As you lounge on the deck with a G&T in hand, gazing out at the picturesque valley with rolling green hills as far as the eye can see, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the serenity of Ooralba Estate for that of a private lodge in New Zealand.
Nestled in the heart of Australia’s famed Kangaroo Valley, you can escape to a world of utter privacy at the luxury oasis. And from the moment you drop your bags, you don’t have to lift a finger.
Sprawling across two wings, the luxurious seven-bedroom property is a dreamy split-level homestead perfect for those wanting to swap the bustling city in favour of an exclusive-use estate.
Winding up the steep tree-lined driveway with cows grazing paddocks on either side, you catch glimpses of the wondrous southern hinterland, but nothing quite prepares you for the magic that awaits when you step out into the minimalistic yet contemporary homestead.
With Kahuna Duo playing live music in the background, The CEO Magazine was one of the exclusive guests invited to experience Ooralba Estate firsthand during an intimate lunch hosted by Managing Director Monique Davies.
Complete with a cocktail bar, baby grand piano, an extravagant chef’s kitchen (that your personal chef will use to create mouth-watering feasts), a library and a number of suites, you can indulge in everything the striking estate has to offer.
The best part? It’s all for you.
From the moment you walk through the award-winning garden designed by Hugh Main from Spirit Level, and into the luxury retreat, your gaze is drawn across the incredibly spacious living area by the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, inviting you to take in the breathtaking scenery of what is believed to be one of only seven enclosed valleys in the world.
The charming interiors were curated by renowned architect and designer Nic Graham, who wanted to bring inside accents of the Australian landscape. Sweeping cathedral ceilings showcasing exposed beams salvaged from an old Sydney wharf soar above while polished concrete-heated floors flow underfoot.
Glass doors beautifully frame the picturesque garden like a painting. A central stone fireplace with a wall stacked with logs, vast lush lawns for a moonlit cinema or simply kicking a ball, and a farm-to-table ethos – all were once among the hallmarks of a classic Australian home. But with ever-growing urbanisation combined with the global health pandemic restricting travel, the charm of purity and acres of fresh country air is an increasingly rare offering, making it a highly sought-after luxury.
Inside the exclusive-use Ooralba Estate
Set on 80 hectares about two hours’ drive south of Sydney, Ooralba seamlessly blends among the natural world while also bringing earthy wonders inside.
Split into the east and west wings, the two areas meet in harmony in the central living-dining area. The fully serviced luxury retreat comes with a butler, chef and housekeeping, leaving you with nothing to do but relax and explore.
Perched facing the southern region, one of the many expansive decks allows for optimal views of the Kangawarra Outlook and Morton National Park, whether you’re relaxing in the Adirondack chair looking out at the dam and Tea House or you’re simply enjoying a long lunch.
In fact, all rooms have outdoor deck access, making for a smooth transition between leisure activities (a swim in the dam, sunrise yoga, hiking, wandering through the nearby historic village of Kangaroo Valley) and the comforts of a home.
Three double bedrooms, each with private ensuites, flow throughout the west wing, making it perfect for big groups who still desire their own space between socialising. The east wing is complete with an office, which doubles as a green room for events, and two twin rooms connected by a bathroom. There is an additional single bedroom with an ensuite, ideal for an accompanying nanny or security staff.
Well suited to families, the east wing also offers an opulent master suite unlike any other. A sauna? Check. Twin cast-iron claw-foot tubs? Check. A super king bed (which is wider than it is long)? A walk-in dressing room and private spa? A day bed nestled beside a floor-to-ceiling window with easterly views of rolling green countryside? Check, check, check. Every detail has been thought of.
When you’re cosied up in bed with the roar of a crackling fire as you watch streams of white fog hang in the valley, it’s easy to see why the owners wanted to bring the warm country vision to life – and much of it revolves around food.
While guests won’t have to use the state-of-the-art chef’s kitchen during their stay, a personal chef will curate tailored seasonal meals using Ooralba Estate’s own produce – eggs from the hens, honey from the bees – as well as ingredients from local suppliers.
Macadamias, avocados, limes, oranges, pomegranates, raspberries, potatoes, zucchini, radishes, kale, strawberries and asparagus are just some of the flavoursome produce foraged from the garden, which is – of course – home to the chickens.
And it’s the manicured kitchen garden reminiscent of a secret Italian paradise that truly shines. Encompassed by a living wall, a terracotta pizza oven is the grand attraction of the edible garden. A rustic 10-seater table sits in the centre and, within arm’s reach, fresh produce can be plucked straight from the plants to add to your pizza.
During an intimate long lunch created by leading Australian chef Brent Savage of Bentley Restaurant + Bar, Monopole and Cirrus, an array of the estate’s finest produce was on show along with Appellation oysters and Redleaf Farm lamb.
Sydney rock oysters with buttermilk and finger lime; sea urchin custard; glazed kangaroo buns; calamari with plankton mayonnaise and sea herbs; dry aged Maremma duck breast with Cipollini onions and wild blackberry sauce; Redleaf Lamb with eggplant, macadamia and society garlic; followed by The Pines yoghurt sorbet with strawberry, white chocolate and pink pepper were just some of the delights tantalising tastebuds.
With full bellies, the sprawling beds and inviting Chesterfield sofas were even more tempting, but a stroll through the garden proved reinvigorating.
The famed gardens were constructed in 2005 when the property was rebuilt. Fast forward 16 years and the sweeping silver birch trees, perfectly round living sculptures that flow into the mountain beyond as if an enchanting scene from Alice in Wonderland and immaculate topiary maze hedges make for a dreamy oasis.
With the capacity to host 14 guests, the gated property is cared for by a team of dedicated gurus including a lawn doctor who spends the week on a ride-on mower ensuring the lawns are flawless. A tennis court, cabana and lap pool, which will look over the dam area, are set to be completed in spring this year.
The luxury retreat doubles as a working farm, prompting the estate to become more self-sufficient. As the homestead is entirely automated – blinds included – Ooralba is striving to function completely off the grid once its new 100-kilowatt solar farm launches. The property also avoids using town water, instead running entirely off gravity-fed bore water, cementing the importance of greater sustainability and responsibility.
The exclusive-use property is ideal for executives wanting to take a break or a group of families coming together to unwind. Being all-inclusive, guests are provided with a welcome cocktail and canapes, all meals, house wine and beer served at lunch and dinner, sunrise yoga, bushwalking, wine and produce tasting, daily housekeeping and concierge services.
Additionally, Ooralba Estate has a Sleeping Under the Stars experience for 50 guests. The spectacular estate is also a mesmerising destination for special events for up to 120 guests.
Whether you host an event or call Ooralba your temporary home – although you’ll struggle to pack your bags – the allure of the homestead is its simplicity, understated opulence and energy you feel when you arrive, quite literally melting away your worries from the outside world.
It truly is a place where time stands still.
Exclusive use of Ooralba Estate is A$12,500 per night for up to 14 people, all inclusive.