Requiring respite from Sydney but without the time to leave it, Fleur Trotter found Calabash Bay Lodge, a truly epic retreat, only a morning commute from her doorstep.


You know, people will tell you that you have to “look outside the square” to discover something new. But sometimes you actually need to look inside the square, with wide fresh eyes, to see something “new” that was actually there all along. Calabash Bay is just such a place.

If we think of destinations for a few days’ holiday away from Sydney, the four corners of that “square” might be Bondi, the Southern Highlands, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast. Oh yes, for many of us, that’s where our minds automatically roam should we yearn for a home away from home, with luxury, seclusion and beauty. But if you look inside the square you’ll find a place that ticks all of those requirements and yet is really quite different.

Just an hour or so’s drive from Sydney, then a fun ten minute boat ride from Berowra Waters, is the stylish riverside Calabash Bay Lodge. No, it’s not a lodge full of people you don’t know, partying a weekend away and sharing your space. It’s yours. With enough bedrooms to sleep your family, several families, a bunch of dear friends or just you and your smooch partner as you indulge in a weekend getaway.

If you and your people want to be completely alone you can bring your own food and cook in the beautiful kitchen. If you want sumptuous catering it can be arranged for you, and if you want to eat at any of the highly acclaimed local riverside restaurants, then you can use the lodge’s “tinny” to putt to the restaurants at your leisure.

Calabash Bay Lodge is wonderfully appointed with beautiful fittings and furniture, and spaces that are cleverly designed to feel neither too crowded should a group wish to stay, nor cavernous if it’s just you and your sweetheart. It has plenty of outdoor and indoor relaxation space, all the mod cons of Wi-Fi access, TV and air con, and all the simplicity of nature right outside the glass frontage. Perched on the riverside, the view is magical, with bushland walks behind the lodge and riverside jaunts launched from your private jetty.

So, if you want to relax indoors or explore nature, Calabash Bay Lodge is a damn nice place to stay. And yes, it’s smack bang inside the do-able radius of a weekend away from Sydney. Look it up, it’s in the middle of the square. (You might have overlooked it previously, though it’s hiding in plain sight, simply because you never imagined such a unique destination existed so close to home.)

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 Thank you to Calabash Bay Lodge for letting our TBS reviewer stay at your retreat.

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