We couldn't get a coupon for a discounted stay, they had sold out by the time we'd made up our mind. Therefore we paid the full retail price of $240 a night including dinners and breakfasts for Saturday and Sunday night.
Our drive from Sydney was stunning, one of those sunny winters days where the sky is crystal blue and the grass is green like Ireland. The Dungog-Glouchester area is truly beautiful so the three hour drive was an absolute pleasure
Our room was in a row of rooms like most 1970's country motels, small, dark, not enough lights to read a book, a comfortable bed and heated by a small reverse cycle air conditioner from the 1970's that sounded like a 747 taxiing. There was no door to the bathroom, just a curtain. The toilet had a thin door but didn't feel private without a bathroom door, your sleeping partner will always know how many sheets of paper you used. We booked a room with a spa and this was a good idea because in winter a long soak in the generously sized spa tub was the highlight of each day.
The setting of the resort is quite idyllic, rolling green paddocks with fat grazing cattle, horses, blue hills as a backdrop. Take your camera, this is classic Australian countryside at its best.
Riverwood offers a wide range of accommodation, ranging from a massive bunk-room to hotel rooms to private cabins. There is a central dining-room and an outdoor cafe around the back which uses the same kitchen. The resort was built in the early seventies, and although quite functional, the place is in need of a facelift.
The staff are quite cheery and helpful. Things get a bit stretched at dinner-times, the waiting staff are helpful but miss a lot of things. I had to walk over to the bar to get drinks when ours ran out. We waited forty-five minutes between entree and mains. The kitchen was running full steam but wasn't up to feeding the thirty or so guests who were waiting patiently.
The menu wasn't very adventurous and I suppose it's not fair to expect avant garde dining in a country farm-resort, but this was very 1960's fare: meat and three veg. The fish served to the next table looked good, but my steak was chewy to say the least. My fellow traveler was vegetarian and the vegetarian meals were very plain-Jane, just pasta with sauce one night and steamed vegetables the next. Come on guys, there are lots of vegetarians in Australia, it's no longer a fad. Google up some veg recipes, please.
I'd say three-star was more appropriate than the four and a half advertised. We had a good time, didn't feel it was great value for money for $240 a night, but the scenery and fresh country air were a delight. Don't know if we'd go back again, we don't mind paying that sort of money for a good weekend away but we'd like to see better meals and a refresh of the room decor; better lighting, a bathroom door and a quieter means of heating the room.
I hope this doesn't discourage you from going, it was a memorable stay for the natural beauty alone, but don't expect city standards.
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- Also Known As:
- Riverwood Downs Mountain Valley Hotel Monkerai