Two hours from Sydney via Bowral – on acres of farmland surrounded by towering sandstone walls, covered with a thick blanket of trees – sit four luxury villas. Built from native Australian timbres and up-cycled heritage sandstone (designed by Sydney’s Grove Architects), they blend seamlessly into the highland backdrop and are spaced far enough apart you won’t notice your neighbours.

Sweetly named Ferndale, Willow, Jacaranda and Banksia, each have an outdoor firepit, indoor fireplace, spacious living and dining areas, and a fully equipped kitchen with coffee machine and Smeg appliances. The bench space is apt for monster cook-ups, plus there is a barbeque on the deck.

When Broadsheet visited, we stayed in Ferndale. We found a fridge stocked with eggs and cold meats from nearby Terrewah Farm, locally produced Hampden Deli cheese, and enough Pepe Saya butter for two morning’s worth of pancakes. Plus, a big freshly made loaf of grainy bread.

Furniture is from MCM House, and in the spacious bathrooms (yep, two bathrooms, plus an outdoor shower) you’ll find Leif products. There’s wi-fi and enough firewood to last the weekend. We ignore the smart TV in favour of the piles of board games and coffee-table books. (Heads up: phone reception is limited, but that’s not a bad thing).

While it’s perfectly okay to go to Barranca and not do much, it’s just as suitable for those who want to do it all. You can swim in the creek, follow the marked bushwalk trails, or head into Kangaroo Valley’s charming centre, known for its tea rooms and pies, or explore the greater Southern Highlands region and its abundance of wineries. It’s also worth checking out the magnificent Fitzroy Falls in nearby Morton National Park. Next door you’ll find Grandpa’s Shed, a warehouse filled with so many antiques you could spend a day there. Then, after all those activities, you can reward yourself with a massage or spa treatment in the comfort of your villa.

Barranca is a top spot for families of four or parties of eight, and, once its 120-person shared events space Archie’s is complete, it’ll be a destination for weddings too. There are plans to run paddock-to-plate cooking tutorials, wellness retreats, art schools and conferences also.

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Updated: December 15th, 2022

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