Pre COVID-19, we’d be bringing you the world’s best hotel reviews – but given we’re pretty limited in our evaluating capacity right now, instead we’re bringing you some different types of properties. Like Jess Buchan’s parent’s place in north-east NSW.
Welcome to ‘Jindalee’
Located in the middle of nowhere, 25km east of Glen Innes, Jindalee covers 500 acres of dense bushlands, trickling creeks and half of Australia’s wallaby population.
Deep into the property is the most adorable two-story ‘shouse’ a twee fusion of shed and house that acts as an interim to the actual home being built about 200 metres away.
With promises of complete isolation and the opportunity to get back to nature, I jumped at the chance to stay while the virus takes over the world. There was even mention of a flourishing veggie garden if things really did start to get grim.
CHECK-IN & BEYOND
After driving down the world’s longest driveway, venturing past a decrepit shearing shed and content looking wallabies, I finally arrived at the shouse, ready for my isolation.
The reception was a little dusty however the welcome committee was 16 legs of happiness with a touch of zero personal space. After a welcoming slobber and a dirty paw-print on my clean white shirt, check-in was done, and I was shown my room.
The best way to describe the shouse would be open plan living. Both bedrooms, kitchen, living, and dining rooms morphed into one area, meaning I got to know my hosts very well.
It could be described as ‘quaint country chic’ with its Colorbond walls and corner fireplace. There was, however, some mod-cons such as a smart TV and dishwasher to satisfy even the most city-slicker types.
The recent rain has turned the property into a verdant wonderland, already putting my worries at ease.
The upstairs bedroom was particularly cosy and with the drop-down ladder for access, you could truly hide away from the world. The outdoor dining area had views of the nearby Gibraltar National Park and the recently constructed horse stable.
The hosts leave out carrots so you can feed them if you wish – just watch out for their massive chompers, I nearly left sans a forefinger.
The bathroom is technically an outside bathroom however is fully insulated and tiled so there is no mad streaking to your room in the cold.
FOOD & DRINKS
Being situated about 30 minutes from the nearest supermarket, the owners ensure the fridge and cupboard are always fully stocked. You’re welcomed to snack during the day but at mealtimes, it is more of a communal affair where you were expected to share the cooking with the hosts.
Meals were always delicious and often included vegetables from the garden or locally sourced protein and eggs! #supportlocal
The drink choices varied from fresh tank water, endless cups of tea to a wide selection of gin, wine or rum. It gets very cold at Jindalee, so important to stay warm however you can.
The outdoor dining area was ideal for breakfast with the sun warming us up to start our day.
The only negative thing to add was the pesky flies trying to ruin the serenity.
Social distancing is extremely easy here as there are about 200 acres to a person.
I hiked past the dams and down to the river to spot the resident platypus and dodge the odd brown snake.
My hosts took me horse-riding and we attempted a very poor effort at ‘McLeod’s Daughters’ while trying to muster the 50 head of cattle into another paddock.
There was a quad bike to drive around the property and the team at reception was always up for a ride. I also spent far too much time playing Monopoly Deal with my hosts. Despite how competitive we got, they never threatened to ask me to leave.
Phone reception was limited but the WiFi was decent enough to catch up with current events (a.k.a – update my Insta stories) When I wanted a break from technology, I put my phone away and settled into the comfy leather couches to read my book.
Jindalee is by no means a 5-star stay but the warm and friendly hospitality from both humans and animals will stay with me long after I reach the end of their driveway.
Anyone is welcome (if they’ve been cleared for COVID-19) and I highly recommend it to those looking to escape the madness of today’s world or are just looking for the chance to experience life on the farm.
I’d give this stay a solid 4.5/5. Perks are all-inclusive meals and drinks, cuddly dogs and friendly hosts. Downsides would be the gazillion flies, limited phone reception and the odd lingering snake.
Have an extended day booked at a hotel of your own? Feel free to send us your write up for our new self-isolation review series at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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