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STAY, PLAY, EAT, DRINK & EXPLORE

 

Your own piece of Tuscan paradise… in Berrima

Looking for a real escape from the everyday? Check in to this incredible Air BnB property just outside Berrima, where – especially during summertime – the living is easy…

Driving up the long, winding dirt driveway to Gunu Berrima, my toddler is screaming in the backseat, my husband’s trying to placate him and I’ve got my nose buried in my phone, frantically emailing various people about this very magazine as deadline looms. The tension in the car is palpable. We all need a break.

Then something magical happens. As the sprawling terracotta homestead comes into view, so do three kangaroos, who look up in unison as if to say: “Oh! You’ve finally arrived. Now stop stressing and look around you!”

As we open the car doors, the fresh air hits us, as does the beauty of the property. Situated just four kilometres from Berrima, Gunu Berrima (the name is referenced from the Gundungurra people, on whose traditional land the property rests) is surrounded by wild bush, as well as organic vegie gardens for the owner’s healthy food business. The grounds are beautiful – a mixture of abundance and lovely landscaping, with plenty to explore.

The home boasts a number of fantastic outdoor entertaining spaces, both undercover and out in the open, while a huge fire pit surrounded by wooden chairs and another outdoor dining table would be a fantastic spot during the cooler months (fire bans are in place between October long weekend and Easter). Oh, and of course there’s the pool, which looks like it’s been transported directly from a villa in the Tuscan countryside, complete with towering cypress trees at one end, and – yes, another stunning outdoor drinking or dining space – a lovely stone alcove complete with outdoor fireplace and plenty of cushioned seating for whiling away the hours.

The house itself is no less stunning. It’s large enough to accommodate families or groups, with three bedrooms in the main house and another separate studio adjacent to the main homestead. I walk through slowly, gasping at the large-scale, beautiful artworks (including bold, graphic works commissioned from Italian abstract artist Marco Lorenzetto), cool-yet-comfy furnishings and gorgeous Moroccan rugs. The huge open living/kitchen/dining area is complemented by a fireplace, books and games; large dining table; and a gorgeous, sunken nook with cushioned bench seats and views over the garden. We’re here for one night only – a Tuesday at that – so will be rushing off to work in the morning, but I let myself indulge in the fantasy of enjoying some of the eggs from the chooks (kindly left in a crate for us, along with some fruit, vegies and herbs from the organic kitchen garden) for brekkie the next morning, sipping a Nespresso and looking out over the greenery.

The kitchen is well equipped (there are two drawers of kids’ bottles, crockery and cutlery as well – score!) but being self-contained accommodation you do need to bring your own provisions (a small bottle of milk and – importantly – a bottle of wine are also provided). Owner Bianca has compiled a fantastic info sheet for the house, as well as providing a list of recommended places nearby to dine, drink, shop and visit; this also tells you where the closest supermarket is.

After taking our son out to marvel at the roos nibbling away at the lawn just a few metres from the house, my husband lights the fireplace in the lounge room and gets some music on the sound system while I prepare our son’s dinner. A high chair has also been arranged, as has a lovely cot in our bedroom, the master suite. Both of the spacious bathrooms have baths (beautiful toiletries are supplied), perfect for children (and weary mothers!). We decide to move the baby’s cot into the second living area next to our bedroom – with so much space, it’s easy to create flexible arrangements.

I prepare a simple meal and we curl up on the couch in front of the fire. There’s an enormous TV but we’re exhausted, and retire early to the amazingly comfy, four-poster bed that I have to be dragged out of the following morning. I feel like a child again, seeing the sun come up over the gum trees, flooding the gardens and tempting me to stay, play and enjoy another day here. “Do we have to leeeeeeave?” I ask no one in particular as we pack up and head back to the real world. You’re likely to feel the same, if you’re lucky enough to experience Gunu Berrima.

Prices start from $990 per night (minimum two-night booking). To book, visit airbnb.com.au/rooms/5280934; for more information, see gunuberrima.com

 

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