It’s late afternoon, you’ve been meandering through a valley by car and the soft early-autumn sun that has served you consistently during the day is starting to fall gently from the sky. She has work to do on the other side of the world and you happily let her slip away as your accommodation awaits you.
You’re driving along a well-sealed road that’s not the main highway, and turn into a smaller country lane. The Hawthorn bushes, poised either side, provide a warm embrace to welcome you, to what could be the English countryside. They look beautiful as they are but you know later in Spring they will be full blown with white blossoms. A return trip is already entertaining your thoughts.
There are also tall elm trees that reach out and kiss each other above your car, possibly not dissimilar to what you’ve been doing to your travelling companion.
You have to stop momentarily because, as if almost on queue for your quintessential country experience, a herd of cattle are across the road. Not just any cattle. Gorgeous cattle with velvet hides, which if they were cushions on your couch the colours would be described as coffee, stone and chocolate.
Across the field to your right is a beautifully manicured 9-hole golf course where a few golfers are finishing up a game. To your left is what looks like an equally manicured paddock of vibrant green against the blue sky who’s colour is softening into the night.
You turn into a long dusty driveway and head towards what looks like the old granary. There are gardens and tall trees providing protection to a group of weary and cheery walkers. They have returned from the Bay of Fires after a four-day walk and they’re sitting around a big table ‘cheersing’ themselves for a job well done. A fresh memory of breathtaking scenery and a heart full of warmth for new found friends. The sun sparkles in their glasses of wine and someone is bringing out a platter of local cheese and biscuits and home-made quince paste.
Their laughter dances across the property and the valley.
This is an idyllic setting, but you’re not a backpacker tonight, you are Lord and Lady of the Manor.
You head down another long driveway, befitting the Colonial era and the grandeur of your accommodation for the night.
You are greeted by your host and shown to your room. Not before being shown the sitting room, the library and the executive lounge room. All with magnificent period decor and open fireplaces which you are assured will be lit shortly to take the chill off the autumn air and provide a cosy apres-dinner place to sit and think, or maybe just sit.
A house of this age should be falling down, cracking and peeling, surely, but it doesn’t show age it shows history. From the architecture, to the maturity of the trees, to the historical detail throughout, like the bells for each room which chamber maids would have had to attend.
The interior is elegant and appropriate. The lighting is soft and welcoming, as is the whole feel of the place.
You are shown your room which has a king bed (of course, you are royalty for the night!) There is a separate study/lounge, showing that transitioning this property from multi-roomed house to luxury accommodation has been done with care.
It feels like it’s your own little apartment, when in fact it’s in the roof of the main house. There’s an ensuite which is as big as a bedroom which houses a large, deep bath, with room for a King….and Queen!
You are handed the keys to this beautifully and individually thought out room and can’t quite believe that you can buy into this lifestyle for the night. It’s like you’ve just been given the keys to the kingdom.
The sun is still setting as you explore the extensive grounds and the golfers finish their last hole.
The leaves of many trees are lit up as you walk down paths and driveways. The only sound you hear is the distant moo-ing of cows and apples falling from trees.
A pre-dinner drink awaits you downstairs which you enjoy on the balcony over looking the valley. The Josef Chromy chardonnay is fresh and crisp like the evening and you look over in the direction from where this local wine has come from. You consider the conversations that would have been had here. About the workings of the property, cattle and crops and the changing seasons.
Instead you sit in silence, taking in the sprawling vista and a few bunnies bounce past, wagging their little white cotton bud tails. It is Easter after all.
Silence is broken by your host, “Entrees are served”. There is a magnificent dining room but you are tempted by the dark den of the bar area and the raging open fire that has very sensibly got a leather bench seat wrapped around it.
The dining room is too tempting not to enjoy, so mains are served in there. In fact, every room in this property could be enjoyed, for hours, and one night is clearly not enough.
The meal is good, as you’d expect, actually it’s better. Ingredients are local, of course. You have the Triabunna salmon which just falls away from its pistachio topping and proverbially melts in your mouth. Having just done the Great Eastern Drive you’ve driven through, and seen the fresh water from where it’s been fished. Your partner’s quail and saffron gnocchi are generous entrees and, of course, delicious.
When you’re in berry country, dessert is hard to pass up and the night really should be finished with a Tasmanian whiskey in one of the sitting rooms.
As much as you want to sit in every room, there’s that king bed upstairs which will make you miss the sunrise, as much as you want to photograph it. But the sound of silence keeps you asleep and dreaming.
This, however, is not a dream. This is real and it’s in the Meander Valley in Northern Tasmania.
This is Quamby Estate.