Accommodation review: Cupitt's Estate, Ulladulla, NSW - The pod in a paddock that's like a five-star hotel suite

Our rating

4.5 out of 5

THE PLACE

Keeping up with the myriad accommodation concepts that surround the once humble weekend getaway is no easy task these days. When is a tiny house a luxury cabin or a luxury cabin a tiny house? Officially the brand new luxury accommodation at Cupitt's Estate, the well-known and well-loved family winery on the South Coast which now also features a brewery and a fromagerie, is neither.

For the record, these impressive new digs are classified as "pods", the product of a clever, and cleverly-named, Australian company called Prefabulous. It specialises in "architecturally designed modular houses for style conscious people". But, believe me, there's absolutely nothing nastily prefab about the luxurious pods here at Cupitt's.

THE LOCATION

Although Cupitt's Estate's address is officially the unprepossessing seaside resort town of Ulladulla, it's actually closer to the more appealing and smaller South Coast towns of Milton and Mollymook, one a little inland and the other right on the coast.

Nestled between sea and mountains, the winery itself is set in gently undulating hills, luxuriantly pea-green from the abundant spring rains along the eastern seaboard. The main complex, including the excellent winery and each of the pods, not only overlook vines and farmland but also sizeable wetlands, which the ever enterprising Cupitt family plan to help preserve and eventually develop as an eco attraction for guests of the estate.

THE POD

This is the second Prefabulous pod I've stayed in, the other being at the Whitton Malthouse, near Griffith, NSW, and a long way from a beach.

In reality, too spacious to be a tiny house, and a wee bit too tiny to be a real house, the nifty new one-bedroom luxury pods at Cupitt's are nonetheless fitted out akin to a superior five-star hotel suite, with many tasteful touches and welcome accoutrements including Cupitt's own products.

The matriarch of the wine-making family, Rosie Cupitt, is responsible for the meticulous and gorgeous interior design, with each suite serving as a gallery for original artwork which can be purchased through the local Van Rensburg Galleries.

There are five pods with five more planned, all positioned on an angle to afford a modicum of privacy and views of the bucolic surrounds.

Our timber and steel-clad cabin, sorry, pod, is number one of the existing quintet. It comes with an al fresco, egg-shaped bathtub with shower positioned on a small verandah at the opposite end of the pod. However, I'm unsure as to whether management requires guests to don bathers when utilising it, so as not to scare the nearby bovines, let alone any stray passing humans.

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THE FOOD

Now that we've been unshackled from lockdown and regional travel is available to Greater Sydney, the South Coast has resumed its customary popularity. Be sure to make a booking at Cupitt's excellent in-house restaurant, which has regularly featured in the regional section of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide over the years. Nearby Mollymook is also home to two Rick Stein restaurants. If you're keen to eat out at one of the local top restaurants make a reservation well before you leave home, particularly on weekends.

STEPPING OUT

It's no wonder this part of the South Coast is so popular, since there is so much to do aside from the unlimited aquatic attractions. One hour or so south of charming Milton, which is sporting a newly-refurbished pub in its main drag, is Mogo Wildlife Park, which rose to prominence during the catastrophic bushfires a few years ago when zoo staff dramatically evacuated the inhabitants as flames bore down. To add to its woes, the zoo has suffered during the lockdowns. Mogo, with its resident and exquisite white lions, not only makes for a perfect day or half-day excursion, there's the satisfaction that you're supporting not only a struggling local business but also a centre for conservation.

THE VERDICT

There's a saying among vintners that if you're not in wine tourism nowadays you're really not in wine at all. With the limited release of their vintage pods and with more to come, the Cupitts have proved that they are not only expert in winemaking but also in wine tourism with their perfectly-formed, ever-expanding estate.

ESSENTIALS

Rates from $550 a night a pod for two adults, inclusive of one in-pod breakfast hamper, a bottle of Cupitt's sparkling wine and a selection of local handmade chocolates. Cupitt's Estate, 58 Washburton Road, Ulladulla, NSW. Phone: (02) 4455 7888 See cupittsestate.com.au; mogowildlifepark.com.au; visitnsw.com

HIGHLIGHT

Cupitt Estate's enviable country-cum-coastal setting away from the beaches but within easy reach of them is a delight.

LOWLIGHT

Consider a quieter weekday stay at Cupitt's Estate in order to eschew those travel-deprived weekend hordes from the big smoke.

Anthony Dennis stayed as a guest of Cupitt's Estate.