How to sip and glamp

How to sip and glamp

 

In the gentle grip of the grape. 

Rustic but refined, this experience sets you in the middle of classic Australian terrain – generous glamping and a spectacular cellar door next door. Everybody needs good neighbours.

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 Was I having sheep dreams? I wake to the sounds of a variety of bird song, some chirpy, some a little glum, some positively raucous. Then the bleat of sheep. But I was in the middle of a vineyard. I stepped outside and on a narrow path through one of the vineyard rows I spied a line of sheep, cream coloured except for one black sheep being led by a haughty alpaca. In front on the lawn was a duck and two rabbits. To my right I turned to see the soft glaze of an early morning mist still settled on the land looking all the while like a scene from a Hans Heysen painting. Where was I again?

I’m standing on the deck of a splendid ‘glamping cabin’, one of two sitting on the edge of 17 hectares, 900 metres above sea level in the Nashdale Lane Vineyard, just outside the western NSW city of Orange.

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To the left I see the rather cool building that is a repurposed 60-year-old apple packing shed, now a rather fine cellar door with large windows drawing in the view of the surrounding rolling land, neighbouring vineyard, a few wandering cattle and the view to Mount Canobolas.

I give a silent nod of thanks and respect to the the mountain – it’s because of this extinct volcano that the rich, fertile land gives guts and glory to the wine grown here.

Take a sip

Nick and Tanya (Ryan-Segger) Segger (below) took on this property in 2000 and have turned it into a productive, all Australian owned winery. Wine and cellar door is the core business of this property with small groups turning up for serious tastings and considered purchasing.

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Wine tastings of the full range of wines include:

Whites –  “the social” blanc (Pinot Gris, Riesling & Arneis blend), Pinot Gris, Riesling, Fumé Blanc (lightly oaked Sauvignon Blanc), Chardonnay.

Reds – “the social” rosé, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Shiraz.

The labels are creatively designed, with a delicate graphic edge. The necks of the bottles have coloured stripes that indicate the type of wine the bottle is housing.

After a relaxed and comprehensive wine tasting in the afternoon we at Nashdale Lane Wines we head to our accommodation for the night. The glamping cabins are large and impressive (there are two only, which adds to the exclusivity of the destination).

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Now, I’m not a camper but I am a glamper. This accommodation suits the terrain and has a rustic, familiar and distinctive Aussie short break attitude. And it promises a carbon-neutral footprint with the almost au natural experience of camping – with benefits!

Glamping here does not compromise on comfort and style. (Nashdale Lane Glamping Cabins are designed for couples only and children are not allowed.)

We step up on the outdoor deck (barbecue sitting patiently and ready for action) and unzip the front door. The floor is hardwood throughout and the entire construction is to a high standard of state-of-the-art fabric.

There’s a well-designed little kitchen with everything you need to whip up a gourmet meal. Coffee, tea, salt and pepper, muesli and local olive oil are at the ready.

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There’s a large couch, an eclectic selection of books and magazines, a four-poster bed with high thread cotton sheets and a romantic muslin net folded around the beams. I particularly loved the bathroom, smelling all woody and Scandinavian. The fab shower (which is hot and powerful) is in an open rectangular curve of corrugated iron. There’s a basin and toilet and a couple of windows to roll up for extra light.

But on this chilly night the star of the show is a wood fire (totally safe) and with the wood cut and supplied it promoted a roaring blaze, a heady scent of wood and mighty warmth.

And for a short couple of days we immersed ourselves in ‘disconnection’. Relaxation, frequent naps, pristine mountain air and the fully Monty of a glorious night sky thick with stars.

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The zipper on the cabin door was a little stiff as we tried to leave – was it the universe trying to tell us to stay longer?

(And back to the sheep and alpaca on the early morning walk: they are called the ‘lawn mowing team’, lent to the Eggers by a generous neighbour to keep the grass down in a gentle way.)

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The Cellar Door is open 7 days a week. Sunday to Friday – midday to 4pm.Visit:

Saturday – 11am to 5pm. Enhanced food & wine tasting available. 

Tastings are $10 per person redeemable on purchase.

To ensure delivering a great wine tasting experience, groups of six or more are encouraged to book ahead.

Visit https://nashdalelane.com

Nashdale Lane Wines are located just under 10 minutes outside of Orange, NSW. We can be found by searching us up on Google & Apple Maps or by entering our address 125 Nashdale Lane, Nashdale, NSW.

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Five local highlights

Five minutes from Nashdale Lane Vineyard to Orange and you are in the heart of excellent food, so try myriad gold standard restaurants and cafes – there are more  than you can poke a fork at.

  1. Mr Lim – we had the drunken duck and dumplings. The standout dish of the trip was sweet and sour pork – divine. $$$
  2. Lolli Redini – slow cooked wagyu beef, barramundi and a splendid souffle at this classic Italian restaurant. $$$$
  3. Visit the Orange Visitors Centre – lots of great info from really lovely, informed staff. And there are regular exhibitions on too.
  4. Drive to the top of Mount Canobolas for brilliant views of the city and surrounds.
  5. On the drive back to Sydney and a few minutes out of Orange, visit 2 Fat Ladies café and lolly shop. Freshly baked fluffy scones (so good) and a good cuppa are on offer for a superb morning tea. $$

 

 

Sydney: gets its glamp on!

Sydney: gets its glamp on!

Time to get back into the great outdoors in Sydney, and maybe make an early booking for the best view of the New Year’s Eve firewaorks display over Sydney Harbour

Mmmm, damn traffic first thing in the morning. It’s only 7am. I open my eyes, crawl out of bed and check what is outside my accommodation. It’s a hydrofoil gliding past me on Sydney Harbour.
Waking up on an island in the harbour is a world away from one of the great cities of the planet. I’m on Cockatoo Island a mere ferry ride from the ‘mainland’ and the gateway city to Australia, Sydney, and sitting in a tent on an island that is chock full of history, a multi-layered past, a modern invitation and the odd ghost or two.
It is the largest island in the harbour (UNESCO World-Heritage- listed) that is up for a visit, a stay and the past and present to explore.
I’m in a cool little two-person tent on stretch bed, covered in a fluffy Donna, windows / flaps up to let the sunshine and the moonlight in. I’m ‘glamping’.

Cockatoo Island glamping sunset
During winter in Sydney, it’s the perfect time to come glamping on Cockatoo Island. Cool nights and sunny, blue sky days lend themselves to walks around the island to see each site where the history is on display. Nights are spent around the fire pit meeting new friends before zipping up for the night.


There are lovely apartments to stay in too up on the top of the island and a home for families to fill.
Cockatoo Island was called Wareamah by the original people, of the Eora Nation.
The Eora people would paddle canoes from the mainland to the island to perform sacred ceremony. After colonisation the indigenous people were relegated to remote parts of the mainland.

Cockatoo Island campground
During the years of early colonisation the island was a convict precinct with an horrendous prison history and you can see the amazing work done on the huge sandstone cuts done by hand by prisoners living on water and one meal a day between 1839-1869. Explore the sad, solitary cells and be grateful you weren’t around then – especially as a villain.


The precinct also housed some unfortunate girls in the reform school. The Biloela site is where you might meet your first ghosts.
The island was a productive and important as a major shipbuilding centre. There are fascinating tales to be read here of the dockyard workers.
The industrial, colonial and maritime history are part and parcel of the wonderful Cockatoo Island experience.

Enjoy Lunch at Societe Overboard
It’s also a fab venue for special events and festivals ( check out the website).
Visit the Dog Leg Tunnel Cinema and see historical videos of Cockatoo Island; activities for hire include tennis, basketball, quoits and croquet; you can watch volunteers bring the island’s machinery back to life at the Restoration Workshop; get your camera or your phone out to capture the gritty and grunty industrial buildings and the beautiful vistas of the surrounding harbour – share the images #cockatooisland; enjoy cafe life in one of the cafes and there are free electric barbecues near the Visitors Centre.


It’s free to enter the island and the ferry is caught at Circular Quay.
So what do you fancy? Cosy glamping or perhaps luxury accommodation in a heritage house or apartment. Maybe a night in each . . . . for a million dollar view.

Writer Bev Malzard was a guest of the Harbour Trust’s Cockatoo Island. She walked the island during the day but was a scaredy cat and didn’t do the ghost walk.
FACT There are no cockatoos on Cockatoo Island.

Visit: Cockatoo Island

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Inside the glamping tent, Cockatoo Island Credit - Geoff Magee

Tasmania’s Bruny Isand

Tasmania’s Bruny Isand

 

Getting my glamp on!

Camping? No. Been there, done that and the thought of the cold ground seeping up through my bones, cutting through a wafer thin foam mattress and a patchy, duck feather sleeping bag strangling me is about an attractive proposition as being kept awake by the flapping of a nylon tent in a gale-force wind. So there.

But, here I am, snuggled in a king-size bed, with crisp white linens crackling around my face, darkness folding itself across the entrance of the large tent (should I call that a habitat?) and smiling to myself and remembering that I was never going camping again.

But, glamping. Yes! How civilised, how wonderful and how about this location?

We began our journey in Tasmania to enjoy the ‘Bruny Island Long Weekend’ experience with an early morning pick up at Daci & Daci Bakers in Hobart. No hurry, a fresh-out-of-the-oven pastry and a hot cup of java and then we are delivered to a private boat at the waterfront and so it begins . . .

We enjoy smooth sailing on the silky Derwent River and watch the city fade as the ancient coastline emerges.

There are dolphins at play and at the bottom of the steep, sandstone cliffs there appears to be a gang of sleepy seals playing possum. Sea birds swirl around the tops of the cliffs and we feel very far from civilisation.

We disembark. North and South Bruny is connected by a narrow strip of land called The Neck which is easier to say than isthmus.

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The island is around 50km in length and during a couple of days here we get to see the various hotspots.

Our bags (travelling light) are stashed and we waste no time before we begin to walk. We take a narrow path and begin our walk to a cape on the east coast of Bruny Island. Along the way we see no other human beings. Our hosts/guides/protectors are Robert and Dave who guide us gently through the sea level scrub before we start to rise higher where the scraggly, tough native trees are either gathered tightly together or are out on a limb leaning to the north. When the wind she blows . . . she blows.

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I haven’t done a lot of bushwalking in the past few years but realised how much I like it. Pushing the legs a little harder than usual, breathing in the crisp, end-of-summer scented air is invigorating. The remains of the wildflowers and tree blossoms are hanging on to the endless summer (and it’s been a cracker this year).

The max number of guests on any given Long Weekend is eight, and we are seven which makes getting to know each other easy and companiable.

Our walk takes about five hours with a packed picnic lunch stop, a visit off-the-beaten-track to an old hut that had been built years before – a kind of men’s shed in the wilderness; a trek to the farthest cape and a walk along a splendid, deserted beach with a smattering of rocks that boast of geological marvels and weathered history.

We are on our way to our camp but stop first to gaze at the smooth water of Great Bay to see how the famous Bruny Island oysters are farmed. A clutch of gnarly shells are brought out from the waters, shucked and eaten, au natural with great gusto. No that’s how you finish a bushwalk!

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The camp. Nestled in a clearing mid an old growth forest is our accommodation for the next two nights. The roomy tents (with big beds) are camouflaged in the bush and are a decent distance from each other. (It’s funny, throughout the normally silent night as the toilet is up the hill, away from the tents, all you hear is the sound of tent zippers opening and closing.)

Down the hill is the outdoor shower. Standing under pounding hot water and staring out at sentinel stands of eucalypts is a pretty special experience.

Then the big surprise unfolds. The hut where we eat our meals (like a bunkhouse) sits alone and as I wander down for pre-dinner drinks a fine film of smoke wafts into the air. Ah, dinner is cooking!

We sit in the fading afternoon light chatting while Dave and Robert work like a well-oiled team cooking our dinner. Mmmm, roast lamb, vegetables, hot rolls, and a sweetheart of a dessert.

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Into bed afterwards and asleep before I hit the pillow.

The chefs are at it again for breakfast – bacon and eggs? Don’t mind if I do.

The rest of the gang went on another bushwalk today to East Cloudy Head to stretch the legs and for a view of the wild Southern Ocean. I opted for sightseeing.

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The landscape is gentle and dotted with little farms, old and new. Decrepit houses and shacks make for good photography and by chance we saw the famed white wallaby make a brief appearance in the bush as we drove past.

The highlight of the day was to visit and climb the stunning Cape Bruny Lighthouse. First lit in 1838 the lighthouse is a stunning example of the best lighthouse architecture of its time. And it’s Australia’s longest continually staffed lighthouse.

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We stopped later at The Neck for a lazy lunch and I returned to camp early and bagsed the first shower.

Another evening of good company, gourmet food (local pork and vegetables), fine Tassie wines and late-night laughs. One of the guests had shouted herself this weekend to celebrate her 60th birthday. She loved it, as we all did.

This ‘glamping’ business suits me.

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Robert Knight and Dave Lane.

We walked and talked and learned so much about the nature of the island, the history and how to have a luxury experience without the four walls of a hotel.

It was a lazy start the last day, for me. The others took off for another walk but I wanted to hug a few trees before departing.

And continuing being ‘gourmet-spoilt; we had a long lunch at The Jetty Café to keep the high standard up.

I felt a little sad leaving Bruny Island as I was just beginning to understand this wild and beautiful part of Australia.

Well done Robert Knight (director of the company) and super cook and guide Dave Lane for a truly memorable long weekend. Amazing how little time it took me from ‘no camping’ to ‘I love glamping’.

Writer, Bev Malzard looked back on her pictures from many years ago (below) from her bushwalking days/daze. There are tiny tents she squeezed her sleeping bag into, billy cans with porridge and dried fruit cooking up for breakfast, heavy walking boots kicked off after a long day’s walk, and shots of her pouring red wine into her mouth from a wine skin. Ah, those intrepid times . . .

Bev Malzard enjoyed the hospitality of The Bruny Island Long Weekend (and heartily recommends it). For more information on the itineraries, departure times and now, the winter package, visit www.brunyislandlongweekend.com.au