The cottages are on 2 hectares which were once part of a dairy farm. Sandstone blocks from the dairy floor now grace the garden and form the fire circle near the barn. Wel have sweeping uncluttered vistas of a spur of Mt Coolangatta and the Illawarra escarpment.
In front of our cottages are gardens planted with a variety of lavendahs, roses and Australian natives. Further afield is our orchard with plum, apple, pear, lemon, grapefruit, lime, mandarin, fig, cherry, nashi and feijoa trees. If you need some greens for your meals while you are staying at Back Forest Retreat, you are also welcome to help yourselves from our vegetable and herb gardens.
The property is a sanctuary for its animal and human inhabitants. We regularly see herons, swallows, kites, hawks, eagles, galahs, cockatoos, pelicans, cormarants, finches, wagtails, magpies, peewees, parakeets, noisy minahs, as well as echidnas and blue tongue lizards. A rarer sight is a family of quail. We also have our goat, chooks and sheep to look after. So please leave your animals at home.
Stop and listen and you will hear the sound of far-away birds and animals. Although the country seems remote, sound travels great distances across the plain, so please be considerate and do not make loud noise after 10 p.m.
In between the cabins is a large games room where your children and you can play foozball or table-tennis, have a barbecue or just relax with a book. There is also a pool table - sorry kids, adults only.
Across the road from the end of our driveway is a delightfully quiet place to dangle a line into Broughton Creek, or walk a few hundred metres to its confluence with the Shoalhaven River. Just down the road is a boat ramp. We can usually supply you with tiger worms straight from our compost.
Put your canoe into Broughton Creek, paddle out into the middle of the Shoalhaven River and over to Numbaa Island. Canoe around it and be astounded by the variety and number of waterbirds. Or take part in the annual Bridge to Bridge regatta from the bridge on Coolangatta Road near Berry.
Walk along the creek, over the hill, up Coolangatta mountain, and far far away. Or just around the property looking for the endangered, green and golden bell frog. Bring your binoculars to look for Black Shouldered Kites, Wedge Tailed or Sea eagles and pelicans. One of our favourite walks is to Drawing Room Rocks, near Berry, but only a 15 minutes walk from here is Two Figs Winery - the view of the Shoalhaven River flowing from the mountains to the sea is spectacular! Here are descriptions of other walks in the Shoalhaven.
We live on one of the most popular cycling roads on the south coast, well-used by the Nowra and Kiama Bicycle User's Groups. Meander along Back Forest Road, Coolangatta Road and into Berry (check our bicycle page for distances). Or, if you like an adrenalin rush, get dropped off at Mount Cambewarra lookout, ride along the scenic escarpment and prepare yourself for a rapid descent into Berry.
Walked to Two Figs Winery and developed a taste for the local varieties? Five minutes down the road is the original Coolangatta village, first settled almost two hundred years ago. Now a multi-award winning winery, they (and Mountain Ridge winery a bit further along) have a free Jazz afternoon each month. Other vineyards close by include the Cambewarra and Crooked River wineries - very few visitors leave unsatisfied and without at least one bottle under each arm.
Nine kilometres away (that's about an eight minute drive in the country) and you're at Shoalhaven Heads beach surfing with the locals. If you don't like strong currents, go a few more kilometres through Seven Mile Beach National Park to the shelter of Gerroa Beach and estuary. Or a little further to the booming surf of Werri Beach, where you can have the best fish and chips on the south coast. Alternatively, the Gerroa Fisherman's Club is a family restaurant with magnificent views of Seven Mile Beach. If heated pools are more your thing, there's one 8 kilometres away in Bomaderry.
After a pleasant drive along Back Forest and Coolangatta Roads you arrive in Berry
This quaint town has more than its fair share of old buildings, great restaurants, antiques and cafes. Come on the first weekend of each month and experience the Berry Country Fair, famous for its crafts and produce. Or if you want so see a real country market, cross the river to Terara on a market day. .
If golf is your passion there are numerous courses nearby. Five kms to Coolangatta, 11 kms to Shoalhaven Heads or Nowra, 20 kms to Gerringong golf courses - all open to the public
One of the many delightful local drives is a circuit past Cambewarra Lookout, through Kangaroo Valley to the historic Hampden Bridge, over the mountains again to Berry, along Beach Road to Seven-Mile Beach, past Coolangatta winery and then back home again. The drive can be done in an hour, but why not take a picnic lunch and make a day of it?
Only 40 minutes away is Huskisson where you can take Dolphin cruises any time of year. And a few kilometres from there is Hyams Beach, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records for the world's whitest sands. In between are a number of beautiful calm beaches.
Seven Mile Beach, Jervis Bay and Morton National Parks are all within half an hour's drive, so whether you like to explore nature near the surf, still water or the mountains, you will not be disappointed.
Now open every Sunday, Bundanon was Arthur Boyd's home. His studio is set up the way he left it and it doesn't take much imagination to visualise him there, painting the beautiful vistas of his beloved Shoalhaven. Book first at the Information Centre in Nowra,
Seven Mile Beach