If you're into exploring new environments, getting your shoes dirty and learning more about where quality produce is grown, put Redleaf Farm on the list for your next weekend getaway. Sam and Katrina Sparke live on the property, which is just under two-and-a-half hours from Sydney, with their four children.
Guests can sleep in a 1920s train carriage that Katrina has masterfully renovated herself. She purchased the once derelict Carriage 1236 from a collector based in western Sydney. There’s enough to keep you occupied over a weekend – walking tracks, swimming holes, waterfalls and bike paths.
"I tried to keep everything as original as possible," says Katrina. The interiors have remained true to the 1920s aesthetic and represent the land where they now live. Carriage 1236 sleeps three with a king and a single bed, self-contained kitchen and lovely deck overlooking the paddocks on their small working farm.
Inside the carriage, you'll find antique chairs that were handed down in the family, which have since been delicately upholstered by Katrina. “I could've upholstered them in anything, but it's actually deer skin that I have shot right here … I feel like that’s so much more interesting for people from the city to know.”
Redleaf Farm recently won an award for its lamb reared on the property. Katrina also works with a number of chefs from Sydney, who serve her produce. One significant buyer is Woollahra's premium Victor Churchill Butcher.
Currently, Katrina is finishing off a second unit, Carriage 343, a guard’s van and passenger railway carriage originally built in 1890. It is fully self-contained, off-grid and solar-powered with antique mirrors on the bedroom walls. It will be a more secluded stay for those who want a bit of peace and quiet. Located 500 metres away from the house and the other carriage, looking onto the rolling hills of the Southern Highlands.
"We are looking at collaborating with some of the chefs that we work with now. We plan to eventually organise farm to plate dinners for guests, cooked by chefs that use produce sourced purely from Redleaf Farm."