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97 Cedar Glen Road, Darlington
P: 1800 503 475
Cost: The cottage is perhaps underpriced at $250 per night, but it’s possible to get a last-minute deal for around the $225 mark.
There is a homestead with four bedrooms, treehouse accommodation next door, and the Wild Lime Cottage which is geared for couples.
Wild Lime Cottage has all the rustic charm of a traditional rural cabin – the four-poster bed, complete with mosquito net; timber walls, furniture and bi-fold doors; a deck which overlooks the rolling valley view; and a cosy living room with fireplace.
It’s open plan and homely, but it's only 10 years old which means it's clean and new. Then, you notice the kitchen which has been set up to cater for a monthly cooking school. There seems to be every cooking utensil known to man, enough to bring out the inner-Maggie Beer in anyone.
There’s a rain shower over an indoor spa bath. If weather permits, there’s a warm outdoor shower to help be at one with nature, soaking up the sun or relaxing under the stars – take your pick. Robe up, and relax.
Every table, drawer and bench seems to be lined with books and magazines. This is Lost World Valley. If it was surrounded by water, it'd have all the attraction of a deserted island.
The road into Worendo can be a little hairy and only those confident on country roads will want to go out at night. A nearby guest house has meals which can be ordered in. But you have what is effectively an industrial kitchen at your disposal.
A quick tip: Scour a few recipe books before you arrive and find that recipe you’ve always wanted to replicate from My Kitchen Rules. Beaudesert is on the way in and has a few supermarkets.
Whether it be Tetsuya Wakuda’s confit of ocean trout, Heston Blumenthal’s snail porridge, or bangers on the outdoor barbie, it doesn’t matter. The choice is entirely yours. If the recipe happens to include wild limes, that’s a bonus – pick them fresh from just outside the front door of the cottage.
Some of those books and magazines are filled with cooking ideas. As nice as it is to do nothing, sometimes – just sometimes – it’s nice to be inspired and spontaneous.
Some inspiration can be gleaned from the leek and bacon quiche which awaits all guests for breakfast. A small warning, however: Try not to taste it straight away, or it might not last until breakfast. Then you’ll be left with eggs, muffins, yoghurt, fruit and cereal, and wouldn’t that be awful?
If there was anywhere to slip on a loin cloth and swing from the trees Tarzan and Jane style, this would be the place to do it. Exhibitionists, however, need not apply – for this is a place of complete seclusion. Nobody can see you. You can’t see them.
Sure, it’s possible to slip down to the lake where owner Nathan Overell will let guests use fishing gear. There’s the odd lookout, creek, and bushwalks into the Lamington National Park. Horse riding is a popular choice and it’s possible to pop up to the top of the mountain in a 4-wheel-drive with a bottle of champagne at sunset.
But sometimes – just sometimes – it’s a great option to do very little at all. Dump the phone and tuck away the iPad, because there’s no reception here. Emails, texts, websites, and the outside world are about 200m away at the top of the hill.
There are not too many places like Worendo, where 270-degree views of national park are yours, and seemingly yours alone in complete seclusion; where sheep munch on your back lawn of an afternoon; where you can cook in an industrial-quality kitchen; where you can quite simply be yourself.
For couples, it is romantic; for families a chance to renew acquaintances; for groups an opportunity to laugh the weekend away. It is relaxing in its simplicity, yet offers all the little luxuries of a high-end hotel room.
It has loyal regular guests, yet remains largely undiscovered by the city masses who live just 90 minutes away.
- Simon Holt was guest of Worendo Cottages.