The pretty coastal town of Gerringong lies on the NSW South Coast about two hours from Sydney. It's where rolling hills and lush countryside fall down to a spectacular coastline.
Designed originally as a luxe seaside guesthouse, Soul of Gerringong has morphed into a high-end beach house for exclusive rentals. The reason? Guests didn't want to share. And seriously, who can blame them. Curated by owner and interior designer Simone Mathews, the late 1800s original farmhouse, originally called Victoria Cottage, has been lovingly and painstakingly restored, breathing fresh new life into one of Gerringong's most beautiful historical buildings. Inside you'll find cedar cladding boards, oak timber floors, soaring ceilings, original stone fireplaces, and a mix of curios and bespoke interiors like the jute fringe wall hangings. Offering three separate buildings – the Soul Farmhouse, Barn and Cabana – Soul has every conceivable mod con including Netflix, air-conditioning, impressive kitchen and seven luxe bathrooms with handmade stone tiles (every room has its own en suite). There's also a heated outdoor swimming pool, concierge on arrival and extensive outdoor entertaining spaces. It's Byron meets the NSW South Coast.
We stay in one of the front rooms of the farmhouse that opens onto the huge wrap-around deck with double hanging chair. Our room is the only one with a freestanding stone bath. It also has a king-size bed, striking cuttlebone wall hanging above the fireplace and quality linen. All rooms have air-conditioning, mini-bar fridge, and TV with Netflix. None will disappoint. The Soul Cabana near the pool would be ideal for a small family or friends, with two bedrooms with king-size beds that can be split into king singles. The barn makes a romantic option for couples with its contemporary four poster bed and striking bathroom with irregular, handmade cement tiles.
Soul is self-catering (tea, coffee and limited pantry items supplied) so BYO, including alcohol, or arrange in-house catering that includes incredible grazing platters by Dandelion and Mallow. There are terrific eateries nearby including Blue Swimmer, a charming bistro by the sea (a must) at Gerroa, the School House that has its own cheese room, Fern St Espresso and Gelato (where you can claim your complimentary coffees when staying at Soul), or head for Werri Beach Fish Shop for classic fish and chips. If you just want to stay in, like we did, Gerringong Pizza home deliver.
Find zen in a local yoga class, have a surf lesson with Lands Edge Surf School or take a horse ride through coastal bush and along the South Coast's beautiful beaches with South Coast Experiences. See southcoastexperiences.net.au
It's like the Atlantic Byron Bay has been plonked on to the NSW South Coast except, even better, you have the whole property all to yourself. Surely one of Australia's best private holiday rentals.
From $1500 per night (exclusive use) for up to 16 people. See soulofgerringong.com.au
The huge original stone fireplace that we had to light even though it was a balmy autumn day.
There is construction work going on opposite and the workman start early on weekdays, which can mean a noisy start to the day.
Sheriden Rhodes was a guest of Soul of Gerringong.