Monday, June 10, 2019

Winter Long Weekend - Iandra Castle and the Rustic Maze.

Day two of our trip began with this sweet view of our two lovebugs.

Young turned out to be very family friendly place to visit. We stayed in a beautifully renovated family suite at the Town House Motor Inn. It was immaculately clean, the beds were super comfy and we all had a great night's sleep.

Dinner Saturday night was at Urban Retreat, a very relaxed pub/bistro with great meals and a kids play area only one block from our motel. Sunday morning we filled our bellies with an amazing breakfast at S&AJ Cafe, (smashed avo on sourdough for the win!). I've loved their images on instagram and it was great to try them out. The staff were so lovely, the food AH-MAZING and the homewares store at the back was filled with a whole lot of pretty!

Sunday was the perfect kind of day for driving down country lanes and exploring historical houses and gardens. First on the list...Iandra Castle at Greenethorpe.

(Aerial photo from Iandra's website.)

What a grand and intriguing home, set on a rise overlooking a spectacular rural landscape. The original single level homestead was built in 1880. In 1908 construction commenced to convert it into a 57 room mansion, including stables and a managers residence. The vast 33,000 acre estate became one of the largest and most progressive wheat farming properties in Australia, with its own village that supported as many as 60 sharefarmers who worked the land. Such a fascinating history!

We spent hours exploring the house and grounds, enjoyed coffee from the Art of Espresso and some divine Green Grove Organics chocolate from the Junee Liquorice & Chocolate Factory. By lunch time the crowd was so huge that we decided to head down the road to another historic property, Lower Coologong. It was originally settled in the 1850s, run by generations of the same family. These days the working cropping farm is also home to The Rustic Maze with a cafe, a beautiful garden and a totally gorgeous flock of dorper sheep. 

The maze, with its tricky riddles and historic artifacts, was great family fun. The view was amazing, the garden so peaceful and the boys loved the giant outdoor chess set and trampoline. My favourite moment of the afternoon was when I sat quietly by myself on a garden seat in the winter sunshine, watching tiny fairy wrens flitting about the lawn and breathing in the heady scent of old tea roses.


The journey home was countryside all a-glow in the setting sun.
I'm so glad we got out and explored the Hilltops Region this weekend, it was everything it promised it would be and more. 

Til the next adventure!
xx Em

Winter Long Weekend - Booroowa & Carcoar.

Are you the kind of person who hears about an event that you know you'd love to go to but you find yourself missing it each time it comes around? It happens to me quite regularly. I make a mental bucket list of places or events I'd love to see but the list seems to grow longer with very few getting crossed off!

Well...this weekend I broke that habit by organising a little family roadtrip through the Hilltops Region. Hurrah to me! 

Iandra Castle had one of their open days on Sunday so I figured it would be great stay in nearby Young Saturday night so that we could make the most of the weekend, tripping about the countryside exploring the region. Every foodie spot, every point of interest, every little town was selected based on Instagram accounts that I follow and the weekend turned out to be a truly lovely little adventure.

We set off early Saturday morning and made our first stop in Booroowa for coffee at the Pantry on Pudman and a wander around the town.

Then it was onwards north through Cowra to my favourite little village of Carcoar in the shire of Blayney. First things first...a wander up the street to stretch our legs and have a sticky beak at all the gorgeous heritage homes. It was here that we found ourselves a friend...or rather, Jack found himself a friend by the river whom we dubbed "Carcoar Cat".
Carcoar Cat followed us from the bridge all the way up the street and back again. It was adorable! 

 A pub lunch at the Royal Hotel was in order after our stroll.


Then I popped across the street for an entirely delightful catch up with the wonderful Belinda in her homewares store Tomolly. One of my instagram muses and a beautiful soul, it was so lovely to give her a hug hello and have a good chat in person. 

I could have whiled away the whole afternoon in conversation but the boys were keen to do more exploring, so, with a bag of Tomolly goodies in my hand we bid farewell and headed up the hill to the old train station to walk the disused line up to the abandoned tunnel. Thanks for the tip was brilliant fun! The boys were in heaven! The 281m tunnel built in the late 1880s was thrilling to walk through without a torch.We were able to see quite well until we hit the halfway mark. At that point we could see the faint light coming from each end of the tunnel but when we looked down we couldn't see a thing. We just kept our stride to the same spacing as the sleepers and hoped we wouldn't run into anything. It was peaceful and still and cool in the tunnel...until Harry got going with some very realistic train sounds that bounced off the curved walls and reverberated in my ears. Happiest kid on the planet! I hope the boys end up with fond memories of these little adventures. They'll be locked away in my memory as some of the loveliest times in my life.

I adore the view of the village from up on the hill, made extra special with winter woodsmoke wisping its way up into the air from chimneys.

When a biting chill hit the air we hopped back into the car and headed south to Young as the sun dipped down behind the hills, arriving at our motel just in time for dinner. 
More adventures in my next post.

xx Em