For years, I had heard people rave about Berry but I never followed through with booking a stay.
Instead I would nod politely then tuck it away somewhere deep in my subconscious, forgetting all about it. However, after spending 48 hours there, I think I’ve just found my new favourite country destination. With picturesque views, friendly locals, charming boutiques, farm-to-plate restaurants and a state-of-the-art park, this delightful South Coast town, just a 2.5 hour drive from Canberra, is officially a must-see. Here’s where to stay, drink, eat and shop in Berry.
2pm: Check into Linnaeus Farm
Located just a five-minute drive from the Berry town centre and 10-minute drive from the beach, Linnaeus Farm is a nine-acre property surrounded by the lush, rolling hills of its neighbouring countryside.
The property’s grand demeanour begins from the moment you pull up to its cream sensor-activated gates. As we drove past a beautifully serene dam and infinity pool with a backdrop of hills that wouldn’t look out of place in The Sound of Music, several squeals were heard from the back seat (and maybe from me.) Suddenly after the 2.5 hour drive we felt soothed, as if we were removed from the rest of the world in the most luxurious way.
At the end of the grand driveway sits the Linnaeus Farm home, featuring a beautifully designed Cape Cod-meets- Scandinavia aesthetic with recycled brickwork against white cladding, a loft roofline and intricate stone walls incorporated into the parkland gardens.
From the minute we stepped foot inside the home, we knew we had unlocked something special. With five bedrooms, four bathrooms, two levels and separate living areas (each with its own kitchen) the home can easily fit up to five couples (sleeping 10-14 guests) or a large family, with ample space to spread out for privacy where needed or come together to socialise in spaces made for gathering. It’s perfect for a group getaway, wedding or family retreat.
Every creature comfort has been thoughtfully considered in the home’s design, with luxurious yet relaxed fittings: think marble benchtops, a pitched timer beam roofline, French doors, Herringbone timber flooring, heated floors and towel racks, an oversized master bedroom and a claw-foot bath.
The trellis leading from the main house takes guests to the edible gardens and citrus orchard, producing a bounty of organic produce including beetroot, tomatoes, sweet potato, passionfruit, turmeric, lettuce, oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, figs, peaches, mangoes and avocados and several herbs. (This produce is provided to many of the local restaurants and cafés in Berry farm-to-plate style.) There is also a 90-tree olive grove, and a gorgeous treehouse with slide nestled by the pool—a massive hit with the kids!
Having 360-degree views from the house meant we felt constantly connected with the serene surrounds. Each morning, instead of whining to watch television, the kids were up and running, exploring the manicured gardens, climbing the treehouse or mooing at the cows in the distance.
6pm: Dinner at Tre Bambini
With two kids under five in tow, Berry’s fine dining options such as Queen Street Eatery and South on Albany were best left for another time, so we opted for cheerful Italian restaurant Tre Bambini instead and were not disappointed. The fine weather meant we could sit al fresco for the first time in six months, and with a hearty pasta before me and wine in hand, the holiday was in full swing.
10am: Brunch at Milkwood
After taking in the serene countryside views from the deck at Linnaeus Farm, it was time to explore Berry’s town centre. We started with breakfast at Milkwood Bakery, a cult favourite among locals and tourists alike thanks to its huge selection of pastries and sweets. Located right in the town square, it’s a hub of activity and is the perfect spot for people watching. There is no “dine in” option but since we were lucky enough to nab a sunny day, we sat outside under umbrellas and listened to live music. A tiny pony and its owner had wandered into the square so the kids were preoccupied, which meant we were able to have our coffee and croissants in the sunshine in peace. Bliss.
11am: Retail therapy
For those looking to update their interiors, Berry has no shortage of beautifully curated homeware boutiques, including Few and Far, Haven & Space, Amara Home and Bed Bath N’ Table. The tea addict in me was delighted to stumble across The Berry Tea Shop, complete with olde world charm, gorgeous tea options and the finest China. There were also some delicious looking baked goods (think cupcakes with baby pink frosting) and gifts for all ages. Meanwhile, That Corner Store had some stunning spring-ready dresses from brands like Pasduchas, Staple the Label and Mon Renn. Retail-therapy wise, the Berry town centre has everything you might need in the one spot, from eye-catching clothing and jewellery, to gardening and antiques, right down to beauty boutiques perfect for pampering.
2pm: A visit to the Boongaree Rotary Nature Play Park
Built together with the help of the Berry community, Berry Rotary, Council and The Federal Government, this park drew a few gasps from my little ones when we approached. With multiple slides, swings, climbing nets, sandpits, water play areas, cubby houses, a flying fox and picnic areas, this incredible playground has been designed to suit all ages and abilities. Needless to say, it was difficult to get the kids to leave!
5.30pm: Dinner at The Garden
After a dip in the resort-style pool at Linnaeus Farm (yes it was warm enough!) we headed to dinner with rumbling bellies to The Garden, aptly named for its beautiful sun-dappled courtyard filled with lush plants. This venue boasts fresh, nourishing and hearty selections with a farm-to-plate concept. I had the Moroccan lamb salad with pomegranate while the husband had the most tender looking steak. We added crispy potatoes and maple roasted Dutch carrots for the sides. Initially we were worried it would be too much, but we polished it off even when we were way past full, because it was just too delicious to leave. For dessert I had the raspberry and white chocolate panookie – a pan-sized cookie drizzled in warm dark chocolate. As we dined at 5.30pm there was live music (happy hour is every Saturday between 3-6pm). We loved it so much we returned for breakfast the next day!
Out of all the holiday homes we’ve stayed in, this property was the only one that the kids (and me) were actually in tears about leaving. (They are still asking when we will be going back to “our holiday house.” I don’t have the heart to break it to them it’s unfortunately not ours.) Although it was only two nights, the time we spent there left us refreshed for the week ahead (and then some) and even snapped us out of our bad habits—no more lunging for the remote the minute the kids wake up in the morning, instead we take a moment to appreciate our surroundings. More importantly, we added a new favourite holiday home to our road trip list.
Now I’m officially one of those people that tells anyone she can about Berry. But don’t make my mistake and nod politely — just book and go.
What: Linnaeus Farm
Where: 599 Coolangatta Road, Berry
How much: From $2,200 per night (or $220 per person for five couples.)
Find out more about Berry: visitnsw.com
The author stayed courtesy of Linnaeus Farm however all opinions are her own.