Wedged between the craggy hills of Kimo in a rural farming area near Gundagai is Kimo Estate. The 7000-acre property is one of the oldest in the region and has a colourful history (one owner in the early 19th century was apparently related to Mary, Queen of Scots). Located halfway between Melbourne and Sydney, it’s the perfect place to stay overnight.
David and Emelia Ferguson have introduced eco accommodation to their parents’ property alongside the cottages and shearers quarters already popular for weddings.
JR’s Eco Hut sits like an eagle on the estate’s highest peak, overlooking the Murrumbidgee River flats. Designed by Anthony Hunt and Luke Stanley for two people, the structure is an A-frame-tent shape with two open ends and a corrugated metal roof. It’s an impressive sight in the wilderness. The only sounds are the distant moos and brays of the farmyard.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” says Stanley. “You don’t get projects like this. David wanted it to be simple and contemporary, tying in with the landscape,” he says. “It needed to be something that was really anchored to the site, something that could deal with severe winds and gave you a sense of shelter, but still had an opportunity to appreciate the view.”
The designers used the same materials found around the farm. There’s concrete, solar-powered lights in industrial-looking fittings, reclaimed hardwood, corrugated metal and Australian timber. “We brought the outdoors inside,” says Stanley. “It’s [the hut] out there by itself, it’s very remote,” he says. There’s no electricity. Water is collected from an underground rain tank (heated by solar power) and a fireplace will make you feel at home.
The hut is $350 per night, including breakfast. “There’s no wi-fi or TV, we’re debating the idea of introducing it, because the idea is to unplug and watch the world go by,” says David. With 360-degree views from every point, you can see over the Murrumbidgee flats from the shower and the queen bed.
If you’re not feeling up to the 25-minute drive into Jugiong for a roast at the new Sir George pub, breakfast, lunch and dinner hampers can be brought to you. In the morning, wake up to a continental breakfast made with local produce including muesli, fruit and cheese. There’s also an option to have a barbeque out on the deck, a beautiful place to watch the sun sink.
Wagga is a 50-minute drive away and makes for a great day trip. Start with a cheese class in Coolamon before wandering into town to pick up handmade chutneys and savoury tarts.