When you drive through the gates of Tumbling Waters Retreat you’ll be impressed and surprised. How can this hilltop hideaway be only an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD? Then there’s that view. The retreat looks out over the Royal National Park and beyond the trees is the ocean in all its majestic blue glory. It really takes your breath away; so no wonder this quiet spot in Stanwell Tops is becoming an increasingly popular boutique wedding location.

Owners Sonja and Andrew have worked really hard to make this place special, before and after it was first opened in July 2002. “Tumbling Waters Retreat has been designed for couples, a place to come and relax, take time out, rekindle the romance and enjoy the surrounding nature,” they say. “It has also been designed to host small, intimate weddings…we host the most beautiful weddings.”

Weddings take place in the garden or on the deck where the view will make a stunning backdrop for the photos. There’s also a picturesque gazebo complete with a signing table. With the white chairs and rose petals sprinkled down the aisle, the ceremony looks very romantic, and with the trees and the ocean, I have to say very Australian too! In case of bad weather, the backup plan is to hold the ceremony in the glass atrium that feels intimate yet grand (this is next to where the reception is held – and don’t worry, you still get a view from here).

Receptions can be either cocktail (for 20 to 100 guests) or sit down (for 20 to 90 guests). You can read more about their packages here. The food is to die for – I sampled the prawn and avocado stack with coriander and lime dressing (so light and refreshing!) plus the char-grilled fillet of beef, stuffed mushrooms, roasted potato with reduced red wine and veal jus (it was cooked to perfection and the beef melted in my mouth…yum!) You can check out other options on the menu, for cocktail and sit down, here.

The cherry on top of this place is the accommodation. Wow! They’re perfect for spending your wedding night in and I also think they’re great for honeymoons if you’re looking for somewhere secluded in New South Wales. Luxury suites boast a flat screen TV, DVD library, gourmet mini bar, marble bathroom with a large bath, brand-new sandstone fireplaces, Wi-Fi, a comfy bed that looks out onto the view and a balcony that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the middle of a rainforest. How blissful it would be to have breakfast out there the day after your wedding, listening to the birds, breathing in the fresh air and talking about the rest of your lives. Plus there’s a mineral pool on site that is said to have special healing properties.

No doubt it’s a magnificent place and if you’re after a small, private wedding with a bit of wow-factor, you should definitely consider Tumbling Waters Retreat. Sonja and Andrew are experts in hosting weddings here so you can be calm and confident that your big day will run smoothly and beautifully, and probably talked about by all your guests for many years to come!

Photos courtesy of Tumbling Waters Retreat