Home And Away Guide: One & Only Wolgan Valley, Australia
Charles Darwin arrived at Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains in 1836, the emotions he felt then described in his travel diary were self explanatory and having recently returned from the new world I share that sentiment! Just 30 kms from Lithgow and a three hour drive from Sydney the term ‘getting away from it all’ really becomes a reality. The Emirates owned "One & Only" Wolgan Valley is for guests only, providing complete exclusivity to do as much or as little as you like.
Leaving your car at the gate seems right adding to the sense of arrival. It comes as no surprise that local skilled craft workers including glass blowers, stained-glass window makers, carpenters, blacksmiths and iron workers, were employed during the initial building phase. Recreating the rustic style of the Federation period, the resort's buildings offer a range of unique spaces in which to enjoy quiet moments with a good book with a glass of bubbly or catch up on the events of the day in a truly luxurious setting. With a range of suites to suit couples, families or small groups, the stand-alone villas are your home from home offering a lounge with open gas fire, four-poster bed, separate toilet and bathroom plus your own indoor lap pool.
The landscape and the views of the bush are breathtaking and the villas all have floor to ceiling glass windows showcasing the views from every angle. One & Only Wolgan Valley delivers a uniquely Australian, yet world-class cuisine experience enhanced by a seasonal, regional and organic food and wine philosophy. Wherever possible, the resort aims to source the majority of its produce and ingredients within a hundred miles, providing the finest in culinary dining whilst supporting local producers. The homestead also features a functioning kitchen garden and supplies fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs to the resort kitchens. Not to be missed is the Colonial Heritage Tour, which showcases the painstaking restoration of this old building where Darwin stayed when the valley functioned as an outstation to a nearby farming property. Emirates has gone to great lengths using the best in sustainable development practices priding itself on a resort that blends naturally and harmoniously with the natural beauty of the valley.
To date, over 175,000 indigenous trees have been planted in wildlife corridors and along creek banks on site, while not a single tree was destroyed by the construction of the resort. The conservation programme at One & Only Wolgan Valley is based on the principle of clearing sites of all but indigenous flora and fauna, so foxes and wild dogs are being eradicated to make the reserve feral-free. The population of eastern grey kangaroos, red-necked wallabies, wallaroos and wombats has increased, and native trees and grasses have been encouraged. To experience the valley itself, guests can choose from a range of field activities; a 4WD wildlife tour of the property promises sightings of indigenous species; guided mountain bike and horse rides offer a bit more adventure — and there’s wildlife and stargazing in the evening. The overall carbon footprint of the resort is low, due to the application of ecologically sustainable design principles in its construction, including the use of solar power and heat recovery. In fact the resort was the first hotel in the world to achieve carbon neutral certification from CarboNZero, an internationally accredited greenhouse gas certification scheme. The One & Only Wolgan Valley experience is pure indulgence and is must do for discerning & eco conscious travellers.
Emirates operate a twice daily departure from Dublin to Dubai with onward connections to Sydney. A reminder that the airline’s chauffeur-drive service is available to First and Business Class passengers. All Emirates’ customers can enjoy in-flight telephones, SMS and email and children’s activity packs. Highly trained cabin crews from across the globe, including Irish & UK nationals are on hand to serve gourmet chef prepared meals.
Book fares here.
Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio and contributes to print & online publications on the island of Ireland. www.robertwalshe.com