A luxe new accommodation option offers down-to-earth thrills for a weekend getaway in Bathurst.
From the bed I can see the blonde grass shimmer as a breeze disturbs the pastures at Wilga Station. At breakfast, I move the cushions from the window seat to reveal a wooden benchcum-table where my eggs and toast go cold while I watch birds swooping outside. Leaning against the glass with a book abandoned in my lap, I gaze past the wildflower meadow towards a stand of trees on the horizon, as the last rays of sun tint the landscape peach, bronze and gold.
For most of my two days at this working sheep station’s Scandi-inspired Farmers Hut, I’m preoccupied by the scenes unfolding beyond the property’s striking centrepiece: a vast bay window.
Just over 10 minutes’ drive from Bathurst (less than three hours west of Sydney), in Evans Plains, this off-grid, self-catered stay for two was created by the third generation of the Keith family – Hamish and his wife, Mez. The Shearers Hall, opening this winter, will sleep 10.
The setting is bucolic but don’t expect any chintzy farmhouse flourishes – floors are polished concrete; the contemporary kitchen and bathroom are all white tile, warm wood and black fixtures; and the roof is pitched toward the best vista and turfed on top so the structure blends into its surroundings.
Late in the afternoon, I follow a path that meanders through gullies and over hills, past a curious kangaroo and a few indifferent sheep, to Evans Plains Creek. Great slabs of granite form small swimming holes and deep pools where turtles hide and it’s believed to be a site of significance to the land’s traditional custodians.
The only other time I’m drawn away from the panoramic window is after dark, when the view can’t distract me from cooking Wilga Station’s own sublime lamb chops on the barbecue, with zucchini fritters and blue cheese sauce from the dinner hamper that’s available on request. I decide against lighting the firepit and instead climb back into the king-sized bed built from timber salvaged on the property. A few pages of my book and an early night mean I can wake at first light to watch the farm come to life.
Beyond the farm
- Stop by the Tremain's Mill Precinct, in the ground of a former flour mill on Keppel Street, for a coffee at Doppio
- Pick up a lemon tart at Legall Patisserie Café (56 Keppel Street; 02 6331 5800).
- Have a schooner in the front bar The Victoria, or sit under the festoon lights in the beer garden before dinner at Vine & Tap. The Italian-born chef makes pasta by hand, as well as arancini you'll never forget.
- Make an appointment at Rock Forest Vineyard cellar door, 20 minutes west of Bathurst, to try the cool climate chardonnay,
- Book a 4WD tour with Ian Redpath from Detour Adventures. He'll show you around his adopted hometown, from Mount Panorama racing circut to the Kanangra-Boyd National Park – or tailor a unique experience.
Image credit: Alamy