A working farm overlooking the dramatic gorges of New England, Cheyenne Wilderness Retreat offers a taste of life on the land.
Some accommodation serves as a place to rest your head, shower and regroup for the next outing, but Cheyenne Wilderness Retreat is different. The secret is in the name, of course; it’s a place to relax and unwind, a place to savour.
Located a 40 minute drive down windy country back roads from Walcha, Cheyenne is blissfully remote and a destination unto itself. Help with the farm duties and meet the animals if you like, or simply relax and do precious little but enjoy the serenity. For city folk accustomed to the hustle and bustle, it’s like a tonic for your soul.
Cheyenne is a 2000-acre working cattle property positioned high on the precipice where the fertile plateau of New England grazing country drops away in spectacular fashion into the gorges of the Oxley Wild River National Park.
Where rural idyll meets wild, thickly forested ravines, Cheyenne encapsulates much of what is great about New England High Country. It shares its eastern fence with the national park, and the view from the homestead and accommodation is to die for.
Cheyenne is owned and managed by the Blomfield family, husband and wife duo Nick and Alex and their three young children, who are fifth generation on the property. Nick’s parents Sue and Burgh established the farmstay and still help with the running of it. Their house is also on the property.
The Blomfield children are a delight, and guests’ kids can potter along with them as they complete their afternoon chores collecting the eggs, feeding the pig and tending to the pet horses, ducks, sheep – you name it. They are also more than happy to share their play equipment and sandbox, so there’s plenty for the littlies to do at Cheyenne.
Gabby, the eldest, will take you by torchlight after dark to meet a very special resident of the property, the endangered rock wallaby. Gabby’s enthusiasm for her animals as she completes her chores is infectious and will doubtlessly delight visiting children and adults alike of a more urban persuasion.
If you’ve ever wanted to introduce your kids to life on a farm, this is the place to do it.
You might even be able to ride along in the truck with Nick as he goes to move the cows from one paddock to another in accordance with the farm’s environmentally friendly ‘cell-grazing’ technique, which limits the use of chemicals and allows the soil time to recover. Cheyenne is working towards completely organic production. Even Nick’s ‘mustering’ technique is gentle: he simply calls out the window of the truck, which is loaded up with feed, and they come running. You catch more bees with honey, after all!
There are three self-contained accommodation options available at Cheyenne. The Homestead Wing is detached but close to the Blomfield’s house, with private access and a wrap-around veranda overlooking the fenced yard and the rolling countryside beyond. It has two bedrooms and sleeps four, with its own bathroom, kitchenette and living space.
The Garden Cottage is a hop, skip and a jump from the homestead and sleeps six. It has a full-sized kitchen, dining area and separate sitting room complete with the comfort of a slow combustion wood heater, and the three bedrooms can sleep a family comfortably. It offers separate laundry and a private deck overlooking the gorge.
The third option, Bimbimbi, is a little further afield. A three minute drive from the homestead, it’s a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on a spacious block with a huge open plan kitchen and living space opening onto an entertainer’s deck overlooking the gorge country. Perfect for large families and groups, staying at Bimbimbi is like having your own private country homestead.
There are plenty of options for bushwalks on both the property and into the national park, or head into Walcha for lunch and a wonder around the shops. Don’t miss the lovely Walcha Handmade. Of course, if you’d prefer to simply sit on the deck with a glass of wine and a book watching the shadows play on the gorges as the sun drops, no one would begrudge you.
At Cheyenne, do as much or as little as you like.