Wilga Station – a working sheep farm overlooking Fitzgerald’s Valley and Wilga Dam – has been part of Hamish Keith’s family for three generations. It’s home to a roaming flock of ewes (and the occasional ram) as well as curious fairy wrens and magnificent butterflies that dance in the long grass around the property.

The Keith family still lives and works at Wilga, but has opened up the farm to visitors with two separate accommodation options. There’s a two-person Farmers Hut that has a curved grass-covered roof and large window jutting out over the landscape. It has a luxurious king bed, a modern bathroom and kitchenette, a Weber barbeque and outdoor log seats for romantic cook-ups under the stars. And, as you’re about 12 minutes’ drive from Bathurst and 40 minutes from Orange, it’s not far from wineries and country pubs for long lunches and trips to the markets.

But, if you’re looking for somewhere to check in and chill out for your entire stay, the winning property here is the five-bedroom Shearers Hall – a seemingly rustic corrugated iron shed that’s been thoughtfully converted into a spacious hideaway with every paperback, board game and kitchen utensil you could need for a weekend away with friends or family.

The Shearers Hall has been given a modern face lift while keeping most of its sheep-shearing history intact. Two defunct shearing machines are fixed to the walls in the living and dining area; there’s a glass pane covering part of the floor so you can see farmers’ footprints in the dirt below; and the old sheep chutes are visible from two of the bedrooms through a similar window into the building’s past. The large dining room table is a former wool table; a ball of wool sits in a wooden basket in the kitchen. And each one of the 10 antique dining room chairs is mismatched, adding to the countryside charm without making it feel too modern or finished.

What’s genius is that every bedroom is roughly the same size. All five bedrooms have queen beds, plump cushions and chic ceiling fans, but very little else. The two bathrooms have rainfall-style showers, circular copper basins and shampoo and soaps by Australian botanicals company Leif.

One of the best places to spend time is the long, high, sturdy window seat where you can watch the sheep graze, read a book, or yell out answers on the weekend quiz. There’s a bookshelf in the living area with Aussie paperbacks and classic board games such as Monopoly and Scattergories. There’s no TV or air-con, but with the sliding doors open to the elements you don’t miss either mod con.

Then there’s the outdoor dining bench – it has space for 10 and you can watch the colour of the sky change to pinky-blue as the sun sets behind the hills. The gas barbeque has ample space for cooking, plus all the utensils you could need for entertaining with a big group.

And indoors, the fully stocked kitchen has a large Omega oven – large enough to roast a turkey in – and an electric hob with an extractor fan fit for a professional kitchen. There are plenty of glasses, plates, mugs and bowls too, so all you need to bring is what you intend to eat and drink.

With every booking there’s a breakfast hamper of farm-fresh eggs, a loaf of sourdough, bacon, haloumi, tomatoes, homemade sauce and two types of milk. Canisters of tea and coffee could last you a week and chopped wood, stocked underneath the building, could fuel the indoor log fire all winter if you needed it.

When you’re ready to stretch your limbs, there’s a one-kilometre sheep trail (signs to it start at the Shearers Hall) which leads to Wilga Creek. It’s a slightly rocky path, but the reward is a stream of fresh water where, when the water’s high enough, guests can take a dip. Before you head out, stock the outdoor esky with ice and cold drinks for your return.

Stay at the Farmers Hut from $450 per night, or at the Shearers Hall from $1100 per night. There’s a two-night minimum stay at each property.

While you’re there
Check out Bathurst Grange Distillery for world-class gins. Seek out old-fashioned ice-cream parlour Annie’s Ice Cream – a Bathurst institution. And book a long lunch at the longstanding fine-diner Tonic in Millthorpe, 20 minutes’ drive from Wilga Station.

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