We were recently invited by owners and hosts, Lyn and Peter Hale, to come and photograph Strathearn Park Lodge, a luxury bed and breakfast just a touch south of Scone. Apart from a short weekend as a child, I’d never spent much time in this part of the world. After a superb weekend I was left wanting more, and we plan to return to this breathtaking country lodge very soon.
Kids and gear packed, we left late Friday afternoon. – the trip from the Coast is around two and a half hours. If you’re arriving at night, keep an eye out for the Strathearn Park Lodge sign on the right as you travel north on the New England Highway. Strathearn Park Lodge is about three kilometres south of Scone. If you get to Scone you’ve missed it. As I found out … The upside being that after turning around you don’t have far to backtrack!
Built in 1996, Strathearn Park Lodge rests peacefully on 300 golden acres of land. The country here is stunning, with wonderful misty mornings and crisp, sunny days succeeded by golden shades at dusk. Add grazing horses and kangaroos settling in for their evening feed and you have definitely found a bucolic slice of heaven.
As you approach the lodge, passing the horse agistment and driving through an avenue of iron barks, you’ll notice a wonderful old shed on the left as you near the house. The shed is a stunning little gem and has proven very popular for wedding photos as well as guests’ souvenir snaps.
The shed looks like it has stood in that spot for well over a century but it’s actually a recent addition to the landscape. The shed, the fence to the south and the heavy wooden furniture on the homestead’s verandahs were all constructed from timber taken from the stables at Scone’s Uniting Church which were demolished. Peter, with Lyn’s father, salvaged the timber and utilised the skills of a Moonan Flats bushman to build the authentic slab hut and other items. He could pinpoint the timber as coming from the 1840s by its impressive straightness – the earliest settlers used the very best timber first and it can be reliably dated by its quality.
The Upper Hunter was predominantly settled by Scots and the name of the property comes from the original name for Scone – the Parish of Strathearn.
Peter and Lyn designed and built Strathearn Park Lodge in the 1990s as a future retirement plan. They took their time, looking at private hotels, and bed and breakfasts on their business trips and holidays, measuring and photographing different design aspects and ideas, seeking feedback from fellow guests. They both collected magazine cuttings and pasted them into albums with specific reference to what they thought would make Strathearn Park Lodge unique.
It was time well spent! It’s the little things – spas positioned to look out over country vistas, with edges wide enough for a cheese platter and champagne bucket. The private verandahs and gardens off each room mean that you are completely secluded. During our visit we were completely oblivious to the two other couples staying the weekend. The breakfast gathering came as something of a surprise. That privacy also allows you the luxury of leaving the curtains open and waking up to a stunning country sunrise.