“Oakvale”, Mittagong

It’s school holidays in NSW and it’s always a bonus if you’re able to go away for a few days to just relax and have some family time.  With the bills for Archie’s 21st coming in thick and fast, we knew an exotic or far-flung holiday wasn’t on our agenda – I wasn’t sure we could even afford to pitch a tent in the backyard!

The setting near the homestead

The setting near the homestead

But life has many blessings and good friends asked us if we would like to unwind on their farm which is situated less than an hour and a half from Sydney.  We have stayed there on other occasions and I have brought you news of it before.  It’s in Mittagong in the Southern Highlands of NSW; a part of the State that I love very much for its scenery, space and serenity.

A gorgeous country property

A gorgeous country property

As I pulled the suitcases out of the cupboard, the girls became very nervous.  This usually means they’re going to be banished to the horrors of Balmoral slopes (one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs), where my parents lovingly look after them, while we dance off without them.  But when they saw me packing their basket and their food and their liver treats and their leashes, they were on high-alert.  I think the pre-departure excitement exhausted them before we even set off in the car.

The homestead

The homestead

Ruby is chewing on a pig's ear but Rosie looks a little anxious

Ruby is chewing on a pig’s ear but Rosie looks a little anxious

Alfie loves the farm.  He loves being outdoors and getting dirty and doing things he can’t do in the city like building fires and riding quad bikes and even having a driving lesson in my car, lurching it backwards and forwards across the paddocks.

Alfie finds a mushroom

Alfie finds a mushroom the size of his head

Alfie's 'catch of the day'.  We didn't eat it.

Alfie’s ‘catch of the day’. We didn’t eat it.

The best thing about the farm is that we don’t have to do much.  There’s no racing around, no hurrying and no schedules so our usual lifestyle comes down a few notches.  There are some restaurants in the town but we prefer to stay at the homestead and put some steak on the bar-be-cue and serve it with some corn on the cob or baked potatoes with a salad tossed in balsamic vinegar.  Very simple and easy.  And while it’s cooking we’ll enjoy a pre-dinner drink with some olives or pate or hummus.  It’s all very laid back and super-relaxed.

A pretty sunset

A pretty sunset

We take things down a few notches where we cook what we have on hand and make do with what we have and don’t worry about what’s missing and that’s a lovely way to live.  Those simple pleasures are surprisingly therapeutic.

The neighbours

The neighbours

I didn’t know what to pack as it was all done in a screaming hurry and I did forget my hairdryer and my skincare but I did manage to pack a lot of winter woolies.  But Mittagong was experiencing its last throws of summer and we had the most amazing weather with lots of clear blue skies and plenty of sunshine and temperatures of around 26C (80F).  After washing our hair, Arabella and I sat outside and leisurely allowed the sun to dry it (if I’d known this photo was being taken I would have styled myself a little better).

Drying our hair and browsing the internet

Drying our hair and browsing the internet

We had four lovely days at the farm and we’ve come home feeling very much refreshed.  There’s really nothing better than a country sojourn.

Alfie on the quad bike

Alfie on the quad bike

“Oakvale” is currently for sale.  You can find out all about it on realestate.com.

Every morning we'd wake up to this view

Every morning we’d wake up to this view

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  1. What a refreshing holiday. It sounds as if you had a well-deserved rest after that supreme effort for the 21st party.

  2. Looks idyllic and a great way to unwind.
    I remember a picnic in the Southern Highlands decades ago that involved a tasty batch of honey soy chicken wings. So loved they were by Carl, there was a request to bring over the solitary remaining wing to your home that evening!
    Donna xo

    • Too funny! Because as we were driving through Mittagong on the way to Bowral, I did think back to that very same day when we knocked on the door of the Petersons only to be severely rebuked. I too remember the honey soy chicken wings – they were the best! And it was so cold we were seated on a picnic bench with rugs huddled around us. I think we laughed so we wouldn’t cry! xx

  3. What a beautiful place! I especially loved the photo – drying hair and browsing the internet! 🙂

    Thank you for visiting Kim’s post on my blog today!

  4. That does sound like the perfect retreat, how very fortunate for you to have such generous friends. It’s still too chilly to sit outside but a brusque walk is fine as long as you’re moving to keep warm. I adore simple meals and not worrying if you forgot anything, although it is also nice to know you’re just sixty minutes from home, in case there is that something you can’t live without!

  5. Ahh the beauty of a country getaway! I love how relaxing it is 😀 You all look like you’re having a great time!

  6. A great way to relax and just chill with the family. I bet Alfie was having a blast riding the 3 wheelers. I would want to take a power nap for certain. Cooking with out taking photos is a breeze isn’t it? Enjoy your get away.

  7. A country vacation is one of our favorites. It’s simple, serene and beautiful. Glad you got a chance to getaway. We have one of those planned end if summer as well. 🙂

  8. That looks so relaxing and peaceful.

  9. You share and show all the reasons why I loved growing up on a dairy and crop farm in rural Minnesota.

    So glad you had this country get-away.

  10. I think you look lovely, Charlie! What a great place to go to unwind! What a great getaway! 🙂 xo

  11. Oops, I’m in the car, on my ipad, and not sure what happened to my comment :/ Looks like a lovely getaway! xo

  12. What a lovely country homestead. After the party I am sure you were more than ready to put up your feet and chill out. Glad you had the opportunity.

  13. In the hustle and bustle of day to day living, it’s so lovely to be reminded it’s ok to slow down, keep it simple, and enjoy the beauty of the countryside. Looks fabulous !

  14. What a beautiful place! I’d love to visit there with my Peter!

  15. What a treat … escaping for a few days with nothing to do but relax … bliss!

  16. [huge smile] Well, you can’t really blame me for having enjoyed this for twenty years 🙂 ? You know, Charlie, for some reason with this super clean air I keep on forgetting I have such things as ‘skin care’ and I believe I have a hair dryer somewhere there at the back of the bathroom cupboard 🙂 ! . . . . . My hair has never looked as good !!!!!

  17. What a wonderful place. 🙂 Since I live in the country I sure understand the allure of dirt and bikes and campfires and all those good things you just can’t avail yourself of easily in the city. So glad you were refreshed. 🙂

  18. What a lovely break – and great friends to have to provide it. It sounds like the 4 days would have done wonders at reducing many more days and weeks of tension!

  19. What a lovely break Charlie.
    Have a happy week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  20. You deserve a good rest after the 21st, so glad to see you all unwinding! Hope your friends get a great price for their property!

  21. Looks great, love the way the cattle can walk up to you having a cuppa

  22. Isn’t it always amazing how a couple of days away from your routine can totally relax you. Loving those blue skies.


  24. Looks lovely and how nice that Arabella could join you. So nice to break the routine in the school holidays for a bit.

  25. Four days in the country sounds like the perfect way to decompress after sailing on the Titanic, Charlie. How nice that the weather held for your all and Alfie looks like he was having a good time, too. It certainly was kind of your friends to invite you and it makes me realize that I need to make some new friends. 🙂

  26. I’m more relaxed just enjoying the photos, Charlie. What a gorgeous, peace-filled landscape and I think this kind of “going with the flow” is my favorite relaxation. I would love even a day at such a place!

  27. What an amazing place to unwind and relax Charlie! A shame it’s up for sale, but if the potential buyer is reading your posts, I bet they’ll pay more 🙂 xox

  28. I love the pic of you drying your hair in the sun, this is the ultimate in relaxation I reckon. Looks a beaut place to stop and unwind. 🙂

  29. Oh, I bet you had so much fun! We took a little trip like that last year to Normandy. It was just after I’d quit work and it was very strange… going off on vacation without a care in the world.

    Looks like you had a great time – it’s important to do family things like that every so often – no distractions and getting a chance to reconnect!


  1. […] Apart from the carnage in the kitchen that Arabella thought would magically take care of itself, we had a wonderful and relaxing and leisurely start to our holiday at Oakvale. […]

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