Today we’re taking a journey through picturesque New South Wales on the honeymoon of Racquela & Michael! Racquela has shared her creative & wonderful thoughts on the Polka pages previously (you can check these out here, here & here!) and we’re thrilled to share yet another installment from this wonderful woman in “Racquela & Michael’s Honeymoon Tales in New South Wales!”

So, the big day that you’ve spent days, months, and years meticulously planning and preparing for has finally happened and you’re SO ready for a relaxing break to celebrate your wonderful future as a married couple but you’ve just had a thought – where should I go? If COVID-19 has brought about one mere positive, other than two lines on a RAT test, it is the unintentional encouragement to seek and discover what is in our own backyards! What I mean by this is with border closures at one point being so unpredictable and with governments changing the rules and regulations of travelling more times than my outfit choices on a Saturday night, it posed another layer of stress for a soon to nuptials that could totally be avoided just be researching what hotels, resorts, and experiences are within a somewhat drivable distance. With traditions being thrown left, right, and center – who decided a honeymoon should be an overseas trip? I’ve planned a New SOuth Wales honeymoon and it was exactly what we needed after our big day.

I originally had plans to live it up in the Whitsundays on a poolside cabana but when it came to the travel plans it was put in the too-hard basket based on the restrictions when I was married in March of 2022. Instead, my now wonderful husband and I (well, let’s be real here, it was mainly me) looked at a miniature road trip style honeymoon starting from Newcastle NSW, and ending at Wolgan Valley.

Stay #1 – Summary: Italian Paradise… right near Sydney!

Buongiorno and welcome to Guestlands in Arcadia, approximately 40 minutes drive from Sydney CBD. I stumbled upon this Tuscan gem on Instagram some time ago and I remember thinking it must be in the Italian mountain ranges! We booked a few nights and I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was so pleasantly surprised by how friendly, warm, and cosy the entirety of the boutique accommodation felt. The accommodation rooms are super generous with a living, bedroom, and large bathroom and follow the Tuscan vibe throughout. Your stay also comes with a complimentary continental breakfast each morning in the communal kitchen/living building. Each morning the pantry is stocked with fresh sourdough and local produce. My pick was definitely the parmesan and olive bread paired with triple the daily dietary recommendation of butter – SO good!

We were greeted by Jenny and Peter who are the proud owners and residents of Guestlands and spoke to us about the history of their beautiful home and guest accommodation. There is something special about their genuine passion for their property and passion for hospitality for all the guests they meet. Jenny and Peter went above and beyond to make sure my husband and I had a wonderful stay and they celebrated with us which made our stay even more special.

Our highlight for this trip was definitely the woodfire pizza we made with Jenny and Peter under the beautiful candle-lit cabana area. My husband was tossing the dough in the air like he had been working in an Italian kitchen all his life! Of course, we can’t go past the beautiful gardens, huge 20m pool, a super cute kitten who made an excellent co-host, Italian wine, homemade limoncello, and all the delicious charcuterie boards we overindulged in during our stay.

While this place is super gram’ worthy with the most aesthetic backdrops, it is so much more than just a pretty place. I felt totally relaxed, particularly after a stressful leadup to the wedding and it was a place I could switch off, celebrate, and have quality time with my husband and momentarily forget about all of life’s stressors! And to me, what more could you want to begin your honeymoon?

Thanks to Jenny and Peter for a fabulous stay and experience, 10-star review from us! We can’t wait to return, I hope you have that woodfire pizza oven preheating for us.

Stay #2 – Summary: Hidden Hilltop Cabin

We headed from Arcadia to Kinimbla, which is just past the Blue Mountains, so about a 2-hour drive and we arrived at Logan Brae Retreats where our Hilltop Cabin was gorgeously awaiting our stay! Picture this, a secluded wood log cabin perched up on a mountain top with a solar-powered inground pool surrounded by natural wildlife and open plains. There is something so peaceful about being disconnected from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The day we arrived it was raining and rather cold but it definitely didn’t stop us from jumping in the pool! We might have shivered more than we swam but it was worth it! We spent our days overlooking the countryside in the hanging hammock net, overindulging in more cheese and chocolates, having a bath in the beautiful extra-large stone bathtub, and cozying up in the lounge with the fireplace. This place is definitely for disconnecting from the busyness of life and for total relaxation. After an event like a wedding, this place is a must on your NSW accommodation list!

My highlight was the private in-house massage from Lauren, one of Logan Brae’s beautiful massage therapists. Lauren was super friendly and really knowledgeable about the area and all things beauty! She even came over with some delicious raw caramel and chocolate treats and some detoxing teas. Given my honeymoon diet consisted of cheese, chocolate, and pasta thus far, the detox health tea was very well received by my digestive system at that point. Asia who runs and operates Logan Brae was equally as wonderful and made sure our stay was as beautiful as the surroundings, complete with a gift upon arrival (thank you!).

Stay #3 – Let’s just say I know why they call it the ONE and ONLY Wolgan Valley…

Calling all luxury lovers, this one’s for you. As someone who talks quite a lot and writes frequently, I am stumped at how I can accurately sum up our amazing stay at Emirates Wolgan Valley. From start to finish the stay, experience, and service were impeccable. While Wolgan Valley geography is within somewhat a radius of Sydney, it feels worlds apart. There is no other way to describe this place other than, this is the One and Only, Wolgan Valley, and welcome.

When we arrived, my husband and I almost felt like we were celebrities – total royal treatment. Our car was parked for us and we had our private Emirates-branded Land Rover Defender escort us through the grounds. Once we arrived at the entrance, we were greeted by the staff who welcomed us with a traditional Indigenous smoking ceremony, followed by the Wolgan Valley distilled signature gin cocktail. From the very beginning, this place just oozes luxury and prestige! The whole feel of Wolgan is understated luxury with log cabin style interiors to compliment the nature bushland exterior. Everything. Is. Literally. Perfect!

After we checked in and confirmed our stay (which I wish was forever) we were escorted to our beautiful log villa. You know when you go online and often hotels make their rooms seem more glamorous and spacious than they really are? Well, this villa was somehow MORE luxurious in person! Inground, private heated pool, lush king bed, shower with a skylight ceiling, toasty fireplace, and even a wombat to unintentionally welcome us. I was in awe of EVERYTHING in this room.

My husband has an abundance of energy and is more hyper than a child on Christmas Day so we booked as many activities as we could – pool, gym, tennis, tour, bike riding, you name it – we did it. My inner McCleod’s Daughter was unleashed when we went horseback riding on a tour of the property and it was so surreal to see how nature is in its untouched environment. Kangaroos jumping, platypuses swimming, wombats hobbling, and birds singing – B E A U TIFUL.

Every detail of our stay was faultless. The food was incredible (yes, I am THAT person who orders chocolate cake at midnight because you can), the room was beautiful, the grounds are so full of history and natural richness, and the staff are five stars and some. The stay wasn’t just accommodation, it was an entire experience. I might buy a lotto ticket this week and stay there for an entire year straight, which even still, I don’t think I could get sick of that magical place.

All three stays for us were beautiful but despite all the luxuries of room service or massages, the best bit of all was finally being able to have time with my husband to relive our day, laugh and cry about it, and in general, be in our own uninterrupted love bubble just the two of us. Whether you’re planning a honeymoon or just a random holiday, seek what is in front of you. We are so lucky to have so many beautiful places in our backyards. Time to go discover them!

Thank you Racquela & Michael for so generously allowing us to relive their beautiful honeymoon with them! A well-deserved relax after so much planning and re-planning of your glorious wedding day/s!