Read our writer's views on this property below
Between beach and bush and just beyond suburbia, Angie Schiavone finds a serene bed and breakfast on acreage.
The first thing that strikes us on arrival at The Acreage is the silence. Well, it's not perfect silence but a blissful close-to-nature quiet that makes us sigh (and then feel slightly startled by the volume of our sighing). There's birdsong, the ruffling of feathers and the rustling of leaves, the faint buzzing of insects and that's about all.
The Acreage is a family-owned bed and breakfast located on, you guessed it, acreage - four (1.6 hectares) of them - covered with gardens, as green as green can be, with a handful of alpacas grazing between the homestead and a billabong surrounded by tall trees and weeping willows.
The homestead comprises two split-level brick buildings connected by a covered, wraparound verandah. The main building is the owners' home and the other has three airconditioned guest rooms, each with an immaculate marble bathroom with spa. There's a shared lounge area with huge flat-screen TV and DVD collection, a sitting room with a wide selection of reading material and a well-stocked, help-yourself kitchen with Nespresso coffee machine.
We arrive one sunny afternoon to find we're the only guests. We're warmly welcomed, with a quick tour of the property and a request that should we need anything, we simply ask our hosts. Apart from a knock at the door each morning, letting us know our breakfast and newspaper are waiting at the door (fruit salad, croissants, bread, muesli, milk, orange juice), we're left to our own devices for the rest of our stay.
Much of our time is spent sitting on the verandah, reading and occasionally looking over the peaceful scene, checking what the alpacas are up to, pointing out a tiny finch flitting about, a peacock strutting or a brush turkey hurrying past. We walk to the billabong to find it has overflowed, the sunny day not quite hot enough to dry the sodden grass around it. We head back up the hill and take a dip in the pool, then relax in poolside deck chairs until hunger pangs propel us out for dinner.
There are plenty of good restaurants a short drive away, including the riotously colourful Rojo Rocket, a Mexican restaurant and bar on Avoca Drive. The loud decor and clientele at this iridescent eatery is such a stark contrast to the serenity of the B&B, it's hard to believe there's only a three-minute drive separating the two. On offer is Mexican beer, jugs of fruity sangria, zippy snapper ceviche and terrific soft tortillas filled with shredded slow-cooked lamb.
Back at The Acreage, we settle in for a movie night and, among the collection of rom-coms and action flicks, find a box set of golden oldies. And what could be more appropriate in this quiet place than a couple of silent films? Back to the 1920s we go, watching Buster Keaton in The General and Charlie Chaplin in The Kid on the television in our room.
The next day is more or less a repeat of the first: reading, swimming, lazing around. We drive to Avoca Beach, too, where we find a few good-looking cafes but The Point, tucked under the surf lifesaving club, wins us over with its stunning view of sand and surf. On the first Sunday morning of the month there's fresh produce to buy at the Avoca Beach Growers' Market, opposite the surf lifesaving club and adjacent to the lovely old Avoca Beach Picture Theatre.
We stay a second night at The Acreage, watching more silent films and relaxing. Before we leave the next morning, we scribble a few words of thanks in the guest book for our kind and never-interfering hosts (the book is filled with glowing praise, wishes for return visits and lots of exclamation marks).
We find we're tiptoeing to the car and we laugh when we realise we've been whispering to each other for most our stay, presumably to protect not secrets but that precious silence.
The Acreage B&B
Address 110 Picketts Valley Road, Picketts Valley, Avoca Beach.
The verdict Guaranteed to help you unwind.
Price $250 for one night on weekends, or $240 a night for a two-night weekend stay with complimentary breakfast. Less for midweek stays.
Bookings Phone 4381 2881, see theacreage.com.au.
Getting there About 90 kilometres and a 90-minute drive north of Sydney's city centre.
Wheelchair access No.
Perfect for Couples seeking a peaceful escape.
While you're there Visit Avoca and Terrigal beaches nearby, settle in for a film at the historic Avoca Beach Picture Theatre, hear live music at Lizotte's, go bushwalking and swimming.
Weekends Away are reviewed anonymously and paid for by Traveller.