Rural retreat accommodation
Where privacy rules
Words: Anna Hartley
As any visitor to the area knows, the Margaret River Region is a special place – the perfect spot in fact to indulge in a little ‘me’ time in retreat accommodation. Get away from it all with these rural retreats where privacy rules.
Seclusion & Luxury
Escaping the rat race never looked so appealing. Forest Rise Eco Retreat is luxury eco-accredited accommodation with the motto of ‘rest, revival and reconnection’ – and you’ll be glad to know, it’s exactly what it says on the tin. Isn’t that satisfying?
The team at Forest Rise Eco Retreat have won a ton of awards in their category, and it’s not hard to see why. Guests can reserve either self contained chalets or an entire homestead on this 97-hectare lakeside forest property. King beds, spas, and wood fires come as standard, as well as spa bathrooms with skylights so guests can enjoy the night sky in the privacy of the chalet. Those staying on the property can also unwind with a range of spa and massage treatments provided by local Hara Mobile Massage.
Forest Rise are well connected to the Margaret River Region’s food and wine community, and the ‘Key Rewards’ card is designed to help visitors discover some of the region’s best offerings. Packages such as the ‘Romance Package’ see them partnering up with Knee Deep Winery and Brookwood Estate, and guests that choose to stay put can take advantage of the personal chef service, gourmet hampers made to order from acclaimed Margaret River catering service The Larder.
With all that the Margaret River region has to selfoffer just minutes away, Forest Rise is the perfect choice for those looking for a high-end, relaxing retreat close to all that the region has to offer.
Being eco-friendly isn’t just an empty catchphrase at Yelverton Brook Eco Spa Retreat & Conservation Sanctuary. As the name suggests, it is located within a 40-hectare conservation sanctuary, and the chalets are literally surrounded by native wildlife, including kangaroos, ringtailed possums, and the critically endangered woylie.
Indeed, for more than 10 years owners Joy and Simon have been running a woylie breeding program with the assistance of DPaW and Perth Zoo, helping to add to the local population of this adorable yet threatened creature and guests are invited to make donations to improve the property’s redator-proof fence.
When it comes to human care, products are bought locally and organically whenever possible, and visitors are encouraged to be mindful about their energy consumption. While this might sound a little like an eco-warrior boot camp, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Old-fashioned country hospitality and charming private cottages make a stay at Yelverton Brook a stress-free break. Each chalet has its own outdoor hydrotherapy massage spa, best enjoyed under the stars (which you can actually see, being well away from the light pollution of the big smoke), and guests can enjoy beauty and massage treatments in the privacy of their own cottages.
Guests are actively encouraged to feed and pet the local animals that invariably come snuffling around, or go for walks and picnics in the many trails and quiet spots the untouched bushland provides. The peaceful, natural atmosphere explains why Yelverton Brook is popular with honeymooners, but for those who aren’t quite at that stage yet, the team even offer to arrange an elopement aboard yachts sailing on Geographe Bay.
If a wedding could be as stress-free and friendly as a stay at one of their chalets, we can understand why guests might be tempted to jump aboard and say ‘I do’.
There’s a mantra you’ll see when you arrive at Inn The Tuarts which sums up the type of place this delightful B&B is – ‘arrive a stranger, leave
as friends’. Just outside Busselton, this is the kind of welcoming yet private country inn that we all hope we’ll stumble upon during a road-trip or long holiday.
Located within the beautiful Ludlow Tuart Forest, this four-star accommodation – ‘more a mini resort than a B&B’ – is perfectly suited for a quiet couples’ getaway, or a larger gathering of adult friends and family.
An outdoor pavillion, indoor pool, pool table, heated jacuzzi and BBQ hotplates are all available for guests to make themselves feel at home, and a long menu of massage and beauty treatments are also on offer to help ease away the stresses of the day.
Run by Peter and Suzanne Keynes, their family has a long-standing connection to the area, particularly in relation to the woodland of the area. Peter’s grandfather – Dick Perry – was a pioneering forester, and received the Order of Australia for his work in this area.
Inn The Tuarts is a child-free venue (unless you book the whole lodge), with those 12 and older welcome, so guests can ensure they aren’t going to be woken up at 6am by somebody’s little darling careening down the hallway.
No two rooms or studios are exactly alike. Each one is uniquely decorated, with wooden bed frames and timber floors, and named after local historical figures or places. A gourmet two-course breakfast is served in the common dining room, prepared by the in-house chef, as are the ready-to-go meals that can be pre-ordered and enjoyed in the rooms, perfect for guests arriving late or simply not in the mood to go out for dinner.
The perfect excuse to stay inn, you might say.
Privacy is the key at Harmony Forest Villas. The property offers eight self-contained cabins dotted about between the thick karri forest, placed in such a way as to ensure seclusion for every visitor. With large windows, a fully-equipped kitchen and dining area, the two-bedroom cottages are the perfect place to kick back and switch off from the pressures of the urban grind.
Each of the property’s cabins are hidden within a grove of karri trees, obscuring the rest of the world from sight. The cabins are designed to take advantage of this ultra privacy, with every single bedroom looking directly into the forest. It’s possible to check in and enjoy an entirely self-contained break for the duration of your stay with a barbecue and iPod-compatible entertainment system encouraging you to stay put and enjoy the brilliant bush setting.
Your only visitors will be of the furry or feathered kind; kangaroos and possums as well as local wild birds are your neighbours. Wine buffs will also enjoy the fact that Harmony Forest Villas has its own vineyard, producing a highly regarded quality sauvignon blanc bottled by Devil’s Lair Wines under the label Dancing With The Devil available at the property. The vineyard itself was one of the first in the region to introduce grazing sheep as a way of keeping weeds down and naturally fertilising the root system, and guests will frequently spot Shaun and his friends wandering about among the vines.
So if relaxation and calm is top of your list, Harmony Forest Villas is singing from the same song sheet.
River Deep, Ocean Wide
If you find yourself in Augusta, just 50kms from Margaret River, head to Seine Bay Apartments. You’ll find a seriously stunning getaway, with the apartments providing the perfect base to explore this unspoilt part of the South West.
Luxurious, modern, eco-friendly and spacious two and three-bedroom apartments have the added bonus of magnificent bay and ocean views. Be mesmerised by the daily natural lightshow as the ocean’s timeless rhythm provides the backdrop for a sundowner or two on the balcony.
Take the opportunity to explore Augusta’s Blackwood River, with its vast pristine beaches and towering karri forests close by. Take a river cruise on the Miss Flinders or book a night or two on a houseboat – it’ll give you the chance to enjoy a completely different perspective, spotting flora and fauna from the river itself.
Augusta is known as the jewel of the South West – and for good reason. It boasts rugged coastlines, rocky headlands, astonishing white beaches that feel as if nobody has ever stepped foot on them and the wilderness of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
Why not try bushwalking, wind or kite surfing or kayaking – the friendly staff at the Augusta Tourism Centre in the main town street can provide you with plenty of ideas to maximise your holiday stay. If the heat gets too much, head to the stunning Boranup Forest where ancient limestone caves provide cooling relief on even the hottest of summer days.
Augusta itself is the perfect example of a charming country town, situated at the mouth of Blackwood River. You’ll feel like time slows down, stress disappears and you’ll wonder whether in fact you’ll ever want to leave. That’s the Augusta effect – just give in to it and relax.