New South Wales

hotel review: loloma’s at white rock

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Life has been hectic the past few months . And it had been TOO long since our last getaway so we had to plan another one. After discussions about whether to travel up or down the coast, we settled on travelling inland to Bathurst (about 200 km north-west of Sydney). ROAD TRIP!

Then came the joy of finding a place to stay over the long weekend… Availability was hard to come by. And after shooting off piles of emails, we finally found somewhere that we were happy with: Loloma’s at White Rock. Relaxing, peaceful, luxurious… yep – that’s what we needed. It’s not a hotel but a bed & breakfast, our first B&B in Australia.

Opened late last year, it is a new kid on the block. There were not many reviews around when we looked online but the pictures did speak for themselves.

Out of all the places we looked at, it easily ticked the boxes of what we wanted. It looked modern, clean and had character – none of this generic decor that you get in hotels. The lovely communication from the owner also added to our decision to book Loloma’s at White Rock.

It is “outside” of town, however, only about a 5-10 minute drive from Bathurst in the quiet residential suburb of White Rock.

Reception & Check In/Out

There really is no official check-in process. The owner requested the day before if we could advise her of our estimated arrival time. And sure enough, we were promptly greeted on arrival.  It was quick and easy.

Rooms

We opted for the slightly cheaper room (to suit our budget) and so we assumed it was smaller. But it was certainly spacious enough for our liking. It felt like we were in a studio apartment. The room is climately-comfortable (if there is such a word): options to use air-conditioner, ceiling fan, bathroom heater and electric blanket. All bases are covered.  IMG_0126The bed was very comfortable with a pillow-top mattress. The bed is fitted with an electric blanket (for those colder nights) and soft, fluffy pillows which we couldn’t wait to lay our heads down. IMG_0125The kitchenette is equipped with a “coffee-pod” machine (we don’t drink coffee so have no idea what those are called), a microwave, a kettle, a toaster, a bar fridge, cutlery and plates/bowls. Anything one would need for a short stay anywhere.

The room has a little sunroom where we could sit and enjoy breakfast with views of the pool deck. IMG_0123IMG_0124The bathroom is modern and spacious with all the necessary toiletries. Having a shower here was incredible, the shower head had perfect water pressure and was huge. It was like standing under a waterfall. But the important thing is cleanliness and it was clean. IMG_0122 IMG_0129The Other Bits

Our stay also offered plenty of inclusions with no hidden costs:

  • free wifi
  • access to Netflix
  • free parking
  • breakfast hamper (meeting dietary requirements without extra) – on booking, the owner sent a little questionnaire about our breakfast habits and dietary requirements and was able to prepare the breakfast hamper to our needs. We felt utterly spoilt for choice. What you see in the photo was only half of what was offered, there was more in the fridge.

IMG_0127The Verdict

Loloma’s at White Rock is a wonderful B&B. The room is comfortable, private and luxurious. The warmth and welcoming owner made us feel so comfortable. She was so helpful and hospitable. This was our first ever B&B stay in Australia and we will be sure to try it again if all places and hosts are as friendly and kind.

We have no complaints about our stay. Maybe our only feedback is that the room needs some facial tissues. 🙂 But that’s really about all we could come up with.

So would we recommend it? Most definitely.

Disclaimer: Loloma’s at White Rock offered us a special room rate. There was no expectation for a review or an endorsement. This review and opinions expressed are entirely our own. 

 

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a budget day in the ‘gong

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Sydney is meant to be heading into autumn but certainly has not felt like it. We have been getting a steady 30 degrees Celsius every day with the lovely humidity to go with it (except maybe for today – with the welcome cool change)

When we woke up on Saturday, the day was too gorgeous to waste on anything other than a day trip somewhere. So we chose a drive south to Wollongong; an easy 85 km drive from home.

Our one-day itinerary, mixed a bit of culture and a bit of nature, was not only glorious but “budget” too 🙂  … winning!

So here is a list of the free things to do in Wollongong in a day (and on the way too).

* Lookouts

A “road trip” wouldn’t be right without viewpoint stops. It does not matter how often we do these types of trips, we always make sure we stop to take in the shoreline that maps out this side of Australia.

Stop at Sublime Point Lookout, Bald Hill Lookout or both and soak in the excellent views. Both are great vantage points, delivering 180 degree views of the coastline.IMG_0072_2

* Drive the Sea Cliff Bridge

Either on the way down, on the way back or both directions, choose to take the 665 metre Sea Cliff Bridge route. You can walk, drive or cycle across this bridge – feel the South Pacific Ocean breeze in your hair. It is always certainly a highlight for us when we head South.IMG_0071_2

* Nan Tien Temple

Include a visit to the largest temple in the Southern Hemisphere. The grounds are beautifully manicured and provides a sense of serenity. Visiting here actually made us feel like we were overseas. It took us immediately back to the temples in Japan and China.IMG_0020_2

* Beaches

Any budget day anywhere probably could easily include a visit to a beach (if they are accessible) and it is no different when you head south from Sydney.

The soft warm sand between our toes was enough for us to forget that winter was coming. Sydney was not ready to say goodbye to summer. In and around Wollongong, there are numerous beaches to go to. But remember swim at patrolled beaches and between the flags for your safety.

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* Botanical Gardens

Another great little free spot to escape the hustle bustle of urban life, with plenty of paths to weave around and explore the many different garden collections on display. Ideal to leisurely stroll through and absorb the natural surroundings. See if you can spot the various birds and butterflies.  There is a big playground area for children and also picnic areas perfect for a BBQ or a picnic.IMG_0045_2

Although it’s a pretty jam-packed day, it was enjoyable and affordable.

It is so easy for us to forget that we don’t have to travel far and wide to experience a getaway. There is so much to explore so close to home.

Have you got a favourite day trip from home? 

Share with us in the comments.

 

tearooms at vaucluse house: review

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Nestled in the lush, green gardens of Vaucluse House is the Tearooms.  The quaint and stylish eatery on the estate provides a tranquil setting to enjoy a lovely lunch, brunch or high tea.

Seeing as we were in the “neighbourhood” following our climb of 100 steps up then down in Macquarie Lighthouse (which really is hardly anything), we were famished for a hearty lunch.

Upon arriving at the Tearooms, the staff politely and promptly greeted and seated us. We couldn’t help but admire the layout of the room and the table settings. What stood out were the fluorescent pink light shades above the tables – definitely didn’t blend with the rest of the room but somehow seemed to work!

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We ordered right on midday which was when the lunch kitchen opens and the food arrived fairly quickly.

The lunch menu wasn’t expansive but there was enough variety to choose from. Le chose the vegetarian pasta: fettucine with mushrooms and artichoke. It was full of flavour and the pasta was cooked perfectly. The portobello mushrooms were so juicy and flavoursome.

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David ordered a 10-hour slow cooked lamb pie which was served with potato puree with roast parsnips. The potato puree was more like mashed potatoes and the roast parsnips were like hot chips (and we are NOT complaining). It was all delicious. In comparison, David’s lunch was a lot heavier than Le’s.

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The rest of the party that joined us for lunch were all very satisfied with what they ordered.

A beef burger:

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Fish and chips with pea mash:

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Atlantic salmon:

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The serving sizes were ideal for lunch and filled us up perfectly – the only shame was that we couldn’t try any of the dessert menu 😦

While we enjoyed our lunch, a group of ladies sitting nearby were having high tea… we couldn’t help but get a little food envy!

Missing out on dessert and high tea was too much for us, so we settled our bill and went to burn off lunch by walking around the well-kept grounds of the estate.

This is definitely a lovely spot on a beautiful day to eat and explore a part of Sydney’s history. Visiting here made us feel like we had a “little getaway” from the hustle bustle of Sydney.

 

 

 

a visit to australia’s oldest lighthouse

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It would be tough to pick that it was winter from the blue skies, the sun shining and the 21 degree Celsius day. It was perfect conditions to visit a lighthouse; Australia’s oldest lighthouse, Macquarie Lighthouse. IMG_0070IMG_0069

From Macquarie Lighthouse situated in the eastern suburb of Vaucluse, there is a stunning view of Sydney Harbour and of the Opera House, especially on a clear sunny day like today.

Apparently from the Opera House, the lighthouse can be seen – we will have to check it out next time we are that way.

Every 2 months, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust runs 20-minute guided tours (with lovely and entertaining volunteer guides) to go up the lighthouse. Today happened to be one of those open days!

We booked the tickets 2 weeks ago to ensure we got the time slot we wanted. And for $5 per person, it was well worth it to be able to climb the 100 steps for a magnificent view of the ocean and of Sydney Harbour…IMG_0092 IMG_0097 IMG_0098… and also learn a little more about lighthouses and Sydney history.IMG_0104

Hope you all had a lovely weekend, we sure did!