Inspire

I Think I Just Found Heaven, And It’s A Luxe Getaway On The Hawkesbury River

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I grew up on the Central Coast, so I spent a lot of time going back and forth from home to Sydney by train or car. I always admired the view of the Hawkesbury River, yet not once did I stop to get a closer look. Huge mistake. You guys, I think I found heaven and its name is Marramarra Lodge.

After arriving at Deerubbin Reserve Boat Ramp in Mooney Mooney and parking our car for the night, we’re met by hotel staff with a boat transfer over to Marramarra. Yep, you read that right, there’s no road out to the lodge at its secluded location on Fisherman’s Point across from Bar Island.

Despite taking the trip in the middle of winter, the sun was shining, I was rugged up and I felt perfectly comfortable on the water. I was immediately ready for my glam island life.

 

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Upon arrival at the lodge, we’re greeted at the dock and walked up to the dining hall. We’re given champagne and a quick rundown of the lodge while our bags were taken to the room for us. Already, despite the obvious luxury of the place, it feels relaxed and welcoming: more like you’re returning to your outrageously nice home than your more typical luxury hotel experiences. It was absolutely my kind of vibe.

No matter where you are around the lodge, the views are incredible. Whether you’re on the water, just chilling on the deck of your room (which is one of only 14), taking a hike or settling in for a meal at the dining hall — the beauty and serenity are inescapable.

 

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Despite the main house on the property having been built in the 1920s and the property swapping hands several times over the years, Marramarra Lodge officially opened at probably the worst possible time — right in the middle of Covid 2020. It hasn’t stopped them from absolutely nailing their objectives: “delivering an authentic, yet luxurious Australian nature experience”.

Starting from $1,495 a night (for two people), your all-inclusive trip means that once you arrive, you don’t have to worry about a damn thing.

Want a bottle of wine brought to your room? You’ve got it. Feeling hungry? Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the onsite restaurant looking out onto the water (and it’s all mouth-watering). Keen to explore? Grab a kayak, SUP board and more from the boat shed and get out on the water. Or just wait for a complimentary evening boat tour (with wine and nibbles, obviously). Or, (as long as you’re good at steep, rugged trails) take the bushwalk right next to the lodge for sweeping views of the Hawkesbury.

 

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Of course, there’s absolutely no shame with just chilling in your room with a good book and the aforementioned wine. There are eight super-glamp tents — where I was lucky enough to stay — and six bungalows if you prefer four solid walls. All come with a fully stocked (and re-stockable) inclusive mini-bar, heating that made the outside chilly winter weather just added to a luxe, cosy feel and a view to die for.

There’s also a day spa on-site, which will cost extra (unless you book one of the special packages), but are shockingly reasonable on price considering your settings — you’re looking at $165 for a 60-minute massage. In the warmer months, you can pop right over to the beautiful outdoor pool when you’re done.

Overall, it won’t be shocking when I say that this is a super romantic getaway. In fact, besides my best friend and I, all the other guests were couples. So it’s absolutely perfect for that type of trip. Honestly though? I had an absolute ball with my bestie, and frankly, I would love heading back on a rejuvenating solo trip. You basically get to interact as much or as little as you’d like.

 

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On the boat ride back to my car the next morning, we’re given a little tour of the area and other places you can visit on a longer stay. The lodge can organise private transfers for guests over to the iconic water-access-only restaurants in the area, like Berowra Waters Inn and Peats Bite. You can also organise a tour to a local pearl farm, a helicopter ride to the Hunter Valley for lunch and private wine tasting, go bush foraging in the Marramarra National Park with a local Dharug Elder, and so much more.

My favourite thing, though, is the fact that we pass Milson’s Passage, an extremely tiny waterside town that claims to be independent of Australia, complete with their own President and currency.

In short, I’m absolutely obsessed. My only advice to you before you go is to beware of the inclusive wine list — it’s amazing, varied, Australian-focused and makes it very easy to drink more than you realise. On the other hand, you’re on vacay, so why the hell not.


AWOL stayed as a guest of Marramarra Lodge.

(Lead image: provided / Marramarra Lodge)