Monday, 21 April 2014

Travel: Ossian Hall Valley Retreat, Sydney

Another 4 days long weekend as Easter holiday has just passed. As always, I left it to the last minute (roughly a month prior) to look for suitable holiday accommodation and a lot of places were already fully booked. But somehow despite of my lack of planning, I am glad, because in the midst of my desperate search for a short getaway, I got to find Ossian Hall Valley Retreat.

Located only around 1 1/2 drive north of Sydney, about 15 minutes drive from Windsor and practically almost side-by-side with the iconic (and more touristy) Hawkesbury River, Ossian Hall is a secluded retreat surrounded with beautiful nature, farm animals, and well - pretty much nothingness. No internet, no mobile phone reception, no stress, hardly human contact apart from 1/2heart, and the excellent hosts - Jim and Diane.

Now unlike a lot of premises that take advantage of the public holiday and jack up the price by the double (and not to mention having 4 or 5 nights minimum stay), Ossian Hall is very reasonably priced and for what you have (and don't have for good reasons) at the premise - provide very excellent value.

From the moment we drove along the seemingly never-ending driveway, we knew we have come to the right place.

We booked into the Lyrebird Lodge - one of the three available self-catered and fully-contained holiday cottages. 

View overlooking onto the farm and the valley from the balcony.

Cute teddy bears serving as guestbooks.

Everything you think you'd need is inside the cottage, down to the small details you would not expect normally - the wood log heater, BBQ on the balcony, even the backpack thoughtfully provided for your walks.

There is also a small gaming room with a pool table and an adjacent room housing a big spa bath and a sauna (which I fully utilized every day :))

And the surroundings are simply beautiful.

There is also a wood-fire pizza oven, where Jim cook his pizzas (yes we did order)

The tariff (we paid $239 per night) includes sumptuous breakfast hamper and fresh bread (made by Diane herself) provided daily. It is more than enough for two people, and being gluttons that we are, we did ate more-than-enough breakfast every morning there.

The breakfast hamper quickly became cooked massive breakfast every morning, utilizing the outdoor BBQ.

We chose Ossian Hall because we wanted to get away from 'busy' and people. We got what we wanted. The animals at Ossian Hall are aplenty though and well, they don't talk back :)

Toby the Jack Russell and Meah the Border Collie. 

Resident peacocks

And beautiful deers who're not shy at all.

The farm also has a number of other animals; including sheep, cows, alpacas, and horses.

There are a number of activities guests can do at the premise; Ossian Hall is located just by the Colo River and they provide kayaks for guests to use. Mountain bikes are also available. We did some walk around the premise and do some flora and fauna watching. I suck at taking pictures of moving animals though... .

We drove to the nearby Wollemi National Park to do a bit of bushwalking (and to burn those calories from breakfast). The track (Bob Turners Walking Track) took around 1-2 hour each way and going down from the entrance of the trail, you will eventually reach a small beach by the Colo River.

Going down was fairly easy, going back up was ..... ..... ..... .... .... T_T Well, this was nothing compared to the hike we did a few years ago up Mt Gower at Lord Howe Island (that was a mad 4 hours up, 4 hours down).

During our stay, we ordered two of the available menus provided by Jim & Diane - one of which was the seafood platter we had on the second night of our stay. This was actually a three-course meal and really put seafood platters provided by a lot of Sydney restaurants to shame. This costed us $150.

Hot Entree of scallop, mussel, and prawn.

Then came the main dish - tempura fish, calamari, and prawns; and cold platter of balmain bugs, lobster, crab, and juicy prawns. We polished them off (apart from the chips), and Jim said that we were the first in 15 years to finish the seafood platter. Yep, don't underestimate our black-hole bellies. But then again, he said as we did not finish the chips, then we did not fully finish the platter :P

Dessert: meringue pieces with cream and berries with dash of liquor.

On another night (not at the same day we had the seafood platter, thank you very much. We are not that much of an ogre), we had pizza - made by Jim using his wood-fire pizza oven.

The pizza menu is a set of one savoury pizza. and one dessert pizza ($38). Quite simply two of the best pizzas we have ever had (and add to the fact that we were famished after our Bob Turners' walk). 

One of our most favourite moments was to go out during the night and simply look at the sky. We had clear cloudless nights during our stay where lots of the stars blinked their lights for us. Truly a sight to behold, the stillness to feel, the sensation that us being there - underneath the vast sky - at peace, calm, and humble.

1928 Putty Rd, Colo
*Prices mentioned on this blog post is correct as of my date of travel.

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