Orange Blossom Retreat, Kangaroo Valley review: A night of wine and spirits

Read our writer's views on this property below

Orange Blossom Retreat, a two-level timber extension built on the back of owner Nerolie's Moss Vale Road house (just a short walk from Kangaroo Valley's stretch of shops and eateries), is our home for the weekend.

It's been raining all night and the mercury has plunged to chilling lows. Thankfully, an electric heater - a free-standing faux coal oven - is cranked to its maximum throughout the night, leaving even the most remote corner of the house completely toasty. It's an old-fashioned decorative touch indeed - and there's plenty more where that came from. There's a blush-pink, velvet-upholstered Louis-style lounge suite that dates from the 1860s and a dining table and chairs in similar style. Doilies are placed beneath candles and flower arrangements. Nerolie has nailed the grandma charm.

Despite its quirks, the living area is warm and inviting and those fancy chairs are more comfortable than they appear. You can't help but feel at home lazing around on them, especially when it's drizzling outside.

Timber floorboards are complemented by wooden furnishings in the spacious room, including an oak sideboard and a set of drawers that store a range of games and puzzles, as well as DVDs to be watched on the flat-screen television mounted on the wall. Although the TV looks out of place amid its antique surroundings, we welcome its presence.

A complimentary breakfast hamper is filled with home-made bread, plus jams, cereals, milk, strawberries, tea and coffee for the weekend's stay. A wooden kitchenette stocked with a toaster, microwave, kettle, sink and mini-fridge ensure we've got everything we need to prepare a morning feast.

Once we've stuffed ourselves, it's upstairs to prepare for a day of exploring the valley.

Kangaroo Valley is a rather magical part of NSW, only a two-hour drive south of Sydney. Horses, sheep and cows dot lush green paddocks around the town. Though we haven't seen one yet, apparently there are plenty of kangaroos. But we're not interested in roo-spotting.

Today, it's all about the quaint stores on Moss Vale Road and the gorgeous sandstone Hampden Bridge, which claims to be Australia's oldest surviving suspension bridge.

We take our time wandering in and out of antique furniture and sweets stores, as well as a crowded Bali-themed shop selling homewares and jewellery, before dropping into the Friendly Inn Hotel for a pint of beer. It's quiet in here and lacking atmosphere but you'd hardly expect a pub in a town of fewer than 350 people to boast the enthusiasm of a Sydney watering hole. It's a nice change of pace.


However, our thirst for exploration doesn't stop there. For dinner, we drive about 17 kilometres to Berry for a meal at the Hungry Duck restaurant. We drool over the nine-course Asian-inspired banquet we order. The flashy country dining experience is worth the short journey, especially as nothing seems to compare with the Hungry Duck within Kangaroo Valley itself.

Once we get back to Orange Blossom, we open another bottle of wine (a complimentary Brown Brothers drop Nerolie has left for us) and put on a DVD.

The writer was a guest of Orange Blossom Retreat and Tourism NSW.

Trip notes

Where Orange Blossom Retreat, 234 Moss Vale Road, Kangaroo Valley, 0412 579 498,

How much Weekend three-night packages (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), $395 a couple and $50 for each additional guest. Midweek, $175 a night with a minimum two-night stay.

Style statement A little confused — French provincial inside, Balinese touches outside.

Perfect for A small-town sojourn amid stunning scenery.

Don't forget To bring your bathers if it's warm. There's a pool on site.

Shame about The shower; the mountable hand-held shower head has minimal pressure.

Kudos The well-heated rooms.

Take the kids? Absolutely. They'll love the two-storey cubby house in the yard.