Meet Jo and Jim: Gypsy Willows House and Villa

Meet Jo and Jim, owners of the gorgeous 25 acre property, ‘Gypsy Willows – The House’ and ‘Gypsy Willows – The Villa’. It features beautiful gardens and views; 2 hours from Sydney, and just 3kms from the historic Wollombi village in Hunter Valley Wine Country. 

Enjoy a BBQ or glass of wine on the covered entertainment area, gazing out at the peaceful view of beautiful Narone Creek valley and Gypsy Willows own 20 acres of farmland. Horses and cows graze in the foreground and kangaroos visit most days. 

The owners? Meet Jo and Jim. Jo and Jim are retired professionals living in Wollombi, after having moved from Sydney. The pair came to Wollombi to visit friends for the weekend a few years ago and returned home having purchased a gorgeous cottage/weekender on top of a hill.

Their young daughter got the pair into horses, but the property that they had spontaneously purchased was unsuitable for that, leading them to sell the weekender in hopes of purchasing something a little more suitable later down the track.

“I wanted to build a house and garden from scratch on virgin land, which we did on our 100 acres, a property we love”

On that same property, Jo and Jim decided to breed gypsy cob horses (those used for pulling gypsy caravans in Britain).

A couple years later, 25 beautiful acres across the road became available…where Jim and Jo built a second home, but this time it lead them into the accommodation business.

Gypsy Willows – The Villa

I mostly enjoyed developing the gardens, which I do myself – and have contributed to the building of the houses as possible, but my skills are limited, being a “suit”

Can you guess where the name came from?

In struggling to find a name for the accommodation property, they used the connection with the horses as inspiration, and ‘Gypsy Willows’ was born!

We have tried to make the houses as luxurious as we could for country cottages and have tried to include all the obvious little extras including pay TV. We also went for more modern, light houses which we think people are now looking for and which is different from most country accommodation places.

Gypsy Willows is a totally private property, and is not overlooked by anyone. The property is based among expansive valley views, which is home to a large number of eastern grey kangaroos, which graze the valley in a large mob of up to 50, as well as horses and cows grazing Gypsy Willows paddocks.

More generally as a retiree and retired to the country it helps to keep in touch with the world.

I guess you could call the whole thing so far a bit of a hobby and a “labour of love”.

Jo and Jim would love to welcome you to stay at their beautiful home in the Hunter Valley, so get booking as their property has been booked out every weekend since June 2018!


Staying with a larger group? Gypsy Willows – The House is likely to be more suitable for you.

Heading to the Hunter with a smaller group? Gypsy Willows – The Villa is perfect for just that!

Sites that must be seen: WA

When travelling, there is always that concern that you’ll miss something that is a MUST see, which is why we’re starting a series of blog posts with sites that must be seen!

Let’s start in Western Australia.


Kalbarri National Park

Within Kalbarri National Park alone there are a countless number of things that you MUST see! Bring your camera, a big bottle of water, and a fly net, because boy are there a lot of flies down there.

Kalbarri National Park is one of Western Australia’s best known parks, with scenic lookouts, gorges and coastal cliffs. When heading to the National Park, you will need a car as you will have to drive through a magnificent 80 kilometer gorge. Throughout the gorge there are a number of pit stops and walks that will take you to amazing formations such as Nature’s Window, and the Loop, Z-Bend and Hawks Head.

Coral Bay

You’ll want to pack your snorkels for this one! Head up the coast of WA to Coral Bay, where the fish, coral, and marine life is plenty! Choose to either snorkel from the bay or head out on a coral viewing boat to experience the beautiful underwater world that is the Ningaloo Reef. Be sure to book early as tours often book out, especially around the school holidays!

Looking for something a little more adventurous? Head to the area between March and June and swim with the largest fish in the world; the whale sharks! We know what you’re thinking. Sharks? No way. These sharks aren’t ordinary flesh eaters, instead they’re filter feeders (meaning they live off plankton and krill)!

Not your thing? Head to the area between June to October and experience the migration of the Humpback Whales, or November and February for turtle nesting!

Horiztonal Falls

When you think of waterfalls, you generally think of large amount of water falling from a height. Horizontal Falls will change your perception of a waterfall, the falls are situated at the very top of Western Australia. They are fast moving tidal current squeezes through two narrow gorges of the McLarty Range, and have been described by David Attenborough himself as “Australia’s most unusual natural wonder”.

Purnululu National Park

A must see when travelling WA is Purnululu National Park, most well known for the incredible rock formations known as the Bungle Bungles. The Bungle Bungles are distinctive striped beehive like domes that rise approximately 300 metres above the surrounding grassland.

Be warned however, as the tracks to get to the Bungle Bungles have a bad reputation as a rough and difficult 4WD track.

Windjana Gorge National Park

Windjana Gorge National Park is known as one of the Kimberley’s most stunning gorges, with water streaked walls that rise to incredible heights of 100 metres. Unlike many Western Australian National Parks, this one is easily accessible.

Fun fact: Over 300 million years ago, the whole area that is the Windjana Gorge National Park was under the ocean!


Be sure to book your accommodation through Aabode.com!

Winner of Aabode’s Gold Coast Getaway!

Written by winner of the competition, Krystal McKinley

Logging into Instagram and seeing a notification from Aabode that I was the winner of return flights for two and three nights accommodation at the Gold Coast I was completely over the moon! As most of you know, i’m a total compaholic and while I’ve had a small handful of wins, this one tops them all, I couldn’t wait to enjoy this little getaway with my husband and all it took was a simple follow, like and comment!

Balcony view outside our bedroom

Departing from Sydney we arrived into the Gold Coast in just over an hour and caught a courtesy shuttle to pick up our rental car from East Coast Car Rentals then made our way to pick up the keys to our accommodation for the stay, a beautiful apartment at The Rocks Resort.

Our apartment was huge offering 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a very spacious open kitchen and lounge room area and my favourite thing about the place was the stunning ocean views on one side and forest views on the other! We were just metres away from the beach, walking distance to cafes and only a 10 minute drive to restaurants and bars.

Once we settled in it is was only lunch time and we didn’t want to waste the afternoon inside so we decided to check out the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary which was only about an 800 metre walk from our apartment.

This place is massive and I would highly recommend you give yourself at least a couple of hours here to experience all there is on offer. There are feeding shows and free flight bird shows as well as a miniature train ride that takes you around the park, you can walk around at your own pace and there are plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Popular areas of the sanctuary would be the free range kangaroo enclosure where you can feed and mingle with the resident kangaroos and there is also a treetop adventure park on site where you can challenge yourself to climbing over obstacles amongst the trees!

Open: Daily from 8am – 5pm (except for Christmas and ANZAC Day)

Address: 28 Tomewin St, Currumbin QLD 4223

Contact: (07) 5534 1266

Price: https://currumbinsanctuary.com.au/tickets-and-encounters/day-pass

The following day we drove to a beach side cafe for breakfast and afterwards walked across the road to check out the coastline. The beaches looked absolutely gorgeous and the water was such a beautiful shade of blue, not even the dark clouds on the horizon could dampen the busy atmosphere taking place in the area. There’s also a sculpture located on the state’s border and it’s pretty cool to be able to stand in both NSW and QLD at the same time!

As the rain clouds approached we hopped back into the car and thought about what other spontaneous activity we could do. Just a short distance from our apartment there is a place called Honey World on the way and decided to have a quick visit. Honey World has a whole range of honey and wax products available for purchase and also free samples of honey. I’m not the biggest fan of honey but they were very delicious! Entry into the building is free but for a small price you also have the opportunity to be guided by a bee keeper and shown the many hives and watch bees in action and what they get up inside of the hives, I would really recommend it, I learnt some things about bees I never knew and my husband is now even keen on having our own beehive!

Open: Monday – Saturday from 9am – 5pm, Sunday from 10am – 5pm

Address: 35 Tomewin St, Currumbin QLD 4223

Contact: (07) 5598 4548

Later that afternoon, my husband and I met up with a friend and tried our hand at Topgolf, a facility where people can play different games of golf from accuracy to hitting distances and are scored on their shots. You stand on a platform and hit as many balls until the game is over, the golf balls have chips in them that register where your shot landed and that is how you get your score. Table service is also available in your bays so you can order food and drinks without disturbing your game. It was so much fun and probably one of the highlights for me on the trip!

Open: Daily from 9am until late (except Christmas and ANZAC Day)

Address: Cnr. Roadshow Way and Entertainment Road, Oxenford QLD 4210 Contact: 1300 008 442

Price: https://topgolf.com.au/pricing

On our final day, we drove to Surfers Paradise and spent the day like tourists checking out some of the top spots in the area. This mall precinct is absolutely huge and you are really spoilt for choice when it comes to what to eat and what to do!

First up we went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, an interactive museum full of weird and wonderful things found from all over the world. This museum was really fascinating and was chock a block full of interesting facts. Having read the books as a child, it was great to see it all in person!

Open: Daily from 9am -10pm

Address: Soul Boardwalk, Cavill Mall, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Contact: (07) 5592 0040

Price: Click here

Then we moved onto Infinity, an interactive maze like facility where you have to move your way through obstacles in complete darkness and feel for a door that will take you into the next room. Some rooms have laser lights, one a galaxy full of stars and others obstacles hanging from the ceiling and coming out through the walls. Although nothing jumps out at you, if you have a fear of darkness, enclosed spaces and are unsteady on your feet, I wouldn’t recommend this place to you, but if you have a mind full of adventure and discovery you MUST go here! If you do find yourself stuck or lost, a staff member will be quick to assist you.

I couldn’t stop smiling the whole way through, it was just so incredible to experience all the wonder in each room and I absolutely loved it! Your own photography and videos are strictly prohibited in this experience however you get a photo taken half way through and are given the opportunity to purchase it afterwards.

Open: Daily from 10am – 10pm

Address: G31 Chevron Renaissance Centre, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Contact: (07) 5526 8935

Price: https://infinitygc.com.au/tickets/

Lastly, this one is for all you feline lovers out there, a visit to the Crazy Cat Cafe! The cafe has two sections, the dining area which offers hot and cold drinks and a basic breakfast and lunch menu and the other section, absolute cat heaven!

For a small price you can go into the cat room and indulge yourself amongst the absolutely beautiful resident cats there from all different breeds. There are two time sessions on offer, 25 minutes or 50 minutes. You can simply sit on a lounge and wait for the cats to sit in your lap, you can lie on the ground with them or you can play with them using the many toys scattered around, if they’re in the mood you can even pick them up for a cuddle. Being a cat owner myself, I really loved this place and really enjoyed some relaxation time just being in the company of these cats!

Open: Monday – Saturday from 10am – 5pm and Sunday from 9:30am – 7:30pm

Address: 3131 Surfers Paradise Blvd, Surfers Paradise QLD 4217

Contact: (07) 5630 1110

Price: https://www.crazycat.cafe/book

On our final night in the Gold Coast we were even farewelled by a stunning sunset overlooking the city, what a way to end this perfect stay!


Interested in the property that Krystal stayed at? Book it here: The Rocks Resort Aabode.com

Featured Properties: Aabode Victoria

Head to Victoria this Spring and experience some of the glorious wonders that the city has to offer. From state of the art museums, striking heritage sites, mouth watering food, and the sporting culture, we can guarantee you’ll have an absolute ball! To top it off we’ve hand picked some of our favourite and most unique properties in Victoria that you won’t want to miss staying in!


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Aquabelle One is a large, light-filled Rye apartment with beach views and suits families or groups of 4. Architect designed with holidays in mind, this stunning space offers modern, beautifully styled interior with room for everyone

Key Inclusions
  • Master king bedroom with ensuite
  • Views over Port Phillip Bay 
  • Full equipped kitchen
  • Two 3 seater leather couch
  • Board games
  • Contemporary interiors with high ceilings
  • Secure parking for 2 cars
  • Keyless PIN access entry 

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Eden is the perfect retreat for your next family holiday. Watch the kids swim in the in-ground solar heated pool from the sun-soaked living room or relax on the resort sofas next to the pool. This property is perfect for the outdoor entertainer. 

Key Inclusions
  • 5 spacious bedrooms: 1 king + ensuite, 2 queen, 1 tri bunk, 1 queen + ensuite
  • Outdoor fireplace 
  • Poolside cabana
  • Solar heated pool 
  • Butler’s pantry
  • Hydronic floor heating
  • Secure car and boat parking facilities 

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Island Pearl, as the name suggests, is something of a rarity on the Island – a beautifully appointed home in a prime location that also has wheelchair access. No matter what your reason for visiting Phillip Island, be it business or pleasure, “Island Pearl” offers an exceptional travel experience. This superb property is loaded with appeal, and is one that you’ll be keen to return to time after time! 

Key Inclusions
  • 4 bedrooms: 2 x queen, 1 x bunk, 1 x single
  • Wheelchair access
  • Double carport 
  • Gas BBQ 
  • Outdoor sitting area
  • Fully fenced courtyard

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Offering luxurious studios featuring a fireplace and patios offering mountain views, Studio 1 is set on 40 acres of farm land. Stunning views of Mt Buffalo and the Buckland Valley can be enjoyed from each patio and balcony, which also offer a BBQ and outdoor furniture.

Key Inclusions
  • Cooked breakfast: cooked bacon, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes, fresh bread, locally made jams, yoghurt, cereals and seasonal fruit
  • 6 minute drive from the nearest town, Porepunkah
  • Several wineries and restaurants within 30 min drive 
  • Free WI-FI
  • Fireplace

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The ultimate mountain experience enhanced with all the luxury comforts you could ask for.  Elevated and surrounded by a lush forest of greenery, the Artist on Everest is a tree house like no other.  A sophisticated & contemporary 2 bedroom home, with an attention to detail second to none. 

Key Inclusions
  • Main bedroom with king size bed and ensuite
  • Huge open plan living
  • Luxurious couch and dining space
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Log fireplace and ducted heating
  • 5 minute stroll from the township of Olinda

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Riptide @Cape Woolamai has been superbly set up with one goal in mind, and that is to make your holiday an enjoyable experience! This beautifully furnished and decorated home is situated just 250m from “The Colonnades” surf beach and 1km from the supermarket, shops, cafes and restaurants in downtown Cape Woolamai. 

Key Inclusions
  • 3 spacious bedrooms with heating and ceiling fans
  • Sunlit living space
  • BBQ 
  • Outdoor furniture 
  • Great rural and water views

 

 

The 10 Best Aussie Secret Locations

Get your bucket list out because we’ve chosen our top 10 favourite Aussie secrets that will surely take your breath away.

  1. Lake Bumbunga, SA

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Photo Credit: Dom Grimm

Located less than two hours away from Adelaide, lies the blushing pink, natural, salt lake. Visit in the summer to see the lake at it’s brightest, and be sure to bring your camera for those insta-worthy shots.

2. The Daintree Rainforest, QLD

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Photo Credit: travelsofsophie

Trek into the oldest tropical rainforest in the world and step into the world of Avatar. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Cooper Creek, zip line through the emerald green vines or cruise along the waterways in search for seawater crocodiles.

3. Wave Rock, WA

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Photo Credit: Grant Kinkead

Be chased by a granite wave – one of Western Australia’s most treasured natural lifeforms. The Wave Rock is over 27 millions years old and stands tall at 15m, spanning 100m long. Whilst there, you can also check out more unusual rocky formations such as the Hippos Yawn, The Humps, Camels Peak and King Rocks.

4. Umpherston Sinkhole, SA

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Photo Credit: Callum Jackson

Sink into the gardens of the dissolved limestone cave, and immerse yourself in the glorious greenery of tropical plants and trees. Enjoy a picnic, or have an Aussie BBQ. Stay till dusk and you may even become friends with a possum!

5. Hopetoun Falls, VIC

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Photo Credit: Peter Chamberlain

Nestled in the mountains, Hopetoun Falls is located on the Aire River in the Great National Park. Enjoy the view from the upper platform, or descend to the base of the waterfall and soak up the spray.

6. Cradle Mountain, TAS

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Photo Credit: Ikuiku_Studio

 

Renowned for its breathtaking scenery and home to a range of wildlife, Cradle Mountain is the place to go for those who are seeking tranquillity, adventure and natural beauty. With several walking tracks spanning from easy to difficult, you can experience  the wonderful wilderness of Tasmania.

7. Dorrigo National Park, NSW

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Photo Credit: Gargi Ballave

Travel to the East Coast of Australia where several scenic walking trails await you. The Dorrigo National Park is a nature lover’s paradise where you can visit the enchanting Crystal Shower Falls, or bird watch as you dine in the Never Never picnic area.

8. Orpheus Island, QLD

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Photo Credit: Mark Fitz

Encounter nature’s raw beauty in the remote section of the outer Great Barrier Reef. You can rent a boat and paddle across the turquoise waters, or snorkel with the marine life.

9. Bitter Springs, NT

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Photo Credit: Natalie Sum

Submerge yourself in the crystal waters of Bitter Springs, located in Esley National Park. These spring-fed thermal pools are the perfect place to unwind and relax as you take in the beautiful palms and woodlands of the park.

10. Lord Howe Island, NSW

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Photo Credit: Peter & Denise Unger

Lord Howe Island is a multi-award winning, World Heritage-listed paradise, and just a two hour flight from Sydney or Brisbane. Prepare to have your breath taken away by the spectacular surroundings, and be sure to experience some of the world’s best hikes, snorkelling on the coral reef and feeding the fishes on Ned’s beach.

Follow us @aabodedotcom on Instagram for more stunning Aussie pics and holiday inspiration around the world!

Looking to go on an Australian adventure? Why not head to Aabode.com and pick an accommodation option at random! Take a ride on the wild side! 😉