Sleepover: Old Leura Dairy
A bed for the night in Australia's Blue Mountains
Sunday 05 January 2003
Where is it?
In the mountains just west of Sydney
What's it like?
Funnily enough, it's an old dairy. The owner Michael Hennessy, an architect and eco-visionary, renovated the Worker's Cottage and built the Studio and the Straw Bale House from scratch. The milking shed is also being restored.
What's its USP?
Mind-boggling construction and supremely comfortable interiors in beautiful surroundings. The Studio and the Worker's Cottage were rebuilt using 80 per cent recycled materials, including corrugated iron, old outback-fence posts, railway sleepers, stained-glass windows and ancient pews rescued from churches.
The five-bedroom Straw Bale House is a work of genius. Its half-metre-thick mud-brick walls are filled with straw, making it warm in winter and cool in summer. Doors and windows from a hospital, luggage racks from old cars, poles from the bush. There is a solar-powered outdoor hot tub crafted from an old milk vat.
Bed and breakfast, unless you book the Straw Bale House and require catering. Hennessy is more than willing to take you on a tour of his eco-estate.
The Straw Bale House has five bedrooms, sleeping 11, the Worker's Cottage has three rooms sleeping five and the Studio has a double room. From A$121 (£43) per night for the Studio to A$990 (£350) for the Straw Bale House.
Food and drink?
Fridges in the other buildings are well stocked and grills outside each one encourage you to barbecue both breakfast and supper. Nearby Katoomba has everything from great pubs to good restaurants.
Weekending Sydney professionals seeking a break from city life. Adventurous types answering the call of the wild. Corporate-bonders, group-hugging and willing their staff to go the extra mile. The odd tourist/backpacker.
Things to do?
Mountain-biking, climbing, canyoning, adventure trails and hiking in the valleys. Or search for the Wollemi Pine in the miles of rainforest which contain great biodiversity.
Old Leura Dairy, 63 Kings Road, Leura NSW 2780, Blue Mountains, Australia (00 61 2 4784 1739; www.bluemts.com.au/oldleuradairy).
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