As the weather cools by even the slightest of degrees, dreams of cosy country NSW getaways reach a crescendo.
And why not? New South Wales regional and country areas – from the Central Highlands to the Hunter Valley – are the perfect place to make your best hygge dreams come to life. Sit in front of a crackling fireplace, nestle under toasty blankets and steep in an outdoor bath while soaking up misty views.
From wooded cabins and off-grid escapes to luxe country farm houses we’ve gathered 10 Slow Stays to stoke your inner fire at in country NSW – surrounded by wild native bush, peaceful lakes and pastoral hills.
Hot tub soaks, views over the gum-fringed billabong, picnics by the river and sunsets by the fire pit. The scene is set for a touch of Mudgee magic at Evamor Valley. A stay in one of these six eco-luxe glamping tents is a treat no matter what time of year you choose to stay, but cool weather is when the romance dials right up. In the heart of wine country, the 34-hectare farm is brimming with low-key ways to switch back out of overworked and overstressed mode. Choose long slow days lounging in and around the beautifully appointed huts. Grab a walking trail map and roam or hop on two wheels and head to the vineyards of Federation Hill for a different perspective.
Much like its biblical namesake, The Ark is designed to help you escape the deluge of hurry that threatens to flood in. And escape you shall: within the heritage-listed walls of a 95-year-old church, this Slow Stay is waiting with the purest of hearts. Cathedral ceilings and light streaming through the gothic stained-glass windows make feeling closer to heaven as simple as waking slowly on the mezzanine-level bedroom, tousled in linens. Other simple pleasures like gathering eggs for breakfast and picking blooms take on an almost spiritual reverence. Chess games and reading leave plenty of room for contemplative reconnection, but if you do your best thinking in water, then climb into the traditionally restored cast-iron clawfoot bath to ponder the true meaning of life.
THE SIR GEORGE
If your idea of country NSW getaways involves cosy moments in amongst the cheer and conviviality of a rural pub, then get thee to The Sir George. Less than two hours from Canberra’s traffic-lined streets, the slick and sustainable pubstay is nestled on the banks of the mighty Murrumbidgee River in Jugiong. Next to the heritage stone pub – slinging country fare and charming hospitality in equal measure – you’ll find a collection of three 1845 converted stone stables and eight passively designed black barns with luxurious charm worth travelling for. Canter to the pub for seasonal-produce driven gastro pub fare or grab something to go from bakery (the sourdough is a favourite with locals) before exploring the Jugiong Valley and Hilltops Region’s best.
OLD BRICK PUB
In 1840, when it was known as the Burangong Hotel, the Old Brick Pub’s granite walls housed a heaving watering hole, filled with thirsty patrons looking for a bit of downtime away from their daily grind. Now, the heritage building in the former gold rush hub of Young is fulfilling a similar role for slow-life seekers looking for rustic charm underlined by luxury. It’s peak country life here though. Meander among the cherry orchards and vineyards in the area and say hello to alpacas and horses dotted through paddocks that border the property. Keep the fire crackling all day if you like and make the most of the sheer pleasure of doing next to nothing – except maybe a board game or aperitivos in the soft sun of the yard.
Step away from the fray and find a slice of High Country heaven. In the heart of NSW’s alpine region and with views over Mount Perisher, Mill Cabin can sometimes be found buried in layers of brilliantly white, powdery snow come winter. But these granite walls are sturdy and steadfast, keeping the warmth of the fireplace safely inside. A wood-fired outdoor bath and fire pit round out the chill-busting features.
FARMHOUSE ON OXLEY
Oxley Island, NSW
Built for big group get-togethers, Farmhouse on Oxley certainly feels like it’s deep in country NSW but it’s actually hidden in the bush just behind the NSW Mid-North Coast. On 57 riverfront acres, there’s so much rural goodness to be had, you can easily forget that you’re only 10 minutes from the beaches of Old Bar and Crowdy Point. The house itself is huge: room aplenty for up to 16 and divided into two wings. But between rowdy discussions around the large wooden table and hot choccies around the fire, coming together won’t just be an option, it will be your first choice.
THE BARRACKS, TOCAL
Have a moment with your relaxed rural life by booking a stay at historic Tocal Homestead’s new accommodations. In the renovated old servant quarters, you’ll find cosy aplenty: four-poster beds and fireplaces are just some of the colonial touches to welcome you. The region itself is built for adventure; Hunter valley’s vineyards and regional centres Maitland, Singleton and Pokolbin hold plenty of appeal. Or you could stay closer to home and dive into the history of Tocal with the included immersive audio guided tour (on Sundays) of Tocal Homestead.
NULLA NULLA BLACKSMITH’S FARM
The unassuming exterior of this former horseman’s hut in the Macleay River Valley hides a calm and welcoming interior, where soaking in the claw-foot bath and reclining in the lounge room passes for strenuous activities. If you’d like to up your heart rate just a tad, then yoga, massage or meditation sessions are available for booking. Or you could spend the day planning your evening feast before plucking fresh ingredients from the market garden, orchard or henhouse. Take your bedtime cues from the embers in the log fire for a restorative sleep for the ages.
When the mercury starts plummeting (or at least dropping steadily), you should make a beeline for this dreamy former farmhouse – a country NSW Slow Stay with wholesome charm and nature at your doorstep. Set on 750 lush Hunter Region acres, it’s filled with contemporary luxuries like plush bedrooms and feast-inspiring kitchen. But, come sundown, this stay really lights up crisp evenings and you can find warmth and comfort in front of a blazing fire-pit or the slick indoor fireplace.