Melawondi Spring Retreat is a luxury couples retreat set high on a hillside overlooking the Mary Valley, offering privacy and solitude in a blissfully tranquil setting.
Located just one and a half hours from Brisbane on the outskirts of the quaint little country township of Imbil, the 30 acre property has two dams, one of which is spring fed - hence the name.
From the generous deck of the luxury studio, guests can enjoy the scenic rural vista, looking down to one of the dams and taking in the view of the surrounding countryside and mountains. A comfortable day bed is conveniently placed on the deck and is just the spot for catching up on that book or taking an afternoon siesta. There is also an electric BBQ and outdoor table setting on the deck, making meal times casual and easy.
The wow factor, however, is inside the studio. Hosts, Tanya and Tony Fisher have drawn inspiration from B&Bs they have stayed in, both nationally and internationally - and the result is amazing. Stepping into this unique accommodation, all eyes are drawn to the beautiful freestanding double spa bath that has been ideally positioned to take in the view. A bottle of sparkling wine and chocolates are in the fridge when guests arrive, ready to relax in the spa with a glass of wine.
Whilst the spa is located in the open plan bathroom, a hidden walk through shower room treats guests to three showering options, including double rain shower heads. The luxury just keeps on coming with toiletries, soft white robes and beautiful towels provided.
The studio is open plan in design, allowing light and cool breezes to flow throughout the interior. With polished timber floors, a dining table for two, king size bed, well equipped kitchen (including a full size oven and coffee machine), leather lounge, flat screen TV/DVD player, and docking station everyone will find a comfy spot to chill out and appreciate the tranquillity of Melawondi Spring Retreat. Candles, magazines, and a map of the night sky (which is breathtaking) can be found in the studio.
Reverse cycle air conditioning, a ceiling fan and a fireplace ensure comfort, whatever the season. Undercover parking is right at the doorstep making unpacking a breeze and allowing visitors to quickly settle into their stunning accommodation.
Included in the tariff are breakfast supplies for the duration of the stay - these and a welcome cheese platter are also in the fridge when guests arrive. Owners and hosts of the Retreat, Tony and Tanya Fisher are passionate about supporting Mary Valley Country growers and producers and this is evident in the both the cheese platter and breakfasts provisions. Cheeses are sourced from the Kenilworth Cheese Factory, with zucchini pickles from CC's Kitchen at Woolooga, feijoa chutney from Hinterland Feijoas at Belli Park and strawberries from Cooloola Berries at Wolvi.
Breakfast is a real treat, with locally smoked bacon from the Kandanga butcher (call in and take some home), local free range eggs, Chia and Coconut Breakfast Pudding with fresh seasonal fruits, yoghurt from Maleny Cheese, Cooloola strawberries, feijoa jam, freshly baked bread and cold pressed juice from Tanya and Tony's kitchen. These items change seasonally, ensuring guests enjoy only the best local produce.
For an additional cost, meals can be pre-ordered and these are bound to please as the Fisher family are all keen cooks, including daughter, Emma. Testimony to this is that Tanya's Market Veg and Feta Pie recently won the ABC Australia Cooks competition and her recipe will be included in the ABC Australia Cooks cookbook to be published next year.
Whilst it's very tempting to just relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity here, those with itchy feet will find plenty to do. There are a few short walks on the property or guests can speak to Tony about organized hikes. Bird watchers will be delighted with the variety of species found here and to help visitors identify the region's birds, a Field Guide to Birds and a pair of binoculars are provided in the studio.
A family of Eastern Grey kangaroos and a mob of wallabies call Melawondi Spring Retreat home and can sometimes be seen enjoying this idyllic property. At night, tiny green sedge frogs take up their positions on the dam's lily pads and can be spotted with a torch.
A short drive from the Retreat will take you to either Gympie, Borumba Dam (fishing, boating, water sports, picnicking) Kenilworth (stock up on cheese) and Kandanga (enjoy a steak at the pub and call in to the butcher for some of that smoked bacon to take home with you).
A little further afield are the Sunshine Coast beaches, Pomona, Kin Kin, Wolvi and the hinterland towns of Maleny, Montville, Mapleton and Flaxton. Also easy is a day trip to Australia Zoo. There's much more to do in this beautiful region and Tony and Tanya are happy to suggest itineraries to guests.
Other options available to guests at Melawondi Spring Retreat (at extra cost) include: wilderness navigation workshops, massage packages, canapés at sunset, and fireside dining, while future plans include the completion of a hikers' hut on the top ridge and the commencement of cooking classes (news on these will be posted on the Facebook page and website).
Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to sunset options. A short walk uphill, through the top paddock, results in a lovely high position, overlooking the lush valley with its paddocks, hills and mountains. Or, enjoy sitting on the studio's deck where the sunset view is filtered through large gum trees, casting long shadows over the sprawling lawn. A third option is to take your drinks and nibbles down to the dam and watch the water lilies close as the reflections on the dam change with the setting sun. Needless to say, this picturesque region is a photographer's dream.
Tony, Tanya and Emma offer warm hospitality whilst being respectful of guests' privacy. Should visitors order extra meals during a stay here, their hosts will deliver these to a purpose built deliveries hut, situated outside the studio. This is a cleverly designed, beautifully decorated and well equipped luxury retreat where much care and attention to detail is evident and guests' privacy and comfort are paramount.
In a nutshell - Spoil yourself and spend some time at Melawondi Spring Retreat where morning is greeted with birdsong and evening is signalled by a chorus of tiny frogs.
Nice to know: There is also a small cabin at the Retreat which enjoys views over one of the property's dams. More info is available on the website.
Need to know: If guests are intending to drive a high performance or low bodied car, it would be advisable to check the driveway condition with Tony and Tanya. After big rain events, the track is sometimes unsuitable for these types of vehicles.
By Sandy Ludinski
Must Do Brisbane was a guest of Melawondi Spring Retreat