Last month I had a few days off so my pooch, Mister Pickles, and I took a relaxing winter break to Kangaroo Valley, a couple of hours south of Sydney.
I booked a beautiful a pet-friendly home called ‘Halcyon’ with stained glass windows, a fireplace, a manicured garden with flowers out front and fruit trees out back and a deep claw-footed bath. The gorgeous 1910’s cottage was the perfect place to spend three nights away from the city.
The house had a relaxed, comfortable and homely feel and owners Amanda and David, who run a lovely antique store and a second-hand bookstore in town, were very kind hospitable.
Halcyon is just a few minutes from the town centre so on our first morning we took a walk and had breakfast at Cafe Bella. It was quite misty in the valley, and stayed so until nearly midday, so a hot breakfast really hit the spot.
Out front of the grocery store next door, an old grey cat called ‘Skeeter’ sat atop a shelf with a sign warning that he’s a tad grumpy. He didn’t much mind me giving him a quick pat but I’m guessing he regularly takes swipes at customers.
At the local bakery I tested the vegetable pastie and, as recommended by the staff, a slice of mud cake with chocolate and jaffa icing. Sadly the pastie had more pastry than filling but the cake was good. It was a huge slice and I didn’t get through it – it would have been the perfect size for sharing.
When the sun came out in the afternoon, Mister Pickles and I sat on the back porch, looking out at the lush fruit trees with ripe lemon, lime, grapefruit, lemonade, oranges and mandarins. I took a bag full of fruit home and have a delicious sweet recipe coming up for you soon.
On my second day I took a windy road trip to Berry, about 20 minutes from Kangaroo Valley, where I visited The Famous Berry Donut Van and had a warming cauliflower and leek soup at Milkwood Bakery. I had planned to have afternoon tea at The Berry Tea Shop but sadly they were out of plain scones.
I did a little second-hand shopping, finding some beautiful pieces at The Nostalgia Factory in Kangaroo Valley and at Dirty Jane’s Emporium and Antique Market in Bowral on the way home. You can bet these shiny goodies will feature as props in future recipe photos.
On my last night I had dinner at Bistro One46 and as there is seating on the balcony, Mister Pickles quietly joined me, gratefully accepting a pat from other diners as they came and went. This local restaurant is run by a husband and wife team who specialise in local and seasonal produce. Wife Nicole, who serves the diners, kindly gave me a blanket to keep me warm enough to sit outside.
After some advice from Nicole on what to order, I went for the entrée serving of arancini with mushroom, spinach and ricotta and a tomato, garlic and basil sauce Nicole said this was one of her husband, chef Gerard’s most popular dishes. I enjoyed the meal with a glass of local white wine called Bong Bong from Centennial Vineyards in Bowral. Having an entrée sized meal served me well as it left room for a chocolate fondant for dessert!
On the drive home I stopped at Fitzroy Falls in the Yarrunga Valley and as someone who’s a bit spooked by heights, this one was tough! Even though the lookout is secure and has railings, I found it difficult getting close to the edge. It’s a spectacular view and you can hear the water slapping against the rocks at the bottom of the waterfall.
It’s not a trip to a rural town without enjoying freshly baked scones and I had the most amazing ones in Bowral at a tiny cafe inside the antique warehouse. These were rose scones with raspberry jam and a rose cream. They were light and had a lovely rose scent and flavour. Oh my!
Not having phone service or internet forced me to take a break from social media and really relax – something I don’t often do.
What is your ideal getaway? Do you take a break from the internet when you’re on a trip?
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