Sheriden Rhodes goes back in time at Six Coronation in Bellingen, NSW.
A mere stroll to Hyde Street, and a stone's throw from the stunning Bellinger River, this 1900s Federation home enjoys a prime Bellingen location. Surrounded by century-old homes, this timber and weatherboard beauty has beautiful established gardens and offers serene views of the valley and pastureland from the wrap-around verandah. Directly across the road is Lodge 241, and the renowned Oak Street Food and Wine is a mere street away. Danny Deckchair starring Miranda Otto and Rhys Ifans was filmed in Kilkenny House, a little further up Coronation Street. Drive up the hill to Dorrigo, or take a scenic drive through the Promised Land. Apart from that your car won't get much use, as everything is within walking distance.
The three-bedroom Federation (or homestead style) home was built in an era when homes were made to last. It features soaring ceilings, white walls and polished floorboards throughout. There are two main bedrooms at the front of the house with queen-size beds dressed in white linen. A third bedroom has king twin beds and is ideal for children. There is plenty of storage space. Nearly all rooms in the house lead onto the enormous wrap-around verandah through French doors, which offers protection from elements. The verandah is like having another huge room. Here you'll find an outdoor dining set and an inviting hammock overlooking the front garden, which features a beautiful old Coral Tree. A huge sky light features in the lounge room, which floods the old home with natural light.
This character home is fully equipped, and the moment you step through the front door, you'll feel right at home. A huge country-style kitchen forms the heart of the house. There's a dishwasher, enormous Baumatic stove and long timber dining table that seats eight. There's an air conditioner in the living room and in one of the front bedrooms (you really need it at the height of summer). All bedrooms have comfortable beds, fresh linen, ceiling fans and plenty of hanging space for your clothes. The swish white bathroom has a deep bath for long soaks and you can look out on the garden through white shutters. There's also Wi-Fi, a TV/DVD and a selection of DVDs to watch. At one time a large tract of land surrounded the house, which was then sub divided, leaving virtually no backyard. Owner Linda Murphy has made the most of this small space by installing a fishpond and planting shady trees to create a private courtyard. Linda operates a hair studio from the rear of the house (which doesn't impact on guest's privacy), and you'll also find a day bed here for alfresco snoozing.
Quality linen, stacks of fluffy towels, plenty of crockery, books and a generous welcome hamper add to the welcome feel of this beautiful old house. The owner Linda is typically onsite to welcome you, answer any questions, and supply extra linen or towels when needed. She even dug up a box of toys for my six-year-old daughter to play with.
This is a self-catering property but the welcome hamper comes stocked with fresh fruit, sourdough bread from the fantastic Hearthfire Bakery, butter, jam, locally smoked bacon, eggs, juice, milk, tea and coffee - so thankfully you won't need to go shopping the moment you arrive.
Pack your swimmers and beach towels and head for the river. You can swim in the Bellinger River in town, or head out to the glorious Promised Land where there are a number of fantastic swimming holes (ask Linda for directions). The best coffee can be found at Hyde Bellingen or Amelia Franklin Fairtrade Coffee Roaster (if it's ever open). You can enjoy a cold ale on the deck at the Federal Hotel, while exquisite strawberry daiquiris and terrific food can be had at No. 5 Church Street.
This is a great house for a family holiday with plenty of room for everyone, and a wonderful garden for kids to run around. Book the adjoining one bedroom studio if travelling in a larger group with friends or grandparents. You'll feel like locals staying here.
The house is priced from $240 a couple per night (extra persons are $50 per night) or $1400 for weekly stays. The adjoining studio is $140 a night. 6 Coronation Street, Bellingen. See airbnb.com.au/rooms/2387682.
The writer travelled at her own expense.