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Lifestyle : Rest and Relaxation 12
1HERSA1 0026 *Conditions apply Hunter Valley Wine Country Our one and two bedroom self catering villas are just the place to unwind and relax! Close to all attractions.... a perfect getaway! For rates and availability - www.beltanavillas.com.au AG4796720AA-260212 26 SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2012 THE SUN-HERALD Rest and relaxation SPECIAL REPORT A Herald Special Report. Editor Matt Collins, email@example.com Advertising Tina Musumeci, 9282 1003, firstname.lastname@example.org Readerlink 9282 1569, email@example.com A natural beauty shines through Serene settings can enrich a luxury getaway, writes Sarah Thomas. Cloud nine . . . Wolgan Valley Resort is situated in a beautiful valley. WORLD-CLASS accommodation, award-winning restaurants and luxury on tap aren't the only defining features of some of NSW's most significant hotels and resorts. Nature itself can be as welcoming as a hotel's staff and amenities; its surroundings as enticing as its interiors. Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, a $125 million property that opened in 2009 and is built around an 1832 homestead, sits on a 1600-hectare wildlife reserve. The resort prides itself on its conservation efforts and guests are encouraged to explore the surroundings with guided walks, horse trails, mountain-bike riding and wildlife drives. Katherine McMahon is a field guide at Wolgan Valley and says the property's location in the heart of the valley immerses guests in the region. ''It's like being cocooned in a little spot, which helps with relaxation,'' she says. ''Guests just love the variety of activities. They can also go out by themselves and explore. We have signs up with detailed maps so people can discover areas for themselves. It's just about being so close to the wildlife.'' Other residents of the area include kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koalas, endangered bird species and rare albino wallaroos. This year a new program will start in which guests will be able to plant tree seedlings on the property. There's also a Wollemi pine grove, where a new generation of the endangered trees have been grown from tissue culture from the original trees found in the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. Elsewhere in the Blue Mountains, the top-end Katoomba resort Lilianfels -- on the bluff of the Three Sisters -- is offering a special package for guests to get the most out of the region. The discovery package offers accommodation for two, including breakfast, entrance to the Koomurri Aboriginal Centre and a DVD of a helicopter ride in the region. Lilianfels -- with the nearby boutique Echoes, a 14-room property that was once a retreat for Thomas Keneally -- is under the Starwood Hotels' Luxury Collection banner. Rooms at Wolgan Valley start at $1560 a night for a minimum three- night stay. See wolganvalley.com. The destination discovery package at Lilianfels is $343 for a single room or $373 for a double. See luxurycollection.com/lilianfels. Chic stays Spoil yourself . . . The Longhouse. Rediscover your inner calm at some of the newest luxury accommodation in the state. About 50 university students from across Australia worked together to build The Longhouse, three eco-friendly luxury villas that opened at Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley last October. The project, which took two years and was aimed at giving students hands-on design and building experience, was funded by local and national businesses. All profits go to architectural charities, such as overseas aid projects. The three stylish two- bedroom units, which sleep up to four people each, start at $325 each for one night midweek and $499 on weekends. See thelonghouse.net.au. Elegant, stunningly designed boutique apartments are now available in Mudgee. De Russie Suites has 13 units, from studios through to two-bedroom family suites. The property opened in December in a historic 1865 building. Rooms from $165 a night. See derussiehotels.com.au. The Lovedale restaurant Leaves & Fishes now has four adjoining boathouses offering a great spot for couples visiting the Hunter Valley. Rooms include a stone bath, double shower and king-size bed. All boathouses, which cost $400 a night, have a deck overlooking a lake. See leavesandfishes.com.
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