Yabbaloumba Retreat is an award winning, luxury hideaway in the Mary Valley that ticks all the boxes for those looking for a break from the big smoke and the daily grind - and it's only a 90 minute scenic drive from Brisbane.
Just seven kilometres from Kenilworth, the retreat sits high on a ridge within the Conondale Ranges and is named after the two spring fed creeks found on the property - Little Yabba Creek and Booloumba Creek.
Boasting sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and nearby ranges, four self contained cottages (one with disability access) each make a very luxurious base to call home whilst exploring the region. With thoughtful design by hosts, Barbara and Lloyd Campbell, each cottage enjoys views over the property's dam, paddocks of grazing cattle and the surrounding countryside and mountains.
The entrance to Yabbaloumba Retreat can't be missed. Guests are welcomed by "Frank", a tall metal character, created by wood and metal works artist, Paul Farley.
On arrival, guests are treated to a complimentary bottle of wine and a cheese platter. Also in the fridge are supplies for breakfast which include eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, yoghurt, muesli, juice, milk and fresh fruit. At eight o'clock each morning Barb drops off warm croissants to complete a very generous breakfast that sets visitors up for a day of discovery.
Outdoor furniture on the cottage's deck provides the opportunity for guests to relax and take in the rural views and is a lovely spot to be at the end of the day as the light falls across the dam below and throws up some very pretty reflections. An electric BBQ on the deck and a well equipped kitchen make meal times a breeze. For intrepid explorers, the double spa bath is a welcome sight at the end of the day, as are the luxury Pure Essense toiletries to be found in the spacious bathroom.
On a cold night, light the gas fire, sink into the leather lounge and enjoy a movie from the vast DVD library (found at reception) available to guests.
Yabbaloumba Retreat is home to a variety of animals and birds: Matty the dog, Simba and Sammy the visiting donkeys, a mixed herd of 47 cattle, goats, turkeys, guinea fowl, sheep, geese and a horse. Binoculars and a copy of Simpson and Day's Field Guide to the Birds of Australia will help visitors identity feathered visitors. A word of warning though: don't leave food unattended on the deck unless sharing it with new-found feathered friends is okay.
Local kookaburras, magpies and butcher birds are incredibly tame and don't mind mixing with visitors bearing gifts of food. Other birds spotted include: pale headed rosellas, yellow tailed black cockatoos, whip birds, wedge tailed eagles, cormorants, cattle egrets, pea hens and sulphur crested cockatoos. Whilst not easily seen, bell birds provide a beautiful sound track to a stay at Yabbaloumba, with their distinctive bell-like calls.
The property's dam is stocked with Australian bass and perch and guests are welcome to throw in a line and try their luck. Fishing rods and lures are provided and can be found at the main house. Also provided in each cabin are hiking sticks.
There are several walks on the 200 acre property - a walk to Booloumba Creek is definitely worthwhile as the water is crystal clear and cool and provides welcome relief on hot days, so don't forget to pack the swimmers. And be sure to throw in the camera, too. The scenery here is breathtakingly beautiful and just begs to be photographed. Serious hikers are spoilt for choice, as Yabbaloumba Retreat borders on both the Conondale National Park and the Imbil State Forest. Added to this, Kenilworth State Forest is a short drive away. The entrance to the Conondale Range Great Walk is also in the same road as the retreat, making this an ideal accommodation choice for keen walkers and hikers.
If putting together a meal at the end of the day feels too much like being at home, Barb offers a couple of meal options, which she will happily discuss with you at the time of booking (or please give her 24 hours notice). Dinner packs can be delivered to the cottage and may include a meal like salmon, prawn skewers (ready to be cooked on the BBQ) and a fresh salad, followed by silky chocolate mousse for dessert.
Alternatively, order a slow cooker meal and return home from a day of exploring, to find the delicious aroma of a meal bubbling away in a slow cooker filling the cottage - just pour the wine, serve dinner up and enjoy. This option may include a tasty beef and veggie casserole, followed by sticky date pudding and butterscotch sauce for dessert. Both options come highly recommended and not having to think about "what's for dinner" is another luxury offered at this amazing retreat.
Whether guests are looking for a romantic get away, a relaxing escape or a destination full of "must dos", this spot has it all - in spades. For a true country experience, warm and welcoming hosts and delightful accommodation, treat yourself and escape to the country at Yabbaloumba Retreat.
Neeed to know - Both TV and mobile reception are unreliable ( it's nice to have a break from technology). Limited private camping opportunities on the property exist, speak to Barb and Lloyd for details.
Nice to know - Yabbaloumba Retreat recently added to their list of awards, receiving a Stellar Stay award, with a ranking of number one in Queensland and number five in Australia. They have now earned a place amongst the top three per cent of 800,000 accommodation providers. The Retreat has a purpose built function venue beside the dam, known as The Shed, which comfortably seats 150 guests and is perfect for a unique country wedding or special function. The Shed is also home to the annual Chicks in the Sticks event, held each October to raise funds for breast cancer research. Future plans for Yabbaloumba Retreat include erecting basic overnight accommodation alongside the dam and The Shed.
6 Must Do Things to see and do:
Explore the township of Kenilworth with its cheese factory, cafes, pub, bakery, museum and quirky shops.
Enjoy a variety of water sports on the Mary River.
Check out one of the many local markets.
Take the nearby Fig Tree Forest Walk and be amazed at the size of these giant fig trees.
Explore the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and its many quaint towns.
Get walking and/or hiking on the Conondale Range Great walk or in one of the nearby national parks or state forests.
By Sandy Ludinski
Must Do Brisbane.com was a guest of Yabbaloumba Retreat
118 Boloumba Creek Rd
07 5446 0787