Glyn Newydd Homestead, Megalong review: Riding high, deep in the valley

Read our writer's views on this property below

Natasha Wallace finds a great base for combining horseriding and relaxation on an organic farm stay.

We are snaking our way along cherry blossom-lined Megalong Road when husband swerves to miss an echidna ambling across the road. The car screeches to a halt and husband quickly backs it into a clearing so the children can jump out and inspect the animal.

We later talk about how hitting a wombat would be really hard on the car, and the husband offers up a bush anecdote.

"I hit a wombat once," he whispers. "I didn't realise, and when I arrived at the camp I could smell this really nice meat smell and I said to someone, 'What's that cooking?' and then I realised it was the entrails of wombat on my exhaust."

We are heading to Glyn Newydd, a three-bedroom homestead in the Megalong Valley, to celebrate our daughter's fifth birthday. Cleopatra has put horseriding, a farm and crystal caves on her wish list, and we have them covered.

On the way, we stop at Katoomba's Scenic World. Thirty years on, I still find the world's steepest railway pretty thrilling. There is also now a glass-bottomed Scenic Skyway; a 720-metre journey above the ravines and waterfalls of the Jamison Valley, taking in the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls and Mount Solitary.

The children, aged 11, five and 2½, love tripping through the forest on the boardwalks, ducking into old cottages and caves, and spotting lyrebirds.

When we finally arrive at our homestead, set in an organic olive grove, I am taken aback by the panoramic view of Megalong (Aboriginal for valley below the cliffs). This is a place that looks so much better once you are here than it does on the property's website.

Beyond the pretty, fragrant cottage garden of rosemary, lavender, daisies and roses are rolling green hills and a dam, hugged by a stunning backdrop of sandstone cliffs. The only man-made structure in sight is the historic Hydro Majestic at Medlow Bath, appearing as a white speck on the other side of the valley.


Our accommodation, which has an open fireplace in the dining area and a piano in the lounge, is rustic and comfortable. The two double rooms are basic but have amazing views, the smaller room with two single beds is decorated for children and there is a huge box of toys.

The bathroom and kitchen - which is so well stocked it is a bit like Grandma's - are neat though dated.

We discover the TV housed in a wardrobe in the lounge room with a huge collection of children's movies, though many are in Dutch, and a hall cupboard jammed with board games and puzzles. A 1995 edition of Blue Mountains Life magazine sits on the coffee table.

On the back verandah are two large outdoor tables, a barbecue and an outdoor setting - and, unfortunately, a pile of junk and old unusable bicycles around the side.

Later, as a tangerine-coloured sun sets, the children jump on the old-style trampoline on the hill overlooking the valley while we drink wine and eat our way through a platter of French cheese and pate. There is also an old-fashioned tyre swing, a hammock and a home-made billycart. Oh, and a very spooky Edvard Munch-esque scarecrow with a cow skull.

Husband, whose true love is an open fire, does not mind chopping the wood needed for the old stove, which provides the central heating. He is less enthusiastic about being nudged at 3am to rekindle the fire.

The next morning, we wake to a blanket of clouds wafting over the valley and the sound of kookaburras laughing. We spot a few kangaroos by the dam and prepare for the highlight of the trip - a trail ride with Centennial Glen Stables through bushland in the Kanimbla Valley.

Each of us, even 2½-year-old Violet, has our own horse and we amble along, single-file (mostly) on an amusing but thoroughly enjoyable hour-long ride.

Later, we visit the Jenolan Caves and take the Lucas Cave tour, with its famous cathedral. It is a painful, 90-minute journey during which we carry the girls up and down countless steps, and I fail to muffle the Veruca Salt-like declarations from Cleopatra that "these are not crystals" and the cave is "ugly".

At least we earn our right to eat more French cheese, and we also crack open a jar of delicious Glyn Newydd tapenade from a collection of goodies for sale at the homestead while enjoying a blinding sunset from the verandah.

Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.


Glyn Newydd Homestead

Address via Megalong Road, Megalong Valley.

The verdict A rustic homestead with a magnificent, panoramic view.

Price $300 a night Fridays and Saturdays; $200 a night Sunday-Thursday; $1500 a week. BYO towels.

Bookings Phone 9918 6973; see

Getting there From Sydney, follow the Great Western Highway to Blackheath. Turn left at the lights, then left again into Station Street, right into Shipley Road, then left into Megalong Road.

Wheelchair access Yes.

Perfect for Families who want a bush stay close to attractions. Pet friendly.

While you're there Have scones at the Megalong Valley Tea Rooms; visit Katoomba's Scenic World and Scenic Skyway; go riding; stop in at Megalong Australian Heritage Centre and Megalong Farm.