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Saturday 2 November 2013

Wolgan Valley: rare luxury in the bush

Just about everywhere I stay I ask myself the question: What would I change if I were the general manager here?

At Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort the answer was a resounding: Not much. 

It's no surprise that Wolgan Valley is rated the No.1 place to stay in Australia by users of TripAdvisor. OK, so its not cheap - its pricing is up there with other Australian luxury lodges like Qualia and Saffire. But everything about Wolgan is world class.

Opened four years ago, this is a luxury conservation-based resort that is a three-hour drive from Sydney in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The resort is nestled between two national parks and is set within its own 4,000 acre carbon-neutral conservation and wildlife reserve. The only experience of its kind in Australia, the resort combines luxury and seclusion with a quintessentially Australian bush experience.

A member of Leading Hotels of the World and is a founding member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia, Emirates Wolgan Valley recently hosted a Qantas EpiQure event at which I was lucky enough to be invited.

I'd been wary about staying here before (thinking it was a long drive) but was blown away by both the dramatic setting and the quality service - not to mention the fine food and wine served by an EpiQure team headed by Neil Perry and Brett Graham.

Emirates Wolgan Valley is an all-inclusive resort meaning you can stay, dine, help yourself to the mini bar and partake in several on-site adventures without paying extra.

Major attractions include guided walks, horse-riding tours, heritage tours, wildlife experiences, stargazing and Aboriginal culture tours. 

Constructed from wood and stone materials and designed in Federation-style, Wolgan Valley's 36 Heritage Suites are ideal for single guests, or couples looking for luxurious surroundings on a romantic break. Each has stunning views of the valley beyond and a private pool features its own deck surrounded by a garden of native plants and shrubs, and a spacious veranda.

Inside, a central, double-sided fireplace of local sandstone separates the bedroom from the living area. Great attention to detail has been paid to ensure the fixtures and fittings are reminiscent of the Federation period.

Suites feature the latest in entertainment and internet technologies, like iPod docks and iPads with resort info, while thoughtful extras, such as binoculars, let you get up close and personal with the local wildlife without having to leave the deep-cushioned comfort of the sofa. A luxurious en suite bathroom features twin vanities and separate shower and bath.

As you'd expect of a five-star resort there is also a fully equipped gym, sauna and steam room, all-weather tennis courts and an outstanding swimming pool - necessary as it gets pretty warm here during the summer months. There is also an on-site spa and Australian artworks decorate public areas.

For those who want to push the boat out, there are also three family suites and a private lodge, often used by members of the Emirates royal family.

The Wolgan Valley food philosophy is based on seasonal, regional, and organic produce from local boutique farms, private growers and vintners. The culinary skills of the Wolgan Valley chefs showcase Australia's exceptional fare with such specialties as Ormiston free-range pork, Mandagery Creek Venison and Oberon line trout, as well as a selection of local cheeses and wines.

Emirates Wolgan Valley, 2600 Wolgan Road, Wolgan Valley, Lithgow, NSW 2790. (02) 9290 9733. Email:


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