The green beyond the gold

Luxury lodge: Dreamridge Retreat is set in about 10 hectares of landscaped gardens in the Currumbin Valley. Grand setting: A dining area at the retreat.
Nanjing Night Net

A hilltop haven is the perfect place to dream a weekend away, writes Angela Young.

As our poor little car struggles up the incredibly steep incline of Tomewin’s slope, it becomes abundantly clear that even if there is just a tiny, grotty little shack at the top, we are going to have some amazing views.

Of course, there is no shack. And Dreamridge certainly isn’t tiny.

But those views definitely are amazing. Spectacular, in fact.

From the sumptuous master bedroom (one of six), two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows allow the occupants sweeping, 180-degree views of what the locals call “the green beyond the gold” – the stunning Gold Coast hinterland, proof that a trip to the Gold Coast doesn’t have to mean over-bronzed blondes or yachties with tattoos.

Beyond the region’s golden beaches lies this lush, mountainous realm, with idyllic, rural communities that still manage to boast sea views – yes, even from our serene inland spot.

Owned by Shaun and Donna Williams, Dreamridge Retreat is among a small handful of high-end properties available to hire on Tomewin Mountain, and is definitely the most impressive (although the others, including the very funky Viria and gorgeous little B&B Kallora Escape, are still lovely, beautifully presented holiday spots).

Bedecked in sculptured wood and a vast array of antiques, the furniture and many of the fittings are handmade by the creative pair, while the historical items adorning the walls and shelves – ranging from 1950s Coca-Cola freezers to ancient-looking tools and traps – are from their personal collection.

The sheer expanse and outlook from Dreamridge, over Mount Cougal, Springbrook Mountain and Mount Tallebudgera, is breathtaking, but we’re soon back on solid (albeit high) ground with a comforting cup of tea and homemade muffin from the overflowing hamper kindly provided by Donna atop a kitchen worktop that must once have been a serious piece of forestry.

Dreamridge is not only a timber wonderland. The landscaped gardens are also perfectly coiffed, testament to Shaun’s landscape gardener background – and he’s obviously a perfectionist.

The couple have thought of practically everything when it comes to the little details – plush linen, comfy bathrobes, a very well-stocked kitchen and larder, music equipment and DVDs, candles, birdseed . . . The only thing amiss is the lack of a full-length mirror in each of the bedrooms – crucial if the property is to host weddings in the future, which is definitely on Shaun and Donna’s agenda, with “entrance by helicopter” an option for the flamboyant.

We’re keen to experience Mount Tomewin properly, so we head off down the hill to purchase some of the tasty produce on offer at the quaint, dilapidated Freeman’s Fruit Stall truck, selling organic fruit and vegetables, including tasty bananas from trees planted way back in 1928.

The night is almost as impressive as the day at Dreamridge. We follow a beautiful sunset with a roaring log fire to keep out any hilltop chills. Probably best not to watch a horror movie on the widescreen, though – those vast windows, blackened by night, could have even hardy souls jumping at the slightest noise.

Next morning, I make sure to wake early in order to open the master’s curtains – it would be sacrilege not to lie in bed and lazily revel in that glorious view.

Duly sated, and after a handsome breakfast enjoyed on the large verandah, we take the short hike up to the local Hanging Rock, a precarious-looking geological formation just behind the property – impressive, if sadly lacking author Joan Lindsay’s air of mystery.

This mild exertion leads the weary group to collapse into the four hammocks in the garden, where we gently rock away our final afternoon, snoozing and taking in the unbelievable peace and serenity.

It’s hard to believe the bustle and activity of the brassy Gold Coast is so close . . . just over there, in fact.

I can see its golden beaches and blue surf, but I can’t hear it up here on my peaceful perch.

It would be silly not have to one more doze in these blissful surroundings, I think, as I nod off to the sound of birds singing and absolutely nothing else.TRIP NOTES

GETTING THERE

One hour’s drive from Brisbane, 10 minutes from Currumbin.

HOW MUCH

$1600 a night.

STYLE STATEMENT

Natural, woodsy haven on high.

PERFECT FOR

Groups of friends or couples, families, weddings.

SHAME ABOUT

The lack of a pool or spa.

KUDOS

The artefact and photo-adorned walls – the cosy front lounge is like a history lesson.

TAKE THE KIDS

Yes, there’s plenty of space for gallivanting, and the games room/library is well stocked.

MORE INFORMATION

Dreamridge Retreat, 639 Tomewin Mountain Road, Currumbin Valley, Qld.

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