A film & travel writer & editor, currently travelling New Zealand ~
Published September 24th 2012
Want to live for eternity? Here's a taste
Two and a half hours from Brisbane, a stumble from Byron Bay, and a couple of clicks from Bangalow - where the straight highway roads give way, the tiny town of The Channon lays hidden. Only accessible by a short series of lolling country roads that turn into tunnels of overhanging greenery, guiding you past Protestor Falls and small 1920's towns that only the locals still know about, a weekend escape awaits guaranteed to relax the tightest of spirits.
The destination - Eternity Springs Art Farm, The Channon.
Part of a patch work quilt of small interlacing Northern NSW towns and 5 minutes from The Channon, Eternity Springs has been a work in progress for owner Amanda, and her companions (Ziggy & Sprout – the two other owners/dogs) for almost 15 years, which was incidentally the only time we saw them until we went looking for them to ask directions to the waterfall (Sprout ended up guiding us there).
Eternity is sprawled over 20 acres and modestly boasts a yoga retreat, the waterfall (not running in the dry season) an outdoor shower and spa bath fed from rainwater, a bath tub heated by a wood fire underneath and roofed only by the stars.
With rooms totally hidden from both view and other guests, Eternity not only greets couples seeking out solitude but also families wanting to take their children to an eco friendly farm, without losing out on creature comforts.
Singles can be found hiding in some of the quirky rooms - whilst we were there, a gentleman was extending his stay, to recover from cancer treatment - such is the relaxing qualities of Eternity Springs.
But the real bonus of this hideaway in the hills, is the spaces it lends to groups. After our stay, Eternity was booked out for a wedding, then a wake, followed by an 80th birthday party. There are several large spaces you can use here, the most impressive is aptly named, Heaven. Heaven sits above the farm, up a staircase of bamboo with views over the surrounding hills and property. A must for any group looking to camp out or strike up a marquee, Heaven comes with it's own massive deck - perfect for a wedding waltz or yoga with the rising sun.
We stayed in the Lotus Cabin, a fully self-contained pole home camouflaged by ferns and bush scrub. The well-equipped kitchen was promptly ignored and a five-minute drive away on a Friday night to the local pub, gave some well-heeled rockabilly music and a brilliant dinner menu for basically the only place to eat. Locals are friendly and the pub can organise to pick you up from your accommodation and drop you home for free if you fancy a tipple or two.
As the property is totally surrounded by trees, the comfortable beds welcomed the morning bird song and Saturday morning back at Eternity brings a breakfast table that only a country inn can truly offer delivered stealthily to the door: freshly baked multigrain bread with soft cubed butter, home made cumquat and mulberries jams, mandarins picked straight from the tree and organic free-range eggs. Eat and then take a morning nap on the back verandah in the hammock or wander around the property, there are plenty of hidey holes to sit and read or reflect.
The Channon is part of an area where you can just take off in your car and stroll around the country roads, making sure to fill up on the highway before heading into the area, all the roads generally lead to all the same towns in the end so no need to panic if you do become lost. Macadamia and coffee plantations share the hillsides with dairy farms and artist residences.
Buy some supplies from the nearby hippie town of Nimbin and make your way back to Eternity – you can watch a movie or listen to some jazz while you laze around the cabin. We opted to take a bottle of wine and some Nimbin cheeses into the forest for a picnic in the bush, returning before dark to relax in the deep bath, lit by candles set into the floorboards of the back verandah. The steam from the hot water rising up to meet the stars as the world was washed away.
Eternity Springs is best booked so you can wake up Sunday morning and head straight to what The Channon is best known for, The Channon Craft Market, 9am-3pm, the second Sunday of every month. With a mantra of "Make It, Bake It, Grow It" this long running market from the 70's is a must do, even worth a day trip down for it. If the markets aren't your thing, head to Nightcap National Park where waterfalls, creeks and ancients rainforests can be explored.