Moonan Cottage, was the Moonan Brook school built in 1881, during the Denison gold rush era.
Today this historic cottage offers family and large groups a chance to step back in time and reunite with each other.
It is an ideal venue and accommodation for large celebrations and DIY weddings.
Moonan Cottage is a truly peaceful setting with fresh air, brilliant stars and an abundance of wildlife, all from the comforts of your exclusive holiday cottage set on over two acres of grounds with brook frontage, where you have the World Heritage listed rainforests of Barrington Tops State Forest at your doorstep with endless bush tracks, spectacular lookouts, watering holes and magnificent waterfalls.
We want you to meet Kathleen, Moonan Cottage’s host!
What inspired you to become an accommodation host for Moonan Cottage? What was your ‘a-Ha’ moment that got you inspired to start/open your business?
My husband and I were looking to moving to Moonan Brook permanently, We have a weekender that we have been coming to for years. When the opportunity came up for the tender for the Forestry Cottage. We decided it would be a great opportunity for us to transition.
What has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced in business so far?
I have run other businesses before, so the planning and the structure of the business side were easy for me, but the most challenging aspect of the Business was and still is social media, I had no idea of how it worked. As a small business there is limited budget for advertising and marketing, so I needed to get a grapple on social media I still just fumble through.
And the best?
The best part so far, is when we held our first wedding at the Cottage. When we first took over the Cottage, we looked at the magnificent Camphor Laurel tree and envisage it as being a perfect place to get married. The exclusivity use of the Cottage and grounds lent itself to being the perfect wedding venue. I had spent about 12 months planning and marketing the Cottage as a wedding venue. It was such a proud moment, I loved every minute and to say that I felt like it was my wedding was an understatement.
Anything exciting in the works for said business?
It will be extremely exciting when the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and we can start operating again. In the meantime we are taking advantage of this down time to refurbish the front veranda’s and other areas of the Cottage.
What’s your typical day look like?
We are very fortunate, that running the Cottage you are not required to be on board 24/7. Depending on what is happening at the Cottage you can have days where you work 10 hours or you have days where you are not required to do much.
Who inspires you the most?
I don’t have one person that inspires me the most, but I do admire strong people who overcome adversity.
You have visitors – what do you show them? What is the best thing they should discover about or in the Upper Hunter and why?
The Tops of course! With Barrington being 16kms from us, it is the ideal playground for our guests.
We would start the day off with morning tea at The Firs, Stewarts Brook State Forest. This is totally an enchanting adventure. A must see! You will feel like you have stepped into another world, extraordinarily little light penetrates the dense pine canopy, you will be captivated by its eerie but enchanting feeling. There is so much to explore and see. Every time we have visited the Firs we have come across Lyrebirds and other marsupials it is such a great experience. There is array of mushrooms that we have never seen before growing throughout the Firs, which is quite interesting.
The Firs Picnic Area is located within a former pine plot, near the western end of Barrington Tops Forest Road. After leaving the Firs we travel along to Polblue, the Polblue walking track is an easy track that children will love. Then travel along to Cobark Lookout.
Cobark Lookout is on the eastern edge of Barrington Tops State Forest, and provides beautiful views looking south. Located between Gloucester and Scone.
Lunch at Manning River on the banks of the Manning River, this stunning camping and picnic area is popular with four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and freshwater fisherman. It’s nestled in cool highland forests and close to the river.
We head back to the Cottage by stopping off at Moonan Outlook. This small lookout on the Western edge of the Barrington Tops delivers extensive and breath-taking views. A fantastic place to watch the sunset in the west!
What time of year should people visit the Upper Hunter and why?
Each season offers up a different experience and has its own unique beauty at Moonan Brook;
But there is something magical about a Moonan Brook in the winter. Winter is our busiest time of the year. We find that our guests love the cold, it is invigorating and with a chance of snow at the tops it is always a quick trip up for them to experience it. We have beautiful frosty mornings and campfires at night.
Spring is a time of when the leaves start to come back on the trees, the creatures are coming out of hibernation. Beautiful warm days and cool nights as the days start to get longer. Perfect days for walks, swimming, fishing
Summer is the perfect time to embrace the watering holes, with the Brook flowing at the back at the Cottage, it is perfect place to cool down and enjoy the ambiance and just relax. There is so many watering holes in the area to explore.
Autumn is a lot like spring, when it starts to cool down more, but have perfect days it is spectacular as the leaves start to fall from the trees.
What are you currently reading or binging on TV?
I am currently reading a lot about fruit gardens as I plan to make a mini orchard/fruit garden at home. I love watching DIY shows.
One thing you can’t live without while in lockdown?
That’s easy internet and wine, ok that’s 2 things.
To find out more about Moonan Cottage, visit their website or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.