“Somewhere in this world, in this lifetime, there is a place of simple things, of sitting beside a fire with…good company, quietly talking, no formidable decisions, no explanations, no threat, no guilt, no anguish. These are the days for walking on country roads.”

Although iconic Australian essayist Barbara Blackman has not visited ‘Somewhere Unique’, she could have written this beautiful piece within the comfort and seclusion of our retreats. Her writing describes the environment we seek to create.

‘Somewhere Unique’ represents both traditional and contemporary versions of the Australian bush. Within acres of native bushland, home to countless species of birds and animals, the retreats are luxurious and modern. Although the accommodations offer every urban convenience, we ensure the natural surrounds remain undisturbed and authentic: dramatic rock formations; ancient tall gums; roaming wallaroos; all with access via a conventional dirt driveway. Bitumen is incongruous in the Australian bush. The agrarian sound of gravel crunching. A natural track.

These are the days for walking on country roads…

Although the driveway is steep, rustic, and beautiful, the raw surface deteriorates over time. It had remained in a reasonable state until a destructive thunderstorm hit in January. The storm washed away much of the top gravel revealing a hard and gnarled surface. And so we arranged the repairs.

Early one morning a couple of weeks ago I strolled down the steep and uneven driveway in the autumn cool. The air was crisp and the only intrusion on my thoughts was the dew dripping from leaves as the sun slowly warmed the trees. A lone wallaroo scampered through the bush, cracking dry leaves and branches underfoot as he hopped away. I wandered on.

These are the days for walking on country roads…

I was drawn towards a deep rumble coming from the bottom of the driveway. On reaching the main gate of the property I saw a water truck spraying its contents, a vehicle with a huge roller in place of a front wheel, and an oversized excavator designed to scrape back the surface of the driveway. The vehicles were like prehistoric beasts preparing an attack under cover of early morning mist. For several hours the machines rumbled their way up and down the driveway, wetting, scraping, flattening, on and on. The vehicles formed an army, levelling everything in their way.

Once complete, the driveway was flat and wide and even again. The gravel surface remains rustic but now it is more practical and useable.

These are the days for walking on country roads…

On 20 acres of bushland, subject to the harsh Australian climate, there is always work to be done and repairs to be made.  It is rewarding to maintain this property to ensure that it retains its pristine beauty while being fully accessible to all who wish to visit. The Australian bush is beautiful. Natural cities of trees. Solitude with birdsong. Nature might require periodic rehabilitation, but it can never be improved.