Hunkered on the top of a hill, nestled within the chirping hinterlands of hippie-infused Byron Bay, this free-standing mansion boasts stunning panoramic vistas of the surrounding rolling mountains and glistening ocean.
The walls are splashed with glass from floor to ceiling boasting open plan living areas. Heavy teak sound proof sliding doors rumble on their tracks as you reach multiple wrap around balconies. A gentle breeze flows through the airy and tastefully decorated home, embracing the natural surroundings. You know you have reached paradise, also known as Koonyum Range Retreat.
Showcasing five generously sized bedrooms sprawled across three levels with a media room (which can be converted into a sixth bedroom) housing state of the art mod-cons, this chic house for 12 is the perfect retreat for those looking to getaway, celebrate a special occasion or even to get married. This is the ultimate setting for romance.
The master bedroom, located on the top floor, features twin showers with an oversized bathtub in prime position gazing toward the ocean, as well as a fully equipped surround sound system and deep walk in robe.
Two other bedrooms feature on this top floor along with the media room and a spacious bathroom almost the size of another bedroom. The toilets on this top floor are straight from electronic-infused Japan, with their automatic raising seats and self-cleaning functionalities. They don’t quite fit with the flow of wooden textures and striking artefacts that feature predominately in the house, but are a great little novelty highlighting the international flavours that flow throughout.
The vast wrap around balcony on the second floor borders the gourmet kitchen which is fit for a chef. In fact we had a wonderfully talented chef come in and cook us an amazing Moroccan banquet one evening– just one of the many features that can be offered by Koonyum Range Retreat.
The open living room centred with a two way fireplace, another bedroom with private ensuite, oversized laundry, toilet, second balcony with a full sized BBQ and giant chess board also feature on this level.
The lower level, known as the gazebo level, is home to the breathtaking vanishing horizon pool. Looking out to infinity and beyond, this 12m pool and surrounding entertainment areas are the perfect place to chill under the thatched Bali hut or sip on sundowners as spectacular sunsets paint the sky before you. A quaint self-contained studio is also located poolside.
Boasting handmade teak furniture imported from Indonesia, with rich Persian rugs flowing throughout each room in deep reds and blues, stained glass rustic Moroccan lamps illuminate key living areas as the tinted colours dance on the ceiling. The ambiance of this house is truly exotic.
Offering a complete escape like no other, activities such as an in-house masseuse or private yoga instructor can also be arranged.
The service offered by the owners and their staff is truly on a level of its own. Nothing is too much effort and going the extra mile is an understatement. I mentioned earlier about the chef we organised. I must mention, I requested this service only two days before and even though he was catering for eight weddings the day prior and two the day of our meal. He happily smiled and chatted away as he prepared the most delicious meal even though he was probably exhausted. The staff at Koonyum were flawless in assisting with any request.
To reach this birds-eye paradise, you must have a car. Located half an hour from the touts of Byron Bay and 15 minutes from sleepy Mullumbimby, the road leading to the house is not for the faint hearted. Narrow, windy and did I say narrow? For the slightly less confident drivers, ensure you arrive in daylight hours. For those who are born to drive, get your WRC on!
The last few kilometres of the drive are up a gravel road in deep bushlands and when I say up, I mean up. One part of the road seems almost vertical. Our little Nissan Micra struggled but managed. Once you reach the house though, you may never want to leave again and the drive up to this piece of serene paradise instantly seems like a distant memory.
You are automatically swept up in the fresh Australian bush smell of eucalyptus and pine, the call of the kookaburras as the sun sets and kisses the deck with the taste of salt on the ocean breeze reaching you over the tree tops to your own private paradise. Truly a unique experience.
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This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.