Pretty Beach House

83 High View Rd, Pretty Beach NSW 2257, Australia

On a promontory within Bouddi National Park, overlooking a secluded bay and a short walk to an empty rust-red beach, Pretty Beach House lives up to its (classically understated Aussie) name. It’s hard to believe this intimate retreat is only a 90-minute drive from Sydney city center. Its location is spectacular and historic—spot the 2,000-year-old Aboriginal rock drawings on a nature walk nearby.

There are four guest pavilions, each outfitted with wood-burning fireplaces, deep-soaking clawfoot tubs, and sun-drenched decks overlooking Broken Bay and Angophora treetops (three have their own private plunge pools). Dining is included in the stay, and it’s exceptional: Celebrated chef Dean Jones takes freshly caught seafood and local produce and crafts them into modern Australian dishes, which you can enjoy anytime you like in the Beach House’s safari-chic dining room or poolside beneath the shady gums.

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More than just pretty

The name hints at the experience, but it doesn’t quite do it justice. Pretty Beach House is not just pretty; it’s stunning. Nestled into a seven-and-a-half-acre swath of semitropical Bouddi National Park, roughly a 90-minute drive or 20-minute seaplane ride from the Harbor City, Pretty Beach House is an intimate retreat immersed in nature. Four distinctive accommodations, from the copper-sheathed, wood-beamed Bayview to the two-level Retreat pavilion that’s nothing less than its name suggests, encourage guests to disconnect, soak in their bathtubs or outdoor plunge pools, and spin a record from the in-room vinyl collection. That is, if they’re not already out exploring the wild landscapes. Owners Brian and Karina Berry, who run the beloved Bells at Killcare retreat nearby, know a thing or two about hospitality, farm-to-table restaurants, and experiences that offer a sense of place. Every evening at Pretty Beach House, guests witness a traditional welcome ceremony by a member of the Darkinjung Aboriginal tribe, who might share some of the indigenous culture that steeps the land. Afterward, a luxury Italian dinner is served inside the main house—which is crafted from local mud bricks, hand-cut sandstone, and rail pylons from the 1880s. Original works by Australian artists such as Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, and John Olsen frame floor-to-ceiling windows. Outside, the peninsula’s peaks and waterways beckon guests out the next day—to hike, kayak, or ride the resort’s yacht to get closer to land and sea.

Pretty Beach House dreaming

A steep climb up a hair-raising driveway lands you high on the Bouddi Peninsula, a place amongst the eucalyptus trees and of spirituality and Dreamtime significance for aboriginal Australians, beside a national park where the bush meets the sea. Here in this pristine, untouched environment, perched above the world is the luxurious Pretty Beach House. All vaulted beamed ceilings, (local) sandstone floors and sweeping views over the eucalypts to the sparkling local waters, this is Sydneysiders’ dream weekend escape. The word ‘Bouddi’ is the local Aboriginal name for the eastern headland of Maitland Bay and has become synonymous with the national park and the surrounding area. It has various meanings in local Aboriginal languages, and is thought to mean ‘a heart’ or ‘water breaking over rocks. Rooms have all the fixings for a good G&T or three, no mini-bar sizes here. If something grape-based appeals, guests have full access to the stunning wine cellar. Chef Stefano Manfredi heads the kitchen here, and Italian tilts on old favourites is his thing: pappardelle with duck ragu, grilled John Dory, a rose-scented panna cotta served with poached rhubarb, with wines to match. Or choose to wine and dine in your own room. All meals and drinks are included, so relax knowing there’s won’t be another bill. But don’t go overboard, you’ll want to challenge yourself the next morning on the house bicycles around Pretty Beach, and even have a go flying down that hill.

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