Bluebird Escape pavillions, Canyonleigh review: Lone sweet home

Read our writer's views on this property below

Privacy is guaranteed at this getaway near Canyonleigh, writes Peter Harrison.

Arriving at Bluebird Escape late on a Friday night, all we can hear is the movement of the night air through the trees. It's a moment to breathe deeply and reflect on the near-miss we had minutes before. In our impatience to arrive we were driving too fast and had to swerve around a meandering wombat. It was a frightening moment that vividly reminded us we weren't in the city any more.

In fact, Bluebird Escape feels a lot further away than the 160 kilometres we have covered since leaving the Sydney central business district.

Located artfully on a hillside overlooking a scenic valley and distant ridge tops, this modern, architecturally designed home is a show-off. As we step from the car, motion sensors trigger floodlights that illuminate a stunning rock wall forming the spine of the bigger of two pavilions. As we move to the bright red door, more lights gently illuminate the walkway. Even the act of arriving makes you feel special.

Inside, we are delighted by a large kitchen and living area embraced on one side by that artfully crafted rock wall and on the other by a four-metre wall of glass. A large fireplace is ablaze next to two long lounges and classical music is playing on the sound system.

Back outside, we cross a short walkway to the bedroom pavilion. Inside this steel-framed, corrugated iron structure are two bedrooms, one that features 180-degree views through another panoramic glass wall. Separating the bedrooms is a spacious bathroom that features twin showers and another all-glass wall looking out to the bush in the steep gully below. We step through a glass door onto the outdoor drying platform - but the cold air sends us scurrying back to the fireplace in the main building.

Bluebird is marketed as a luxury home that, unusually, welcomes pets too. Using an extra bedroom in the garage, it can sleep three couples and includes all the features to pamper everyone for the weekend.

The main pavilion has a small DVD library, games, free wi-fi and flatscreen TV. Remote-controlled lighting can be dimmed. The kitchen features an impressive selection of herbal teas and cooking supplies.

The main table could seat 10 and can be rolled outside through three-metre-high pivoting glass panels that turn the living area into an impressive indoor-outdoor deck. We can't decide whether it's a house with big doors or a veranda that won't let the cold in.


The next morning we are stunned by the view. The three-tiered front lawn descends to a natural rock lookout poised high above the valley. The house has been carefully positioned so that trees shade the bedrooms and living area in the early morning and afternoon, but allow soothing sunshine in during brunch. The nearest neighbours are far out of sight.

For the next two days we laze on the outdoor lounges or by the fire, venturing out at night to see wombats, foxes, rabbits and too many kangaroos to count.

On Sunday afternoon Jack, our cattle dog, hides in the garden. He's disappointed to have to leave this hideaway. We can only agree.

And then we ate The Canyonleigh Store, also called the U Saucy Thing Cafe, offers basic groceries, local wines and generous meals. It is 17 kilometres from Bluebird Escape. Otherwise, stock up in Moss Vale and cook a feast using the double-size oven or gas barbecue at the house.

The deal maker Bluebird Escape is near the end of a private road north of Canyonleigh. After living with those big glass panels swung open to the autumn air, you'll never want to be trapped behind a closed door again.

Stepping out To meet the locals visit the Canyonleigh Store, where wines, olive oils and other foods are available.

The historic town of Berrima is an easy 25-minute drive away and offers boutique shopping, historic buildings and terrific cafes. Expect traffic from Sydney on sunny Sundays.

The Southern Highlands Open Gardens program every autumn allows public access to some spectacular gardens. See


Bluebird Escape

Address Near Tugalong Road, Canyonleigh.

The verdict A modern rural retreat that allows visitors to relax into the landscape.

Price From $280 a night. Minimum two-night stay.


Getting there Bluebird Escape is about two hours' drive south of Sydney. Once on the M5, you have only three more turns to navigate to reach the property. It is a similar distance from Canberra.

Perfect for A romantic weekend away.

Wheelchair access Yes.