Dec 28, 2011

The Inaugural SSG Bush Christmas: Boxing Day.

The unusualness of this Christmas continued into Boxing Day.


Instead of finding myself in a crush of people at the entrance to my local Westfield or poised over my laptop, ready to click 'proceed to payment' - I was on my bike by the front gate of an old homestead.


1832 homestead is located to the back of the cottages that make up Wolgan Valley resort.  It is a relic from the days when the property was a farm.


I'll write more later on in this post about what currently goes on at the homestead.  For now, though, let's all acknowledge my bravery in getting onto a mountain bike and navigating its gears to get both myself and the bike safely from the paths of the resort area down to the unsealed tracks through the bushland.


I must have been quite a sight because even the local kangaroos stopped to have a closer look at my unsteady and loud progress.


So much for my city slicker prowess on the step and bike machines in the gym.  I had to get help in order to carry my bike across the 'bridge' that formed part of our route.



It never ceased to amaze me whilst I was in the valley, just how green everything around me was.  It's been a mild summer in these parts and there has also been quite a fair bit of rain.  The undergrowth was a treat for the local butterfly population.  As we rode the winding tracks, flocks (?flutters) of orange butterflies would join us and perch on our heads as they searched for grass to feed on.


As for me on my bike, I finally got some confidence and released my firm grip on both brakes.



There are lookouts dotted over the property where guests can bike out and have a picnic lunch.  The land on which the resort lies is a complex ecosystem that is the basis for ongoing research funded by Emirates with input from researchers of the University of Western Sydney.  The local wombat, possum and wallaroo populations are quite vulnerable to predatory foxes and wild cats and there is a programme in place to try and control the numbers of these introduced animals who not only prey on the native species but have also introduced infections that are proving difficult to control with the current available treatments.

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned koalas.  Despite the abundance of koala appropriate gum trees in the area, koalas have not yet made it to their preferred food choice this side of the Blue Mountains.  No one is quite sure why this is the case but one of the environmental programmes occurring in Wolgan Valley is an attempt to create natural corridors to enable the passage of wildlife from the national parkland that surrounds the resort into the resort's gum trees (koalas are sorely missed by guests here, as are the elusive platypus who frequent the water holes but rarely in front of human eyes).



As we rode along, I had some time to reflect on just how amazing it was that the first generations of European settlers in this area actually found this place, let alone made a go of farming here.  There is dense bushland and uneven rock formations as far as the eye can see yet a homestead has been built here and cattle were bred successfully.  Rumour has it that it was the livestock that found this place first.  A few escaped from some of the early convict ships and found the water here where they grazed and bred without human intervention before being found again by their captors.


Several decades later, the developers of this resort spent around 5 million dollars to get electricity connected to the valley, raising the value of the farmland along the path of supply.


Back at the homestead, after our ride, Mr SSG and I took a look around and basked in the serenity (there, I've said the 'S' word) and the freshness of the air.


A central 'fire place' in front of the homestead is the location for damper making, one of many activities arranged for the junior visitors to Wolgan Valley.




Next to the homestead is a vegetable patch that produces many of the fruit and vegetables that make up the meals at Wolgan Valley.  As part of its goal as a sustainable luxury resort, most of the food and drink here is sourced within a 100 kilometre radius.  Which is pretty impressive given that there's a  26 kilometre buffer between farmland and the front door.


There's something about trucks decked out with gardening equipment and wooden fences that make me think of Jamie Oliver.


Or Mr SSG as he 'tests the irrigation system' over at the herb garden.


I found the strawberry patch!


Given the number of strawberries that went into our Christmas Day champagnes, I was lucky to find these still unpicked.


You will have to excuse my vegetable ignorance as I bumble my way through my photos.  I'm pretty sure we have an artichoke plant here.


And some zucchini flowers here.


Are these chamomile flowers?




Definitely blueberries here.


I think either you or Jamie Oliver will have to help me identify these.


Instead of making damper on Boxing Day, the children were decorating a pair of the electric buggies that usually zoom between the corsages with luggage, guests and supplies.


After a busy morning, I went back to our cottage and had a long bath.


With a Diet Coke and the gossip world's wrap up of 2011.  I was spared the cricket as a soundtrack as Mr SSG was too engrossed in the selection of new release films on offer.


The bath left me so relaxed I felt more than up to the challenge of making the in room Nespresso machine and frothacino whatsit work.


I got a good froth on my milk but failed with the actual coffee.  How I managed to get a stone cold brew despite having all the correct buttons flashing remains a mystery to this day.


Never mind, other technologies were on my side.  The Parlux hairdryer gave me the best hotel hair I've had in my entire life.



And the blisteringly fast broad band made short work of holiday blogging and social networking.  My long goodbye on my pre getaway post seems a bit melodramatic now.


6 comments:

  1. Ahhh - the serenity.

    It looks like a wonderful getaway. They are definitely camomile flowers. I don't know what the other ones are though.

    I admit to not knowing anything about Nespresso machines so wouldn't have been any help there. Having said that we have had a coffee machine for 7 years and I don't think I have ever used it. Coffee is firmly the domain of Mr K. In your case I would have rung for room service!

    Snaps to you for mountain biking. I don't think I have ridden a bike in more than 2 decades. I have a shocking sense of balance. My idea of communing with nature involves relaxing on a sunbed by the pool...

    K xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. The mystery plant is a spring onion. I love their bobbly little flowers.

    That mountain biking trail looked pretty complex. I think I would have gone for another horseride instead!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Zahra
    Thanks for the positive ID of the spring onions.
    SSG xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. K
    Serenity indeed.  I am back to earth now with an al lmighty, sleep deprived thud.  I went one better than room service, got a skinny cap delivered pool side.
    SSG xxx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, I am getting very close to putting this place on the bucket list (geographically constraints not making it a definite!).  So, is there a mountain bike gift in your future :)  I think I may have got your share of cricket radio, tv and twitter updates (whilst the bride was at the sales)

    ReplyDelete
  6. holy crapola, i feel relaxed just READING these posts, ok ok ok and a little jealous!! LOL

    sounds like your christmas was just fabulous! Guv & i have next christmas off and i would *love* to go away, just the two of us but i won't hold my breath!

    not long until OUR AMAZING FANTABULOUS, BRILLIANT 2012 year starts - are you excited? if not, you SHOULD be, it's going to be amazing, i promise, just ask Suger!

    ~x~

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I'm having trouble importing comments from Blogger right now so using Disqus or sending a tweet would be your best bet. X

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails