Justine Tyerman spends a long weekend at a stunning beachfront home on the Bouddi Peninsula New South Wales Central Coast, highly recommended by Luxe Houses, an ultra-luxury villa rental agency based in Sydney.
I tiptoe downstairs at first light to sit by the window in my favourite spot on a chaise longue, one of two, beside a powerful telescope so I can study the ecstasy on the faces of the early-bird surfers as they catch a perfect winter wave.
I snuggle up under the softest faux fur blanket made by Cruz. The Luxe Houses beachfront villa at Killcare, 90 minutes’ north of Sydney, is warm but I love the cosiness of the blanket anyway.
The elevation of the house gives the effect of watching scenes from a play on a broad stage below. I’m witnessing the theatre of the beach unfold as if from a private opera box above the beach. The all-glass frontage of Killcare Beach House with floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors offers no impediment to the seascape panorama.
The blue grey sea and the silver grey sky, merge into one in the gloom of an August dawn. There’s a dark smudge on the horizon suggesting a ship.
Every morning at precisely 6.45am an elderly man appears on the beach with a small fluffy white dog. He strips off to his togs, dives into the surf and does some serious swimming followed by a brisk walk along the beach and 15 minutes of vigorous ball-throwing with his waggly-tailed canine friend.
The silvery sky takes on a ripe apricot glow as the sun begins to climb back to its southern realm. Sunbeams strike the dark rocks of the headlands, painting them gold. Rows of waves rise up like moving folds in rumpled taffeta, then peak and smash on the shore in tongues of white froth. The foam is iridescent in the sun.
Fishing boats chug over the humps and hollows of the heavy swell, heading for a reef where waves are breaking far offshore in a thin white line.
Yachts with tall white sails lean this way and that, and whale watch boats cluster around a dark shape suggesting they have struck treasure. Humpbacks migrate south along this coast from October to November and north from June to August. I conclude that Killcare Beach House is a perfect spot to watch for whales given that there are two high-powered telescopes in the place, both in prime beach-facing locations.
My vantage point on the middle level of the three-storey home places me almost level with the treetops. The stately Norfolk pine out front is a magnet for birds, a favourite perch for the districts’ feathered ones. A raucous flock of parakeets are regular visitors, squawking to each other about life. They settle at the very top of the tree, weighing down the slender branches in a most precarious manner.
I also spot a kookaburra which is exciting for a Kiwi, and some small parrot-like birds with brilliant plumage.
I like to write about my experiences while I’m on location but so often here, a delicious doziness overtakes me and defeats my attempts.
Relaxation sets in whenever I sit on the chaise longue and sleep comes in gentle waves, leaving my sentences unfinished on an open iPad, fingers lying languidly on the keys. In the afternoons, we all succumb to the soothing, lulling effect of the waves, drifting in and out of sleep.
In these last few days, I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful house and the tranquil beach enclosed in rocky headlands. It’s 1.6km long, the perfect walking distance at dawn before brekkie and at sunset before drinks. What is it about a beach that compels me to walk from one end to the other, touching the farthest boulder at each extreme? Named Putty Beach because it’s the colour of fresh putty, somewhere near our house, it turns into Killcare, a place to kill your cares.
The Bouddi Peninsula is home to a string of pristine beaches, each one a jewel encased in rugged headlands where the waves at full tide thump the rocks, leaping metres into the air in walls of white foam.
Over the hill at Hardy’s Bay tidal inlet, it’s more heavily populated – there are restaurants, cafes, a general store, wine shop, art galleries and boat charters but we prefer quiet, secluded Killcare. A busy Saturday sees all of 25 people on the beach, usually outnumbered by their assorted pooches. Most gather at the nearby surf club kiosk for lunch. We sat at a table on the grass and had the best fish and chips we’ve ever tasted while watching children play in a warm, sheltered rock pool in mid-winter.
For those looking for sophisticated dining, Killcare boasts the award-winning Manfredi at Bells. Chef Stefano Manfredi is rated so highly, well-to-do Sydney-siders often catch a seaplane there just for lunch.
One day, we decided we really should explore the wider region and went driving up the coast to better-known centres such as Avoca Beach, Terrigal and Copacabana. We came back fast, having reached the conclusion that Killcare is far superior in every respect. There were sighs of relief as we arrived home. Why try to improve on the perfect? We have all the creature comforts we need at our Killcare home thanks to a mind-boggling array of services provided by our concierge.
Should we desire, we can have gourmet food delivered to our door, a chef come to cook lunch, dinner or canapes for a cocktail party, enjoy an in-house massage and beauty treatment, have a personal trainer call by to conduct a fitness session or take surfing or stand-up paddle-boarding lessons.
There’s an abundance of everything at this house. Every room, including all the bedrooms and the kids’ bunkroom and rumpus room have magnificent ocean views, opening onto balconies.
There’s ample space for all age-groups. No one is disadvantaged, certainly not the children. Next door to the bunkroom, the younger ones have their own sunny, rumpus room with chunky couches, trundler beds, a play station, television and drawers stacked with books and games. The adults have the choice of the main lounge on the middle level or a quiet retreat on the top floor with arguably the best view of all from a balcony that extends the full length of the house.
The beds in all five bedrooms are festooned with pillows, seven apiece, and the wardrobes are stacked high with extra everything – Italian-made knit blankets, quilts, throw rugs and more pillows. The linens, cotton and fine wools are sensuous to the touch and echo the colours of the Australian landscape.
In addition to the five bathrooms, there are two outside showers for de-sanding prior to entering the house.
The would-be chefs in our family were deliriously happy with the acres of marble bench and island space where they had their own preparation space and two large butlers’ sinks. There are table settings for 24, countless platters, and cooking appliances on hand in open racks, shelves and drawers. A row of stools at the island bench is the ideal spot for breakfast, snacks and kids’ meals.
If there was an option to open up a wall, the architect took it, incorporating huge sliding doors, louvres or shutters into the design to enhance airflow and light. In warm weather, solid walls are banished – the whole house can be thrown open.
The poolside patio with its outside kitchen-BBQ station, eight-seater table and overhead heaters, is a masterstroke. The space is enclosed by louvres, shutters and sliding glass doors which can be opened, closed or angled to suit all manner of wind and weather conditions… including the roof.
Luxe Houses must have bought out the whole range of Appelles’ spa products not to mention the exquisite bespoke Cocolux candle scents, selected by Cocolux for Luxe Houses – ‘Sweet Pomegranate and Acai’ is the fragrance for Killcare. It’s a big-hearted house which over-delivers in every respect.
At the end of each day, I return to my ‘opera box’ to watch the final scene of the play – the last of the dog walkers, surfers, soft-sand joggers and couples hand-in-hand leaving the beach as the curtain of darkness descends.
- Justine Tyerman was a guest of Luxe Houses at NSW Central Coast property Killcare Beach House.
- All reservations with Luxe Houses include access to concierge services who can arrange (at additional cost) private charter jets, helicopter transfers, yachts, launches, jet-boats, private chefs, waiter staff for guest occasions, butlers, drivers, bespoke spa treatments, experienced nannies, guides, personal trainers and anything else to help make your stay flawless
- Getting there: Air New Zealand flies direct to Sydney from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.
- JUCY Rentals assisted with transport