Escape Southern Highlands checks into a unique Highlands getaway and meets a surprise guest.
The popularity of Black Angus cattle in Australia is a relatively new phenomenon. Renowned for its prime beef, this ubiquitous breed reportedly cemented its reputation thanks to a concerted campaign by industry body Angus Australia over the past 20 years. Or so a respected local cattle farmer told me. And when he continued to say Black Angus are increasingly popular in the Southern Highlands because weekend farmers have taken an aesthetic shine to them … black cow on green paddock, I was all ears.
Now this might sound an odd conversation to recall as I arrive for a one-night stay at tiny house, Edmond. Edmond is a 15 square metre off-grid, eco-friendly tiny house that perches gloriously on a rolling Robertson property, right at the end of a chocolate box country lane. I arrive as the sun begins to set over the Jamberoo escarpment and Budderoo National Park and the views at this perfectly private, dinky little hideaway are million dollar. This is secluded serenity at its best.
But hang on. Something tells me Edmond might be situated on one of those absent farmer properties my cattle mate referred to. It appears there has been a double booking. There is an unexpected guest here, apparently sharing the night with us. It is a huge, though very handsome, Black Angus bull. Hung like the proverbial butcher’s shop, he’s here with his herd of cows and calves, and no fence or gate separates us.
Grateful I ignored instructions to park near the entry gate and walk the remaining 250 metres to Edmond, I keep a careful eye on him and go inside to explore. With Scandinavian design cues, downstairs is an open-plan living area with a table and an L-shaped bench seat lounge. These double as two single beds, and are good sizes for kids, cosy for two adults. Downstairs, there is also a bathroom with a compost loo and a walk-in shower, powered by solar and gas. Complimentary upmarket toiletries are a nice touch. There is an oven and fridge and basic tea and coffee supplies. Upstairs in the loft, accessible by a ladder, there is a queen-sized mattress. Linen, towels, games and bathroom toiletries are supplied, and the mobile reception is good. But who needs mobiles with a view like this? I pour a glass of red and head outside to enjoy more of the peace around the firepit … but wait; my bovine buddies have beaten me to it. I leave the carbon to the cattle and instead backtrack to the Robertson Pub for dinner. I arrive back at Edmond after dark, and climb up to my loft bed, opening the roof skylight. The sky is starry, and the wind is punctuated with occasional snorts from my outside bedfellows.
As I lie there, I conclude I love the premise behind In2thewild Tiny Holidays, which manages Edmond online. The company incentivises participating landowners with a cash bonus, and then deploys one of their tiny houses on properties across NSW, Victoria and Queensland. However, when outsourcing the management of farm accommodation, and marketing it to people who may never have set foot on a working farm before, small things like big bulls can get overlooked. There was no mention of this big fella’s presence in my pre-arrival information but as a country girl, I know that when there’s a bull about, you’d be well served to keep him in sight.
After my memorable Edmond stay, I contact my farmer mate, and send him a photo. What’s his rule of thumb when it comes to bulls and guests?
He advises caution.
“Real farmers know about their animals’ temperament, so this may be no problem, unless a pet of the holidayer becomes involved,” he replies. I note the In2thewild website says no pets allowed.
“On the other hand, a horny bull (and I don’t mean the ones on his head) can be aggressive. The bull is with the cows because it’s time, with calves on the ground, to re-join with the cows. While it’s nice for guests to have the experience of cattle, apathy could end in tears. That bull could weigh from 800 to 1200 kilograms. Hope that helps.”
So, though it is good to get up close and personal with the locals, these tiny houses are situated in working paddocks: check before booking