This retreat near Orange is a celebration of country living and glorious views.
City slickers Sue and Graham Rollin left Sydney behind in 1979 to follow their dream to farm and unexpectedly ended up growing cherries in Orange, calling their business Cherries from Heaven. They now have 12,000 cherry trees that thrive in the basalt soil. Son Simon and family always wanted to share the property's amazing views and the serenity - the result: the slick new Basalt.
Perched high above the 30-hectare cherry orchard, 1100 metres above sea level on the slopes of Mount Canobolas, the three self-contained studios, set 80 metres apart, showcase grand views over Orange, Mount Bulga and beyond. Whether it's a cerise sunrise or the bright city lights, it's impressive. Hemmed by an olive grove and cherry orchards, Basalt is 11 kilometres from the city centre - entry is via a one-off phone call that sees the front gates open on cue, followed by a short winding drive where Lapin and Sweetheart cherry trees stand sentinel.
It's all about casual chic here with a luxe feel and clean lines created by Mudgee architect Cameron Anderson, whose brief was to "celebrate" the views no matter where you may be in the studio. Clever use of space stars in the compact design in the one large room with spotted gum interiors, polished concrete floor, bedside wool carpet and concealed cupboards. Interior designer Lisa Johnson provides a relaxed slick look including terracotta-coloured linen bedcover and navy cushions.
Step through the heavy wooden sliding doors and it's a toss up whether to flop on the king-sized bed or settle in a chair peering through the telescope, but the stone bath beckons. A well-equipped compact kitchenette has a convention/microwave oven, hot plates, dishwasher and a wood fire. The ensuite with Salus products is tucked at the rear. There's a television, but it's the live nature show with birds and kangaroos that plays out in front of us that is mesmerising. A herb garden provides garnish for drinks on the timber deck and stairs lead to a fire pit. A yoga mat caters for those who want to salute the spectacular sunrise and there's an instruction session on the iPad that's a handy directory. Our home is Yonder studio, a nod to Simon's past - when questioned by his parents where he was off to on the farm he would always reply "yonder". Drifter and Chaser studios have similar layouts.
Breakfast goodies are supplied for the first breakfast including crusty sour dough by Racine Bakery, jams, eggs, muesli and coffee. Meals can be ordered from Racine or star chef Richard Learmonth, who provides an innovative menu and private fine dining. Orange has more than 30 cellar doors and lots of eateries - we head to Printhie Wines for a five-course degustation lunch by head chef, Jack Brown, who is inspired by native flavours. The restaurant and cellar door overlooks manicured vines, heritage orchards and undulating hills,1000 metres above sea level - hence the catchcry "wine with altitude".
There are walking trails around the property. The nearby Mount Canobolas Summit sports a nearly $3 million redevelopment with a new lookout and cultural interpretations. Five wineries line Pinnacle Road and Basalt can book scenic helicopter rides, winery experiences, watercolour art classes, fly fishing and Indigenous cultural experiences.
Sinking into warm bubbly waters in the stone bath and spying on curious kangaroos as they spy on me.
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Where: Basalt, 1100 Pinnacle Road, Canobolas, NSW
How much: From $550 a night
Explore more: basaltorange.com.au
The writer was a guest of Basalt.