You’re at the end of a long working week, ready to press pause on all the busy-ness and schedules and deadlines. There’s one word screaming in the back of your mind: Escape.
You’re ready to jump in the car and get out of the city; swap the car horns, traffic lights and smog for clean country air and vistas of green.
Take a deep breath. You have now arrived.
The three-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney gives your muscles and nervous system the chance to unwind. You play your favourite music. You take in the beauty of Lake Windamere to your right.
As you drive onto the property, you spot them – deer, cows, sheep and goats lounging around, pop up an inquisitive head to check you out. You follow the personalised welcome sign pointing the way and then you see them – three disused grain silos, lovingly converted into your own rustic sanctuary.
This isn’t glamping; not as you know it, anyway.
Scifleet Silos are a truly unique accommodation option surrounded by 250 acres of working farm at the base of Mount Frome, just eight kilometres from Mudgee.
In one silo you’ll find a kitchen, complete with comforts like a coffee maker and a welcome pack stocked with all-important marshmallows. Open up the recycled corrugated iron doors to sleep with the stars beaming into the second silo – a bedroom with a double bed and two singles. The third, smaller silo is a shower room and toilet, providing all the comforts of home in a private outdoor setting.
It’s simple yet homely, made all the more personal by the antiques smattered throughout the space, which have been collected by owner Elizabeth Brennan over years of travels in the UK, Europe and Australia.
The property – Melrose Park – encompasses an original homestead, dating back to 1870, as well as two other Airbnb accommodation options – the Cow Shed and Deer Cottage. But in the silos, you have a front-row seat to the beauty of Mount Frome, best enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand, sitting out on the railway sleeper steps.
After watching the sunset, light the fire pit and feel the calmness of the country wash over you.
There’s no TV. No technology. Just mountains and farm animals, and pure unadulterated silence. Everything in your ‘everyday life’ melts away.
Elizabeth and her husband Patrick emigrated from England and lived in Sydney before falling in love with Mudgee while staying at one of the nearby vineyards with their four children. Always one to keep an eye on real estate, Elizabeth saw the house and within a few days they had sold up in the big smoke and moved to their new rural reality.
Originally earmarked to become chicken pens, once Elizabeth slipped inside the old grain silos she realised they were too good for the chooks. After hosting their daughters wedding on the property they saw the potential to convert the silos and rent them out.
As their brood of animals has grown from three dogs to now around 20 deer, Damara sheep, a miniature pig and one elk, so too has Elizabeth’s rural resume. They now grow their own veggies, and raise their own beef.
Out here, days are ruled by the sun; there’s no need to wear a watch, no need to use a phone or a computer. You can finally read that book you’ve had on the bedside table for months, or fall into a meditation with the stars, which shine so much brighter than at home.
Of course if you need the stimulation of other people – of wineries, boutique bars, of restaurants, markets and shops – Mudgee is only a short 15-minute drive away.
As dawn breaks on a new day over Mount Frome, you wake as the sunrise illuminates the farm and grazing cattle and feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that there are places like this to escape to. And that you can ultimately take it all in from the comfort of bed, tucked away in a silo where the real world can’t find you.