Dec 26, 2011

The Inaugural SSG Bush Christmas: Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve began in traffic and rain for me.

An emergency dash to work for my Kindle and an urgent email, a gift drop off to relatives, nearly drowning as I went on my morning run.  It was frantic and it felt like I'd done a whole day's activities before morning tea.

However, I got through it all and when we finally made our way for Wolgan Valley (official site for the Inaugural SSG Bush Christmas), I felt the weight of the year lift off my shoulders.  Despite having a challenging 3 hour drive until we reached our destination.

And what a destination it was.  Some 26 kilometres of winding gravel track from the main road, hidden in a valley, cut off from mobile phone reception was the entrance point to the resort.

We were met at the gate by the friendly security staff and were directed to where we were to park our car.  I know what you're thinking.  Where's the resort in this picture?

The reception area at the front gate.  High backed leather chairs, I'm liking it already.

Or even in this next one?  It turns out that private vehicles aren't to access the property so guests are met at  the gate with a 4WD that transports them and their luggage to the main compound.

Tributaries of the Wolgan River run through the reserve and you actually need to cross them to get to the suites and reception.  Originally a cattle station, Wolgan Valley was bought by Emirates a few years ago and the present resort is about 2 years old.  It has been built with the visions of being sustainable, carbon neutral, a support of local people and industries as well as to be a 6 star resort.  As I think this series of posts will show, I think all aspects of the brief have been fulfilled.

Mr SSG (a numbers man by trade) often complains that I don't put in enough financial detail in my posts.  He feels that a link to the home page of place isn't adequate information in this regard and feels that costings will help you make your own decisions about a place and give 'context'.  I picked a great time to start taking his feedback on board.  To quote Mr SSG yet again, 'there's no high quality paper napkins for the canap├ęs here, SSG ... it's linen all the way'.  Which is actually a true statement and no exaggeration.

Are your ready?  Well...  Room rates are between $1560 to $1950 per  night for the standard suites that are a 2 person occupancy.  The longer you stay (over 3 nights), the cheaper the rate.  Included in this price are all meals, the mini bar (except the Moet, wouldn't you know it), nature activities and any special events that management plan over your stay, unless otherwise stated.  Most wines and non alcoholic beverages are included but there is a special listed of priced items for those who are interested.  Spa treatments are in the range of $165 to $580.

So yes, it's on the champagne budget side of things but it is such a unique and all round perfect experience.  As a paying customer, this stay exceeded my expectations and it is something I would seriously consider doing again.  Perhaps for Mr SSG's 40th.  A few years away yet - all the better for us to start saving for, then.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let the bush memoirs begin.  With a beverage, of course!

I knew I was on to a good thing when we were encouraged to take our sparkling wine from check in on board the electric buggy that took us to our home for the next 3 nights.
The look and feel of the resort is uniquely Australian.  Part colonial, part modern pared down luxury and a whole lot of Australian rural chic.  I imagine it must have been a hard and bitter battle between Ralph Lauren and R.M. Willliams to be the official uniform suppliers to Wolgan Valley.  R.M. Williams won and I am glad they did because their Australian spirit is the perfect match for this resort.

There are about 80 staff in residence on the property.  There are separate quarters for them with some privacy from the guests.  There are 40 suites (okay, free standing cottages), most of which are for couples.  There are 3 larger houses for families or larger groups.  All up, 96 guests or so is the maximum for any one night.

Hello, homestead!  Number 30, the King Parrot suite.  That's  us.
I was so glad to find a wreath on our front door.  To make up for my lacklustre efforts back home in the city.

It was one of those 'Give me a home among the gum trees moments...'.

Our bikes for the weekend, parked on the front verandah.

Inside, we were met with my idea of interior design heaven.  My dream house would look a lot like this....

The leather easy chair and throw.

Which had a view of our private lap pool.  For real.  It's heated to 28C and looks out onto our private sun deck.

I've been inspired by the bookshelves of our room.  Hardcover literary classics mixing it with easy reading page turners.  Is it a bad thing that I know who Cindy Jackson (the human embodiment of a Barbie Doll) is?

The fire place turns on with the flick of a switch.

And it warms both the lounge and the sleeping area with its amazingly comfortable canopied bed (in the most non Dame Barbara Cartland incarnation of a canopied bed, I might add).

Binoculars with which to identify the birds around us who seem to break out into song on cue at various key moments of the day - sun rise, sun set, cocktail hour (just kidding).

You might have heard of the famed sky lit bathrooms of these suites already.

It is a story that bears repeating often and with photographs.  The sun streams down over you in the shower as you look up to nothing but blue sky and clouds.  No electricity cables, no other buildings, no antennae.  Just sky.

At turn down each evening, the candle inside the diffuser on this stand gets lit for you.

The walk in wardrobe of the bedroom.  Where do I  begin?  Are we really in an eco resort?  Or am I house sitting for a Hollywood actress?

There were glass fronted pull out drawers for accessories

And a mirrored vanity.

As you can see, I've wasted no time in stamping my personality on the cottage.   Including this lightweight but very informative reading material.

To make it feel even more like home, I had to make myself a cup of tea.  I'm leaving the fancy coffee machine for another day.  It has a milk frother too.  I am overwhelmed and intimidated by it already.

It took a while to choose which tea though.

But I got there eventually.

Mr SSG appreciated the selection of snacks.

Not to mention the option of honey as a sweetener.  All the better for soothing a sore throat.

I think I need these Villeroy & Boch mugs at home.

Conveniently, one of the many magazines I brought along (marie claire Australia, January 2012) included a free beach dress with the issue. Which I will be able to wear by the side of both our pool.

And the main pool over by the main homestead.

And that's just about all we have time for today.  There's a whole long weekend to be savoured, people.  I wouldn't want to be dragging you away from that for much longer.

So, find yourself a spot in the sun and kick back.

Talk again soon,


  1. Wowzers Batman, looks fantastic! I was wondering how much it would cost so tell Mr SSG thanks for making you dish...a bit out of our price range, but I think you guys deserve a truly special X-mas. Enjoy the rest of your stay...have a swim in the lap pool for moi.

  2. Glad you are having a lovely Christmas.. You deserve it.  Although I think your idea of a bush Christmas and mine may be slightly different...!!  The only similar thing is the 26km of winding gravel (oh and the coffee machine!)

    Take care and enjoy every minute.


  3. Wolgan Valley has been on my bucket list since it opened! Perfect escape for you x Hope you get to try a Sodashi thermal infusion facial.

  4. A. MAA. ZING!! So were you there with lots of your family? Can you do group celebrations/events for Xmas?

  5. What an incredible place, and such a wonderful array of photo's and description.  Your own lap pool, superb! 

  6. You completely deserve to be spoilt rotten.  Hope you're having a marvelous stay there.


  7. When I first read the title of the post I thought you were 'camping' - this looks totally amazing - enjoy and have a wonderful time. Happy holidays to you!! XX

  8. I think that this resort is one I spied from the top of a rock bordering the valley during my last canyoning trip! It looked nice from the air, certainly more comfortable than our camp site, have a wonderful time!

  9. Looks lovely - hope it was soothing and restorative. L xx

  10. You have to get yourself to the east coast for this one, S!

    SSG xxx

  11. It was indeed!  Hope the Peters' parcel gets to you ASAP.

    SSG xxx

  12. Hi Erin, 
    Thanks for stopping by the blog!  Wouldn't you know it, canyoning is the one thing I didn't do at Wolgan Valley.
    SSG xxx

  13. Hello dear Sarah,
    Hope you're having a wonderful Christmas too.  
    SSG xxx

  14. BubBbles!
    How are you?  Did you get home from Singapore for Christmas?

    SSG xxx

  15. I think you need to bring your family here, Sean!

    SSG xxx

  16. I think group bookings are available most of the year but there didn't seem to be large groups whilst I was there.  New Years seemed to be booked with small groups from what the staff were saying but do check with them.

    SSG xxx

  17. Duh!  Did not get to have a Sodashi facial.  Will obviously have to return again for this.

    SSG xxx

  18. T,
    I rode a horse the next day!  And then I pottered around in a strawberry patch....

    SSG xxx

  19. Miss P
    I swam many, many laps on your behalf.

    SSG xxx

  20. Looks relaxing and of course you deserve it!

  21. Am terribly jealous of the heated pool! And the rest of the suite too! It looks absolutely divine. What a way to spend Christmas!

    K xx

  22. Oh wow!!! Wolgan Valley looks amazing!! What a lovely place - so glad you were spoilt there - you sure deserve to be.
    I love your writing and found myself laughing along at some of the things you wrote. Glad you had a wonderful Christmas.


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