Nightcap Ridge, your stunning and secluded getaway positioned right in the middle of a World Heritage Listed National Park.

After a hearty meal (cooked for you over an open fire), with bevy in hand and under a blanket of stars, owners Sara and Fraser Duddy (if asked) will give you a brief and interesting run down of the fascinating history of the parcel of freehold land they were fortune to snap up and have since turned into a unique retreat and events venue.

In summary it was previously gifted to a return serviceman who did an excessive amount of "trimming" and was later replenished with tens of thousands of natives by the forester owner who thankfully followed. Lush once again, the property and its surrounds (which include Minyon falls), are truly worth exploring.


So is the nearby town of Federal where you can have your fill of delicious local food you won't quickly forget.

Two of the regions best foodie offerings can be included in your itinerary on route to Nightcap Ridge, so do yourself a favour and stop by.


DOMA in Federal is a Japanese / Aussie Fusion with infamous food and the humblest owners around.


BENNILATO'S Gelato cart is the real deal, imported from Italy and full to the brim with delicious flavours. Benny has made a name for himself around these parts and it's easy to see why.



A taste of Italy in the hills is a welcome surprise and will have you mentally planning your next European adventure.


Back at the Nightcap Ridge ranch, the welcome quiet delivers peace to unwind, and the beauty of the surrounds, stimulus to create. Nightcap Ridge is a regular stay for authors writing their next novel, it's a retreat for returning yogis and relaxing stay among nature for singles, couples and families looking to reset or connect. It's a wedding venue which I would be choosing.


For me, night time is the most memorable at Night Cap Ridge and so it both begins and ends this story. As you enjoy wine and cheese, and that hearty meal around the fire under that blanket of stars, not only will the moment be forever imprinted in your mind, but during the course of all of this indulgence the magic forest fairy (sorry Frase!) lights your cabin fire so your room is toasty on return and you couldn't feel more welcome or happy with your entire experience.


What was in the pot you all asked on instagram? Smokey Chorizo and bean stew! I'll be back for another serve and to visit the Duddy's who have since become friends.





Serenely positioned across from the Maclaey river, as you round the bend towards Salt Resort, it is revealed to be a much needed sanctuary from the demands of daily life.

Sweet, pristine, white cabins dotted down the road appear as though they are familiar friends welcoming you to unwind and forget everything except your presence here in Southwest Rocks.


Before even entering through the modern yet ornate security gate, I get a sense that when our stay is over I'll be reluctant to leave.


With a watering hole in the middle of the property sundowners are on the cards and as you converse with friends or family either at the pub or on your own cabin deck you can almost be certain the sunset will continue to stop conversation as it deepens and glows. The colour-soaked sky kisses the sparkling water below where silhouettes of fishing boats complete natures canvas, well worth the interruption.


For a clean freak with discerning interior design taste I found the inside of the cabins to be a relief, styled with the warmth of a coastal apartment they are spot on for the destination and spot-less so I could enjoy settling in.

Manicured front gardens become a spectacle when four roos varying in size appear before us, one so large and strong (aka boxing kangaroo) we acknowledge the moment to be as "true blue" as they come.


With two inviting pools on site and a domestic travel destination I’m keen to discover, this trip will not only be fun filled but after long days shooting television the simple, paired back Salt Resort luxury will be restorative.


Gone Fishing!

If you’ve not tried fishing before this is the way to do it. Right across the road from your accommodation Matty from South West Rocks Estuary Charters will have you catching bait fish on your first attempt, he’ll hook a few worms to help you catch your first fish with ease and show you the magic of the Maclaey River in her shimmering glory. Fish and birds are in abundance and you’ll leave your life behind for the morning to relax among nature and potentially discover you have some skills with a rod.


A boat ride back, skip and a jump and you can be up to the former prison for hardened criminals Trial Bay Jail learning her interesting past and taking photos amongst the spectacular granite backdrop.

Checking the acoustics of the cells (“Hello...hello, HELLOOO!...hellooo!”) and taking a selfie behind bars is a must, topped off with a look out over Horseshoe Bay and the location of the prisoner built break wall. I can only imagine how spectacular the jail is at night when prison tours take place along with the occasional wedding reception and art inspired event.


Having been to South West Rocks and the Maclaey Valley Coast before, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it a second time. With the addition of the new Salt Resort coupled with a perfect day on the water catching dinner and exploring the history of Trial Bay Jail, the recipe came together to really hit the spot.

Aside from being momentarily locked up for the sake of a few fun shots, I was recooped, recharged and ready to head back to reality with a refreshed sense of positivity thanks to a region that has more than meets the eye.