A retreat is defined as a place of refuge, seclusion and privacy and that's what you'll find at Friday Creek Retreat, a boutique resort in Upper Orara in the Coffs Harbour hinterland. The retreat contains nine rustic cabins dotted throughout a picturesque setting of over 100 acres, with a state forest at its doorstep.
One of the joys of staying at this retreat is the panoramic view that awaits you from your elevated back porch at sunrise – a lush valley, meandering dairy cows, and a water lily pond with a backdrop of mist-covered hills. More like a slice of Umbria than tropical Northern New South Wales.
Each cottage has been individually designed using different finishes, furniture, colours and decorations which adds to the novelty if you stay more than once. I've stayed in the cottage with a Moroccan inspired interior with its mint coloured walls, multi-coloured bathroom ceramic floor tiles and hand painted basin.
My most recent visit was spent in an Australian cottage containing colonial furniture and distressed kitchen cabinetry. You can also choose between country, modern, French country, cottage, and Santa Fe styles to further create the illusion that you're not in Australia.
Each cottage has its own fireplace, polished timber floors and a spacious bathroom; some with a spa, no doubt to cater for honeymooners. There is a fully equipped kitchen but you won't find tea bags, instant coffee or long-life milk here; only the real stuff which is supplied upon your arrival.
A small pebble lined pool on two levels overlooks the tranquil valley. Nearby you'll find an enclosed barbecue area with wood-fired oven and kitchenette. The pool area can be hired for private functions and is popular for weddings. The property also contains a vineyard that produces a range of Chambourcin wine that is available to sample or purchase.
Due to the rural location of the retreat, shops are non-existent here but a breakfast basket can be ordered if you don't bring your own food. I rarely saw any guests during both my stays even though the property was fully occupied. Therefore you can enjoy many free activities like tennis, cycling, kiss and release fishing, bocce, petanque or the library in peace for most of the time. But city dwellers craving the cafe and beach culture (or indeed some noise) can be easily satisfied with booming Coffs Harbour only a short drive away.