So, I was playing this song (There's a place up on the hill, let's go, let's go, let's go) in the VW Golf Turbo (rental car upgrade) as I was driving up the very steep hill at night to visit Rob and Marina Izatt at their mini-resort (that they built themselves!) - The Bunyip Scenic Rim Resort.
They've built an extraordinary mini-resort. I've had permission to take a day out from work when I need it to process my grief, and since Rob and Marina had been unable to come to Paul's funeral, I drove up to see them and get some much-needed space at the end of 3 interstate trips.
Just east of Aratula, the property overlooks the volcanic rim of the Range north of Cunningham's Gap, and the valley and hills below. The apartments are extremely well styled - clean and contemporary design, exceptional quality. The kind of room that feels like a bit of luxury, but then immediately gets out of your way so you just enjoy the surroundings.
The view from the apartments is both spectacular and soothing. There are four units for couples (ie. one double bed) overlooking one of the most remarkable views in Queensland. Upstairs bedroom and bathroom, downtairs lounge. The quality of the buildings, furniture, fittings is first class. (I say this because I thought, oh yeah, my friends built a motel... how wrong I was. The place is just excellent in every way, but not ostentatious or showy. It just feels right.)
Here's the view from the bedroom. Yeah.
The Great Room serves as a function room, with a lounge at one end and an open kitchen. They cater for weddings and other events (Rob and Marina are excellent cooks). Fireplace, comfy lounges, and a huge data projection screen if you want it. Marina is a qualified masseuse. People come up to the Resort for masages because the setting is so peaceful. While I was there, two people came up for a massage. One sits for an hour looking over the view while the other has a massage.
Rob flies gliders and has links to the local club. They've built a grass tennis court and have started on a Japanese bath house at the edge of the property overlooking the valley. (You know, just the two of you... warm bathhouse... amazing view). There's an outdoor fire pit to gather round on the chilly nights. Rob also has a 10 inch telescope and it is simply the clearest view of the night sky that you're likely to see. We talked about building a couple of golf holes. Up the back you can take a bit of a climb up the mountain, and Marina talked about designing some exercise stations along the way.
Is this an advertisement? Heck yes! I stayed one night and will bring Yvonne back next time. For those of us who aren't high-flyers, it is a "special weekend" kind of place (currently $490 for a couple for a weekend). But I can also imagine that price trebling in the future.
I love seeing someone do their craft well. I was gobsmacked by how well these two are living their crafts. Wonderful friends. Wonderful, healing place.
Above all, Rob and Marina are warm, personable hosts, and the guest feedback, both online and in their guest book, testified to that.
Go visit. Just drive up and have a look. A left turn after the Kalbar turnoff and before Aratula. I guarantee you'll come back and stay. For me, just an overnight stay was a much-needed blessing. Really. I came away thinking that this is a place to be at peace.
Now I have to convince Rob to build a pizza oven and then show him some pizza tricks ... And convince them to get a REAL coffee machine in the Great Room and invite my niece Anna to teach them to be baristas.
At the end of this I reflect that in many ways Rob and i are chalk and cheese. He can build a dream like this happen, while I'm a dreamer who imagines stuff that almost never comes to fruition. I have almost no practical skills. I was deeply delighted and amazed by what these dear friends of mine are making. I am in awe of them. And I treasure our friendship.
PS... "Let's Go, Let's Go Let's Go" That's the title of the first song from "The Magic Door" by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Chris is the singer of the two brothers who were in The Black Crowes (remember "Thorn In My Pride"), who played smooth and crunchy Southern rock. His new music is like a drug trip from 1970-something. On the one hand its wonderful, melodic, bluesy music. But there's also a very trippy, new age side to it. These guys are smoking something and on a spaceship to who-knows-where... If that sounds like a reason to avoid this album, its not! The lyrics are straight out of hippyland, but at this stage in my faith I can listen to new-agey poetics and not throw the CD in the bin. The sonic palette of the music is quite spectacular. Have a listen!