SUMMER 23/24

To begin to understand what makes Noonaweena a little different from other resorts and retreats, you need to understand what motivated its owners to buy the 100-acre property in the 1990s.


From their first visit, the owners were taken by the tranquillity of the place — just an hour north of Sydney — as soon as they drove through the gates, through the gumtrees and birdsong.

As if on schedule, a male lyrebird scurries across our path as we drive down the private road, his tail plumage streaming out behind him. A king parrot shrieks its welcome (or was that the lyrebird imitating a king parrot?).

Noonaweena’s vision is for its guests is to be able to share in and benefit from the peace and restorative powers of the retreat, to feel refreshed and renewed, and to reconnect with each other.

There are four elegant lodges with a 5-star feel, catering to couples in the TreeTops suite, or groups of four (Boronia Cottage), groups of ten (Gymea House separate to the main accommodation hub), or 16 guests (Biram House, which was built in 1999 around the original house on the property, and includes a communal lounge, and a dining area that seats 25).

It’s the ideal couples getaway, family break, corporate retreat, and wedding venue complete with accommodation for guests of course. Larger group bookings mean you can book the property exclusively.

There are plenty of things to do on-site with day-spa treatments to nourish and pamper guests, as well as three resort-style swimming pools, a tennis court, bushwalks, and waterfalls to see.

Further down into the valley is a secluded glamping area for couples, complete with a covered outdoor kitchen, barbecue, and a stone bathroom block. It’s a favourite place for executive teams needing to wind down or to bond surrounded by a bush-setting of Gymea lilies, tall eucalypts and tree ferns (and the odd lyrebird call), or off-site at Treetops Adventure Park or Glenworth Valley.

Long-time on-site managers, Rodney and Maureen Forsythe, can provide catering for breakfast and lunch based on local produce and nourishing home-cooked meals from a well-appointed commercial kitchen. Evening meals can be self-catered or are provided by the chef from Little Seed catering.

‘If the kids want to be close to McDonalds and high-tech amusements, Noonaweena may not be the place for you,’ says Rodney, although of course there is NBN and wifi, and there’seven a Tesla charging station. ‘But if you want to relax and rewind— with strenuous or non-strenuous pastimes — and perhaps wake up to expansive views across the magnificent Mt Yengo National Park across to Mt Yengo itself, then Noonaweena will let you find your relaxed self again.

’So restorative is the setting, that it’s been Noonaweena’s mission to be available for not-for-profit groups who visit each year, such as Victims of Homicide founded by Anita Cobby’s parents, and Foster Care Angels giving foster carers a chance to have some five-star time for themselves.

‘Noonaweena’, means ‘resting place in the bush’ in the local Indigenous language, and if it works for these worthy groups, you know it will do wonders for all of us in need of a break. For those who want to unwind in nature, this award-winning, eco-certified retreat provides the perfect backdrop.

Noonaweena, 1442 George Downes Drive, Kulnura


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