Read our writer's views on this property below
Rachel Browne discovers a stylish retreat with spa, pool and national park views built high on a ridge above the central coast.
NESTLED in the central coast hinterland, Kulnura gets its name from the Aboriginal expression "up in the clouds". Such a description couldn't be more apt as we climb the hills in our car from Peat's Ridge on our way to Noonaweena.
Sprawling across 40 hectares at 350 metres above sea level, Noonaweena is also named after an Aboriginal expression, this one meaning "resting place in the bush". Again, it lives up to the description.
A large security gate opens to a long driveway leading through carefully tended gardens and stunning views over Yengo National Park. Originally designed for small-group accommodation, weddings and conferences, Noonaweena now offers a larger range of options.
There are four types of lodging: Biram House, which accommodates up to 16 people; Gymea House, which sleeps 10; Treetops for two; and Boronia Cottage, four.
Our party of four is shown to Boronia Cottage, a cosy, two-bedroom lodge with a large, open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining area encircled by a wide deck leading to the gardens.
This is certainly not your standard central coast holiday house. The Ikea furniture and drawers full of mismatched crockery are missing. Instead, the decor is sleek and modern, with designer touches, wood floors and contemporary prints on the walls.
The living area has a large, flatscreen television with Foxtel (much appreciated by the St Kilda tragic I'm married to). There is also a CD player with an iPod dock and a DVD player with a good selection of movies in the cabinet.
The red leather lounges are as comfortable as they look and, while it would be nice to put our feet up, we choose to explore the rest of the house and property. The dining area seats six around a timber table with a stunning glass centrepiece.
However, it's just as easy to be distracted by the views from Boronia Cottage's floor-to-ceiling windows and we're treated to a rather spectacular sunset. With the light fading, we take a walk. The children, aged five and seven, are thrilled to see a large infinity pool and 12-person spa.
For those inclined to outdoor activities, a tennis court and walking trails around the property beckon. But the weather lends itself more to indoor activities, so we start to prepare dinner in the cottage's well-appointed kitchen.
It has everything you need: a large fridge, microwave, dishwasher and gas stove. For those who enjoy outdoor dining, there's a barbecue on the deck. A tasty array of breakfast options is provided: eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, yoghurt, muffins, breads and spreads. The Noonaweena owners have really thought of everything. Their attention to detail is clear throughout the rest of the cottage.
Both bedrooms have built-ins with extra blankets, pillows, bathrobes and pool towels. The bathroom has an open vanity with a separate shower and bath adjacent.
There are plenty of fluffy towels and bath products from the environmentally friendly Basic Earth Botanicals range.
Noonaweena is the type of place where you can do as little or as much as you like. The owners can provide maps of walking trails that are ideal for bird watching.
Sports equipment is available, including boules, volleyball gear, cricket bats and frisbees.
The property is central to attractions such as the Koolang Observatory, which couldn't open the weekend we stayed due to overcast conditions. Adventure seekers can head to the nearby Glenworth Valley for horse riding, quad biking, kayaking and abseiling, while paintball fans can try out the Paintball Place, about five minutes' drive away.
But, really, when you're staying in accommodation this good, it is hard to drag yourself away.
Where Boronia Cottage, Noonaweena, 1442 George Downes Drive, Kulnura. (02) 4376 1290, noonaweena.com.au.
Getting there From Sydney, take the F3 and then Tourist Drive 33 via the Peats Ridge exit. Follow Peats Ridge Road north for 14.8 kilometres to George Downes Drive. Continue along George Downes Drive for 14.9 kilometres and turn right into Noonweena's driveway.
How much From $99 to $286 a night.
Style statement Boutique accommodation set in the bush.
Perfect for Weddings, parties, anything.
Don't forget Binoculars for birdwatching.
A shame about The instant coffee. With all the other gourmet goodies on offer, why not the real stuff?
Kudos The beautifully maintained gardens.
Take the kids? Sure. There are plenty of activities in the area to keep them entertained.
The writer was a guest of Noonaweena and Tourism NSW.