An advertisement in the lesbian press and a friendly chat on the phone to its owners sold us on Tallaringa, in Tallebudgera Valley, as the venue for a much-anticipated but hurriedly planned romantic getaway.
Tallaringa is a self-contained cottage adjacent to a Queenslander home. The space underneath was put to good use when the previous owners installed a bar, spa and dancefloor. The surrounds feature a manicured Japanese garden, plus some 11 acres of relatively steep bushland.
Over the phone, current owners Carol and Lisa summed Tallaringa up by saying, simply, We think it’s beautiful. Pulling into the driveway on a stormy Friday afternoon for a long weekend, I felt a twinge of anxiety because I wanted our stay to be absolutely perfect. What if we didn’t think it was beautiful? And what’s up with Queensland’s beautiful one day, perfect the next boast? A grey haze had already obliterated the promised view over the treetops to the ocean, and was threatening to do so for the entire weekend. My anxiety washed away as we took the tour of Tallaringa. Beautiful it is.
The bedroom is huge and inviting -¦ and so is the bed. White linen sheets, duvet and throws in purple and blue, and a mountain of pillows. There’s a mosquito net above, a box of chocolates beside, frangipani petals all over and candles nearby.
Off the bedroom are a walk-in wardrobe (so I hang up my T-shirts and shorts) and a tastefully decorated bathroom. Unfortunately, the bath isn’t big enough for two and there’s no shower, which only bothered me once -“ on our last day, when I needed to wash the sand out of my hair in a hurry.
A spacious, stand-alone kitchen separates the guest area from the main house, and it includes a dining table, bar fridge, gas stovetop and all the essentials. The mini-fridge is stocked with breakfast supplies (bacon, eggs and hash browns), plus beverages (milk, juice and a bottle of wine). A big bowl of fresh fruit, a wide range of cereals and a plate of homemade cookies are at the ready. The basics (including the chocolates) are re-stocked daily, with a bit of variety thrown in: bagels one day, muffins the next.
When the weather cleared, we found Tallaringa does indeed overlook treetops to the ocean. We spent a lot of time on the verandah, reading, taking in the view and dining al fresco -“ all the while burning an array of mozzie-repelling paraphernalia that our hosts thoughtfully provided. Once, I even overcame my aversion to hammocks, and quite enjoyed a sway in the breeze.
Even though the hinterland’s national parks and the Gold Coast’s beaches beckoned, we were so relaxed and settled that we found it surprisingly difficult to venture beyond Tallaringa. If it were not for our shared desire to get wet (the spa was alas temporarily out of action), it would have been near impossible.
Hugging the coast and chasing the ever-elusive sun, we explored The Spit to our north, Burleigh Heads at the bottom of the hill, and Currumbin Beach to the
south. On an impulse we also took off for Byron Bay -“ following a road we assumed was in the right direction but actually went exactly to the middle of nowhere and stopped. No matter, we drove back and started again.
Our last day at Tallaringa was picture perfect, weather wise. The rest was just perfect. We signed the guest book (which includes an introduction by Lisa and Carol explaining how they moved to the Valley when Carol was diagnosed with a life-threatening aneurism) and, despite our best efforts, found the road back to the airport.
Tallaringa, located in the Tallebudgera Valley in the Gold Coast hinterland in Queensland, is approximately a two-hour drive south of Brisbane. For bookings, phone 07 5533 8085 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The editor of this page, Dominic O’Grady, is a director of Gay Travel Guides.