Monday, May 11, 2015

Hill End, Jaspers Brush, NSW - My pick for a Big Chill winter weekend

Journeys come in all shapes and sizes. Some are relaxing; some are hedonistic - others are tests of endurance. All the good ones transform you in some way. You're never quite the same again.

Our road trip down to the south coast of NSW to Jaspers Brush, winding through Kiama, Gerringong and Gerroa was going to fall into the 'relaxing' category - with a few pops of hedonism.
The farmland and bush is especially lush after the recent heat and downpours.
In less than two and a half hours from Sydney, we've arrived at our two-day getaway - Hill End at Jaspers Brush

This sprawling property is located about two kilometres from the main road.

We drive past grazing dairy cattle...

who are clearly used to passing travellers.

...although these two think they're guard dogs.
.... then finally a avenue of trees

... a gravelled turning bay with lush garden beds...

... and we arrive at Hill End.
Hill End can sleep up to 12 people comfortably in 5 bedrooms and you can see why it is a popular wedding venue.
Describing it as a house is inadequate. Hill End is a compound. Be prepared to send out search parties!

There are three wings to the home. The main entertaining space which features a full-size pool table.

Then there's the main bedroom wing with it's own lounge, kitchen and fireplace...

....and two queen-sized bedrooms

..with a cavernous bath and wet shower.
The home's main lounge is comfortable with light from two sides of wide windows and another fireplace.
And the kid's bunk bed room has its own TV/lounge/games room overlooking the swimming pool.
Given that every space is so large, the kitchen is surprisingly normal-sized but still big enough to rustle up catering for dozens.

Being a wedding venue there is every imaginable piece of crockery or kitchen appliance that even the MasterChef kitchen would be envious to have.
Oh, did I mention the gym? It's easy to get lost in here.


Our favourite room and gadget was the extraordinary B&E sound and TV system in the main wing. The sound is glorious and because neighbours aren't an issue out here you can really crank up the volume and create your own music concert. We would come back just for this.

The weather isn't looking good tomorrow so I decide to dive in for a swim before the sun goes down.
It's a great lap pool surrounded by aromatic gardens and bush to stimulate your senses even further.

A hot shower and then a quick game of pool before dinner. Deliciously relaxed now.
Well, that's enough activity for Day1. As we drift off to sleep, the sounds of the native frogs and  wind rustling through the trees take us into our dreams.

The next morning I'm up with the sun.
It's a glorious day.

 Time to do a little exploring of Berry and the Shoalhaven before the weather changes...
It's already beginning to look ominous.

Back on the main road we're reminded that we're certainly tucked away deep in the country.

We're heading to a local institution... Jim Wilds Oysters at Greenwell Point.

Jim has been the oyster shucking champion of the world and still harvests his own oysters from several holdings along the Shoalhaven river.

 You can buy prawns and Pacific and Sydney rock oysters freshly shucked from his riverside warehouse and kitchen. Just remember to bring your own BYO. Nothing fancy about the location but it drips with authenticity.

The South Coast really is a foodie haven. We pick up some supplies at the Nowra fresh produce markets. Farm fresh ingredients that taste of the rich earth they've been grown in.

Back at Hill End we raid the kitchen garden for some fresh herbs to add to the fragrant crab curry and basmatic rice I'm throwing together for dinner. So satisfying.

This has been one journey that we hope to repeat. Next time we'll bring along a few friends.

Saucy Onion stayed courtesy of  Hill End and South Coast Holidays

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