“Delightful eco-friendly self-catering lodges (sleeping 2-11) on the edge of the attractive town of Leura in the Blue Mountains”
Each lodge is decorated differently with quirky, reclaimed furniture, fab original artwork and wooden floors. Couples should go for The Studio or Buttercup Barn, which has a courtyard filled with poppies and lots of greenery, a lovely loft bedroom and lots of light. The small but perfectly-formed kitchen in The Studio also offers lots of light - the microwave is cleverly disguised behind the reclaimed door of a traditional oven, and the sink is a giant stainless steel casserole pot.
The Milking Shed, set in the original hayloft and sleeping up to 4, would be great for friends; families of 4+ will find more space at Moo Manor. The Worker’s Cottage sleeps 6, with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, while the huge Straw Bale House has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a large kitchen and dining area. People fight over the ‘hidey hole’ room here, which you have stoop to get into.
All the lodges have simple white Ikea crockery, cutlery and glasses, DVD players, TVs, iPod docks and gas heaters. Most also have wood burners. Bathrooms are contemporary and well thought out - homemade organic toiletries and large towels are provided. Eco-friendly temperature control has been carefully thought through, so each lodge is positioned to catch the most light and decked out with ceramic floors that heat easily in the winter but remain cool during summer.
Breakfast can be provided in the morning (additional charge), and consists of Whisk & Pin homemade mueslis, breads, juices, milk, butter, jams and yoghurt. Otherwise, you're self catering. You can order all your food in advance and the owners will stock your fridge, or you can shop when you arrive - there are plenty of options nearby. If you're celebrating a special occasion, why not be cooked for? There are 3-course dining menus devised by a local chef which can be ordered for a minimum of 8 people. Dishes include steak served with wild mushrooms, crispy duck salad with light soy dressing and rack of lamb with melted herb butter, followed by crème brûlée or lemon tart.
When we stayed Buttercup Barn was the only room without its own cooking facilities, though this was set to change following planning permission from the council. All of the other lodges are well set up for self-catering with basic ingredients and equipment provided and grills outside each lodge so you can get into the Aussie spirit and barbecue.
Leura has lots of food shops, delis and restaurants offering pizza, fine dining, Thai, modern and Indian cuisine. Silk’s Brasserie is by far the best restaurant in town for lunch and dinner and there's even a vegan cafe: Rubyfruit.
Children are very welcome and it's a great environment for them: eco-friendly with quirky design and plenty of space to play as well as outdoorsy activities to pursue in and around the Blue Mountains. It's also a great place for an extended family group or families holidaying together. Kids of all ages are welcome.
Children (4-12 years)
We'd recommend the Milking Shed or Moo Manor for families with up to 2 children; otherwise book the Worker's Cottage, which sleeps up to 6. All lodges have a bathtub and you can request twin beds instead of kingsize beds where you need them.
An independent nanny service is available; book in advance and contact the owners directly to find the right childcare solution for you. It's all paid to the nanny service rather than the hotel.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
It's self-catering so do your thing; there is a microwave and blenders for baby food and nearby you'll find child-friendly cafés, restaurants and takeaways. The nearest supermarket is in Leura Mall, 1km away.
Some cottages have stairs; you'll need to supervise children in and around the hot tub.