reminder of the grim welcome that survivors of World War II and others faced when they arrived in Australia. More than 320,000 European migrants were housed at this processing centre between 1947 and 1971 and, with the dogs in tow, we wander through tin shacks that were once the camp's accommodation sheds, kitchens and dining areas. Later, we swim at the nearby Ebden boat ramp on Lake Hume. There's room for the dogs to run and there's a rabbit, and even some pelicans, to pretend to chase before we hit the highway once more. But there will be a return visit to those dog-friendly cottages on the hill.

Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.


Gaddleen Grove Cottages

Address 177 McGaffins Road, Wodonga.

The verdict Comfortable dog-friendly cabin-style cottage, with plenty of space outdoors for dogs to run.

Price From $120 a night.

Bookings Phone (02) 6059 1386 or 0412 872 753, see

Getting there Wodonga is about a six-hour drive south of Sydney; a three-hour, 40-minute drive north of Melbourne on the Hume Highway. At Wodonga, take the Melrose Drive exit. Continue along Melrose Drive, turn right at Lawrence Street, left at Parkers Road, right at Felltimber Road. Turn left at the bus shelter on to Innisfree Drive and left into McGaffins Road.

Perfect for A stopover between capital cities.

Wheelchair access There is a ramp to the Bluewren Cottage verandah, but not at Tree Creeper cottage.

While you're there Take the dogs for a run around the paddocks; visit the former migrant camp Bonegilla Block 19 (see; swim or fish at Lake Hume; explore Albury-Wodonga.