If you're up for a drive, then set your compass to north-western NSW, just 4 1/2 hours from Brisbane to Warialda, Place of Wild Honey, to a farm called Willunga. With a population of only 1300 people, Warialda is a nature lover's playground. But it's what's on 9,000 acres that had me heading to this rural country town.
Two generations of the Munsie family have called Willunga home since 1897. Starting as Merino sheep farmers, then later, they introduced beef. But with the worst drought in history hitting the farm hard in 2018 and with the catch cry diversify or die in the bush, the Munsies chose to diversify.
If you've ever watched The Dome TV series, you'll experience some of the aspects like being in a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world. Confused? Then read on.
There is a dome in a land far away that sits on 9,000 acres of pure Australian countryside—aptly named Far Away Domes. It's 5-star luxury accommodation without the resort surroundings or other resort guests. There is just one dome sitting in the middle of the bush, it may not be in a resort, but it has all the luxuries of a 5-star hotel ( minus the room service).
The Munsies came up with the concept after travelling around Vancouver and seeing how everyone would get excited and whip out their camera's as they spotted sheep, native birds and wildlife. It hit them like a lightning bolt, "we live in the most spectacular place in Australia, and we have all this and more right at our back door". With that, they decided to add a geodesic dome to their 9,000-acre property.
While 98% of the roads into Willunga are pretty good driving, it's the last 2% that gets you off the road and roughing it through dirt tracks until you reach your accommodation. Just there behind the tree, resting against the rock face, you will see the dome.
Eco friendly, this dome has a wow factor that will take your breath away, and you'll find yourself saying just that as soon as you slide open the door. The fully equipped kitchen looks like it comes straight out of a Home Beautiful magazine and an equally impressive full bathroom with a rainwater shower head, carved stone basin, and compost toilet to match. The lounge room area is warm and welcoming, with a brown leather lounge facing east to catch the sunrise. If you want to detach from the world, then there is plenty of books to read while curled up on the couch or if you're a gamer, try your winning hand at the many board games to play. If you don't want to detach and MUST keep up to date with the current world event, then the TV does have local channels and a hard drive full of movies.
The gorgeous four-poster bed, a piece made by William Munsie, is perfectly placed to catch the sunrise. No block out curtains here, and why would you when you get woken up each morning by something truly beautiful as a morning sunrise and stunning countryside. Overlooking the great southern lands is a wrap-around deck with BBQ facilities and an entertainment area to sit and enjoy your charcuterie board and afternoon beverages. Take a plunge in the pool (bathers optional) to cool down from a hot day in the summer sun or after one of many bushwalks you can do here while staying at the dome. But my absolute favourite feature, a claw foot bath in a prime position on the deck with rustic tapware and bath bubbles to squirt into your steaming hot water, slip in, sit back, relax and soak up the serenity and ambience.
The dome is not only off road, but it's also off grid, so it's all powered by solar, water supply by the heavens above, and a compost toilet. That doesn't mean you are roughing it while here though, the hot water is plentiful and water pressure better than most resorts. The gas tanks allow you to cook up a feast in the full-size kitchen.
Just because you're off-grid doesn't mean you miss out on luxury items; you won't boil in your bubble as there is a massive ceiling fan lightly moving the air around the dome along with a reverse cycle air conditioner.
It's a rustic-chic yet modern dome, and throughout, you'll find unique wooden pieces made by hand by Will Munsie himself and branded with the WM symbol.
With the kangaroos bouncing by, the eagles flying, and sheep calling in the morning rise, did the Munsie's capitulate their dream, the one that hit them like a lightning bolt in Vancouver? by god they sure did.
Be sure to see the surrounding sites like the thermal baths at Moree, the natural wonder of Cranky Rock or take a hike to MacIntyre Falls.