It occurred to me that we’d been in Sydney without at least a weekend trip away for the longest stretch of time since we’ve move here, and my feet started itching for a change of scenery. That, combined with the impending arrival of Baby #2, who I trust will keep us grounded for at least a little while, and the seemingly endless days of rain we’ve had all month had me declaring to Partner in Crime that we needed to go somewhere. Anywhere.
Luckily, our flexible schedules work in our favor (I already mourn the day when Hushpuppy starts school), so when a pair of sunny days appeared in the 10 day forecast, we went into fast planning mode, and hit the road on a Sunday morning.
Our first stop was 24 hours in Jervis Bay, our enduring and comfortable favorite getaway. I’ve written about it so many times in these pages, I’ll just link you here to my post about Jervis Bay with a toddler for an idea of what we got up to this time, too. We never change things up much!
Around lunchtime, we headed out for our second stop, Kangaroo Valley. We were swapping the beach for the farm. Hushpuppy was beside herself with the prospect of being on a farm, and I was, in turn, pretty excited for my city kid. Along the way, we stopped for groceries and lunch in Nowra, the largest nearby town. We also took a short and very worthwhile detour to Cambewarra Mountain Lookout. When we arrived at the top of the mountain, I wished we hadn’t just eaten because there was a little cafe with the best views, but we still loved sitting in the grass and looking out over the beautiful Kangaroo Valley region.
From the lookout, it was a short drive to Big Bell Farm. Our host was the charming Farmer Bruno, a grandfatherly Swiss gent who always dreamed of owning a farm in Australia (as you do). He gave us the lay of the land, invited us to have a swim in the pool, told Hushpuppy that she could join him in feeding the animals their dinner, and invited her to ring the Swiss bells at the front of the property (hence the name of the farm).
We stayed in one of three cabins, each of which has a different layout. Ours had one bedroom with twin beds, which Bruno offered to push together, without us even asking. He also added a child’s size mattress for Hushpuppy. The kitchen was well equipped with stove, oven, microwave, and kettle – plenty of amenities to make our dinner and breakfast. There were plenty of blankets and towels, we found fans for cooling off, and there was also a gas heater for cooler nights. We did make the mistake of leaving the door open, as we went in and out during the evening, which let a lot of bugs in. Next time, I’d use the screen door the whole time to avoid the dinner guests.
Outside one window we had this view:
And, outside the other window, our neighbors were the miniature goats.
Hushpuppy spent the better part of our visit camped in front of the goats.
Aside from the goats, the farm also has two horses, who were happy for a pat and a carrot.
I think if we’d stayed longer, we would have appreciated a few more animal companions to hang out with – maybe some pigs or chickens or something – but the goats and horses kept us plenty entertained for our short stay. That, and the gorgeous solitude. I was longing for a glass of wine (I settled for a pregnancy friendly cup of decaf tea), as I sat on the front porch with my book, watching the sun set over the mountain, while my kid chatted up the friendly goats. It was just the quiet change of pace my itchy feet had been asking for.
From Big Bell Farm, it’s just a short drive to Kangaroo Valley sites. We spent the afternoon poking around the sweet village of Kangaroo Valley…
…the Tallowa Dam …
…and the Hamden Bridge, which dates back to 1898.
It may have been a quick run out of town, but it was enough to make us feel like we’d really stepped into a different, relaxed environment. We’ll happily return to the farm as a family of four, with a nice, big bottle of wine for watching the sun set and the kids play.