From its tranquil, unspoilt surroundings to the exquisite design and top class service, a short-break at Wolgan Valley is set to soothe body and mind. Stella Law road tests the resort
It all begins with a four-wheel drive trip down a meandering dusty orange track through the magnificent valley floor. As we weave across the countryside, we're greeted by an abundance of wildlife from all vistas. With wombats and wallabies, kangaroos, hares and even the rare platypus sighting, it's quite the Aussie safari. As the resort's impressive winding drive comes to an upbrupt end, we pull up at the front doors of Wolgan Valley, nestled in the heart of the 1600 hectares of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
Far from a scar on the landscape, the resort blends in discreetly to its rugged surroundings. The heart of this hideaway is the magnificently restored homestead, complete with its 40 free-standing guest suites (with private terrace and pool no less) scattered at its feet. The architecture is understated and inventive, using local materials wherever possible, from timber to sandstone. The interior design follows suit, completed with meticulous detail by local artisans creating a luxurious, comfortable atmosphere but without even a hint of ostentation.
Having opened in 2009, this secluded spot attracts visitors from across Australia and far beyond. Despite its renowned 'green' ethos, this is by no means a detox boot camp. The restaurant and bar are as fine as any top establishments you'd find in a major city. The produce used to create each meal is fresh seasonal, local and organic so while not of the 'rabbit food' variety is wholesome and nutritious and the wine list well considered. For those keen to keep on top of their fitness regime, there is a state of the art gymnasium (alas we were not in this mindset!) as well as a sizable outdoor pool with a back drop of the draw-dropping mountains. As for the spa, well it's a pampering and relaxation haven with a treatment menu that will cater for the world's most weary.
The spa sanctuary keeps to the theme of understated chic with a sizable relaxation room boasting an imposing fireplace to warm up cold winter days and for summery climes panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows that bring the outdoors in. Having opted for the Traditional Swedish Massage, stress release was instantaneous. In the comfort of the treatment bed, we took in a few deep breaths of essential oil infused air as muscles were being expertly soothed with just the right level of pressure. After an hour of blissful massage, a gentle gong reverberated to mark the end and we were escorted back to the private changing facilities. With the choice to opt for a herbal tea in the spa's relaxation area or make short meander back to your suite (golf buggies await for those too relaxed to walk) it will leave your body and mind in a state of complete tranquillity.
Thrill-seekers' appetites can be equally as sated here too with the selection of outdoor activities. The horse riding is more than a trot in the park (as we quickly discovered!) and the trail takes you across flowing rivers, through steep woodland to the vast open valley plain. More experienced riders have the chance to canter while beginners can soak up the surroundings at their leisure. It's a fantastic means to see the countryside off the 'beaten track'.
A two-night escape allows enough time for the tranquillity and beauty of the resort to work its magic. For those that can afford the time and tariff, a longer stay will set you up for months ahead.
For more information on Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa visit www.woganvalley.com or call +61 2 9290 9733
During your stay here, your breakfast, daily lunch and dinner, non-alcoholic beverages and a selected range of regional alcoholic beverages with meals are all included in the tariff. You can also take advantage of two on-site nature-based activities per day.