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Sydney Morning Herald

A Haven Away From Home

by Maxine Frith

Weary hostess Maxine Frith enjoys being the guest for a change, at an idyllic Bundeena retreat.

After playing hosts to a stream of house guests over the past few months, the husband and I felt as if our two-bedroom unit had become a de facto B&B for various family, friends and even the children of friends of friends, to the point where we had forgotten what it was like to be alone together.

So the idea of receiving a bit of pampering and pandering to our every need was a very welcome one – and we could have picked no better place than the Beachhaven B&B in Bundeena.

After catching a train to Cronulla, we really began to feel we were getting away from it all when we boarded the little ferry that crosses over to Bundeena every half hour.

Nestled in the Royal National Park to Sydney’s south, Bundeena has the feel of an idyllic Greek fishing village.

Laughing children leap off the jetty into the sparkling water below, families play on the wide, pristine beaches and everyone seems to know everyone else.

Beachhaven is an idyll within an idyll. Run for the last 10 years by cheery retirees Maureen and Hans Keller, this is B&B at its luxurious best.

There are just two self-contained rooms, one at the bottom of the garden, and both furnished to the highest standards.

Each has a kitchenette with fridge, hob and basic cooking equipment as well as a huge ensuite bathroom.

But it is the little touches that make Beachhaven so special. Guests are welcomed with a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine and all the ingredients for a cooked breakfast the next day are in the fridge (although Maureen will cook it for you if you want).

There is a huge bed, Foxtel on the televisions and access to a wide range of DVDs for those who want to create their own home cinema at night.

Each room has its own outside area with tables and chairs – one even has a daybed for those in need of a shady siesta.

The beautiful green lawn slopes straight down to the beach, so you are just metres from a refreshing swim. And the best bit (says the husband, at least) is the outdoor jacuzzi, set at 38 degrees and complete with mood lighting and tea lights around the edge.

Sitting in the bubbles, drinking our sparkling wine as the sun went down over the beach, the other half said contentedly, “This is what it must feel like to be a millionaire.”

Our hosts were unobtrusive but somehow always available when you needed them for advice or a chat.

Bundeena itself is charming – and an unexpected haven of artistic talent. Perhaps attracted by the stunning views over the water and the beauty of the national park, there are now more than 80 professional and amateur artists in the village. There is a permanent gallery and, on the first Sunday of every month, an art trail (www.arttrail.com.au) that allows you to view the latest pieces in the artists’ own homes.

One word of warning – foodies may find their dining options in Bundeena slightly limited.

Beachhaven has a fantastic barbecue if you want to hunker down and cater for yourselves and there is a decent daytime cafe that also does takeaway pizzas in the evening.

But apart from a Chinese restaurant, the only other choice is the RSL, which claims to offer “fine dining” at its Saltbush restaurant. The restaurant is, in fact, just a small room off the main RSL bar and while the food is OK (steaks, chicken supreme, pasta) it does not quite live up to the gourmet claims made on its website.

But that is a small quibble.

After a jacuzzi and a glass of wine in the garden watching the cockatiels swoop past, we had the best night’s sleep we’d had in months.

I think we’ll leave the B&B-ing to the Kellers. The Frith guesthouse is now closed for business.

The writer was a guest of Tourism NSW and Beachhaven Luxury Accommodation.

TRIP NOTES

Address: Beachhaven, 13 Bundeena Drive, Bundeena.

Bookings: Phone (02)9544 1333. See http://www.beachhavenbnb.com.au.

Rates: Two weekend nights, Friday to Sunday, based on twin-share: $550 a room.

FIND TIME TO

Visit the Bundeena Picture Gallery run by Doris Kaminski and Robert Wilson. 58 Brighton Street, Bundeena. (02) 9527 1318.

See the 5000-year-old Aboriginal rock engravings at Jibbon Point. Entry is free. (02) 9542 0648.

Kick back and relax on Gunyah Beach in Bundeena.

VERDICT

Why you’d go: To rest, recharge and reconnect with a loved one.

Why you wouldn’t: If you are into high-octane weekend raving.

View original SMH article