Early birds are excellent worm catchers. But, I’m not big on worms. On the road pre-dawn means by late afternoon, we’re exhausted as we open the door to our home for the night. ecOasis Resort is a grand but tranquil Tweed Valley eco-retreat. And with next to no mobile coverage (thanks Vodafone) you can’t help but soak in the serenity.
The Tweed Hinterland is lush, ancient and sometimes moody with extinct volcanoes lining the horizon. The dramatic escarpments tower over valleys of dense bush. Along with Kakadu and the Daintree, the Gondwana rainforest is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.
Looking down on it all is a dark, moody mountain. Captain Cook may have named it Mount Warning in 1770, but the local Bundjalung people knew it as Wollumbin or cloud catcher for millennia before.
ecOasis Resort is a 112-acre upscale sanctuary with six expansive ‘chalets’ each with a moniker inspired by its aspect. Morning Mist and Sunrise chalets have amazing Wollumbin views. Forest and Range take in stunning Boarder Ranges vistas. Hideaway and Hidden Valley offer an extra layer of privacy with lush bush views.
If you want to be off-grid with all the conveniences of a 5* you’ve come to the right place
Notably, the chalets work with their environment to show off the lush countryside. Each pole building is angled for optimum vista viewing. But it’s not until you open the front door do you realise how serene this little patch of paradise is.
We’re staying in Morning Mist and we hope it lives up to its name. The combined living, dining and kitchen on the top level is arranged to showcase Wollumbin. Warm polished timber floors and muted colours don’t compete with the framed views. Tantalisingly, there’s only a sliding door to separate you from all that nature.
Sure enough, Morning Mist delivers early. Here, on the verandah, we were gobsmacked as the ancient mountain slowly dropped her cloudy petticoat. Consequently, as the day slowly warmed, the sun lit up the green velvet below. With just the birds for company, an early morning cuppa never tasted so good.
In the same way, as the sun lights up the valley, prisms of colour suddenly magically appear throughout the chalet.
Below, is a well-dressed queen-size bed, party-sized shower with two shower heads and a deep, over-sized claw foot spa bath. Tip: Pour a glass of something fizzy and double the bubbles in the spa tub to really de-stress.
Enjoy a virtual tour of a chalet – simply move your mouse around a room – and click on an arrow to move between rooms.
Close to …
24 minutes away is the under-the-radar village of Burringbar. On Broadway (not the song but Burringbar’s main street) is the local success story, Dona Cholita. Husband and wife team Joey and Jefte make gluten-free, non-GMO, organic totopos (corn chips) and tortillas in their solar-powered tortilleria. Dona Cholita wholesales to over 350 retailers, cafes and restaurants across Australia.
Dona Cholita is named after Jefte’s much-loved abuelita
But on Friday nights Burringbar lights up. Along with a local Mexican chef, Joey and Jefte now also run Mercado Juarez – a very busy taqueria. The takeaway menu is tacos, tostadas and flautas. And sometimes tamales.
There are no reservations, tables or phone orders. Take a rug, cross the road and picnic under the fig trees in the park. There are plenty of tunes, kids running barefoot, neighbours meeting neighbours and lots of fun.
Best taco? The Al Pastor. Shredded pork with Guajillo chilli, pineapple and two salsas – Verde and Borracha. Spicy, smoky and delicious.
Nearby in the sleepy hollow of Uki, destination restaurant Mavis’s Kitchen has earned its reputation for some of the best food in Northern NSW. In town for 2020’s Tweed Artisan Food Weekend, we joined locals for the Long Table Lunch. Not the usual menu but a mammoth combo of barbecued venison, pickled garden veggies, charcuterie and cheese platters.
Disclaimer: TML were guests of ecOasis Resort, Mercado Juarez and Tweed Tourism Company.