Bindo Creek Cabins, Oberon review: A midwinter night's dream

Read our writer's views on this property below

Matt Martel runs off with the fairies on a mushroom-picking family adventure.

Pssst, want to know a secret? Take the turn three kilometres past the cabins, drive for another three kilometres up the dirt road until you see a bent power pole and then turn right, onto a track. When you come to a fork in the road, take the left.

Drive a further 400 metres or so and then just help yourself.

It's mushroom season in Oberon and all the popular spots have been plundered already. But that's not going to stop the world's most useful information centre helping a tourist who wants to pick 'shrooms.

They don't know we are writing a story, so I presume this is standard treatment. Not only do staff give us photos of the two mushrooms that are safe to pick, they also give us a mushroom to use for comparison.

So now we are in a pine forest, surrounded by mushrooms of all colour and deadliness.

My four-year-old decides she is a forest fairy and prances about looking for other fairies. It seems appropriate. Oberon is the King of Shadows and Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream, consort to Titania, Queen of the Fairies. (And Titania is a a suburb of Oberon). We're staying at the Bindo Creek Cabins, a few kilometres from Oberon, and 2½ hours' drive from Sydney, on the western slopes of the Blue Mountains.

Bindo Creek's location, atop a ridge, is stunning. The views go on forever. It's a mix of farmland and pine forest, all hilly and rugged.

In the morning, mist envelops the land below and lifts gently as the sun rises. Spider webs are strung with tiny, frozen beads of dew.

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Our cabin is huge. Two tables inside, decorated for our visit with tall, elegant white gladioli, can seat 22. There are ample cooking implements in the kitchen. Cupboards are packed with games, cricket bats and balls, and there's a table football game, too.

Bindo Creek has just four cabins. The altitude is 1100 metres, so the weather is refreshingly cool. It snows here in winter. Outside is a small children's playground and a large, sheltered barbecue, shaded by huge gum trees. There's also a barbecue and picnic area by the river.

Groups of people often hire all four cabins. You can make a bit of noise and no-one will notice. Each cabin has a log fire, which was set when we arrived, and there's plenty of firewood and kindling. It easily warms the whole cabin, though the bedrooms also have heaters. The two bathrooms have luxury toiletries and bath salts.

There are quarter horses in surrounding fields and the children feed them apples and bread.

After mushrooming, our host, Dianne Kingston, checks the harvest for us, just to be on the safe side.

We take a walk down the hilly field from the cabins and divert halfway to an 800-metre bushwalk, where we see kangaroos and other wildlife.

At the bottom of the valley is a crystal-clear stream filled with rainbow and brown trout. Dianne's husband, Ian, tells us that one particularly large specimen has avoided even the canniest of fishers for some time.

The river is also home to platypuses but we're not lucky enough to see any. My daughter and I sit with our feet dangling over the water, waiting to see trout, or goblins or whatever.

On our last morning, we drive into Oberon for the farmers' market. We leave with the car so loaded with mushrooms, apples, potatoes and other food that nothing else will fit.

On our way back to Sydney, we stop at Megalong Valley, near Blackheath, for horse riding at Werriberri Trail Rides.

My wife and daughter go for an hour-long ride through stunning scenery and the little one even manages a little canter when another horse bumps up behind her. It's a good place for beginners to ride.

The horses seem quiet and know the way home. And it's about time for us to find our own way home. We spend another couple of days trying to empty out the car and planning our next escape to the country.

The writer was a guest of Bindo Creek Cabins and Tourism NSW.

TRIP NOTES

Bindo Creek Cabins

ADDRESS Duckmaloi Road, Oberon.

BOOKINGS Phone 0427 806 600, see bindo.com.au.

RATES Snowgum cabin is $550 for a minimum two-night weekend stay. Sleeps six.

VERDICT

A relaxing farm stay with great walks and nearby things to do.

WHY YOU'D GO To get away from it all.

WHY YOU WOULDN'T Soft Sydneysiders might find it too cold.

FIND TIME TO

- Go mushrooming during theseason.

- Check out Jenolan Caves, 30km from Oberon.

- Go to the farmers' market, first Saturday of the month. Real: food.