Broughton Mill Farm, Berry review: Charm of the farm

Read our writer's views on this property below

Melissa Singer takes to the hills and hedges of the South Coast.

A few years ago, our family of two moved from Melbourne to Queensland. Having lived so long by the bay, Mr Other Half was looking forward to the surf. After we'd been there for a few days, he realised Brisbane was not by the sea but a tidy and sometimes agonising 45-minute drive from anything that would pass as a break in the eyes of the Bondi faithful.

So before our weekend stay in Berry, I made sure to tell him beforehand that we wouldn't be hearing the sound of the sea from our bed. He scoffed: "It's on the South Coast but it's not by the sea? What's the point of that?"

The afternoon we arrive in Berry it's a scorching 40 degrees in the shade with a north-west wind blowing dust across prime South Coast pasture.

With Mother Nature ruling out an afternoon by the sea, we head to Broughton Mill Farm, a 10-minute drive inland.

There is an air of calm over the farm and the guesthouse has a distinctly English feel, thanks in part to the manicured grounds and lawn tennis court. While the court has seen better days, it adds a charm to the place that carries right through to the herb and vegetable garden.

The main house is full of nooks and crannies - perfect for curling up with a cup of tea and a book or watching lorikeets feed from the seed box in the central courtyard.

A thoughtful addition is a guest kitchenette off the main hallway for making those late-night cups of tea and coffee without the mess of using the in-room kettle, although there's one of those, too.

The kitchenette also has a bar fridge, which on this occasion our host, Rick, has kindly stocked with wines from the local Coolangatta Estate, including its award-winning semillon sauvignon. There are also bottles of refreshing lemonade cordial made from a locally grown citrus hybrid that tastes like a lemon, minus the bitterness.

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Little touches also fill the five split-level rooms. Each has a mezzanine sleeping area and separate sitting area, which eliminates the claustrophobia often associated with hotel rooms.

Our king-size bed is made up with crisp damask and plenty of pillows, perfect for sitting up in bed and reading or just admiring the view of the cows in the adjoining paddock. Downstairs, a daybed big enough for two is set up in front of a small flat-screen TV. Or, if you prefer to document your travels, there is a writing desk with a lovely view of the pretty garden.

With hedges on three sides, the garden offers complete privacy and a place from which to watch the stars. If sleep fails to come, try wandering through the gardens at night with a torch: you might see a water dragon or some of the resident chooks nestled in a tree to escape the evening drizzle.

Having an on-site chicken run means the eggs are always fresh and plentiful, with yolks the colour of tangerines. It's hardly a surprise to find them the centrepiece of breakfast, cooked by Rick and his partner, Jenny. Eggs of this stature command some serious bread and Rick has famous Berry Woodfired Sourdough Bakery bread at hand.

Food is big business in Berry and if you don't overdo it on Rick's eggs and Jenny's home-made jams and conserves, there are plenty of tastes to explore in town. Dinner at The Hungry Duck should not be missed. The $45 five-course degustation menu offers superb value: dishes range from spongy steamed pork buns (like you've never tried before) to braised wagyu beef brisket.

The rooms at Broughton Mill Farm are not self-contained, so a lunch of antipasto bought from Berry's Emporium Food Co. was the perfect alternative to a pub lunch on a rainy afternoon. Broughton Mill Farm is also happy to offer 1pm checkouts (or later if available), so there's no need to rush off at the end of a relaxing weekend.

When we departed, Rick disappeared into the kitchen to collect a parting gift: a carton of his farm's eggs. They were gone in a few days but the stay at Broughton Mill Farm made lasting memories.

What it might lack in ocean views, it makes up for in waves of charm and hospitality.

The writer was a guest of Broughton Mill Farm and Tourism NSW.

TRIP NOTES

WHERE 78 Woodhill Mountain Road, Berry. See broughtonmillfarm.com.au.

HOW MUCH From $550 for two-night weekends, including breakfast.

BEST THING A private garden makes the rooms feel more like self-contained cottages but without the need to cook.

WORST THING The towels. A guesthouse with a five-star rating should invest in Egyptian cotton.

LOCAL SECRET Take a torch to Broughton Creek at dusk and, if you're lucky, you might spot a platypus.