It already seems like years ago, though it was only yesterday…
My Corpse writers, just the four of us, spent the weekend at Olvar Wood at Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast. Olvar Wood is a gorgeous, secluded retreat set on 20 acres of native bush, reached by a narrow, fairytale path overshadowed by branches and trees. The building is eco-friendly, boasting four bedrooms, separate dining, living room, wrap-around veranda with a view of either treetops or the Blackall Range, a massive kitchen and separate office, even a laundry. An atrium-style tropical garden with water feature is a centrepiece with glass walls, and a gorgeous unpolished pole occupies the landing between the dining area with its Jimmy Possum table and the generous lounge with its wood-burning heater and leather lounge suite.
Very occasionally, the sound of birdsong and wind-whispers is broken by a vehicle on the invisible access road. It is idyllic for writers, with no televisions at all, just a CD player in the sumptuous timber living room with its floor-to-ceiling glass walls and doors opening onto the veranda. Each of the four bedrooms — one is detached with en suite, two small ones share a bathroom and toilet — has a desk and dictionary. I scored the Hemingway Room, with its amazing flower-petal fan, dark timber bed, shower and spa bath, separate toilet and walk-in robe, and a wall of louvres offering a view of nothing but trees and sky.
Only a short, secluded drive from the village of Palmwoods, Olvar is ideally placed at the foot of the Blackall Range. Palmwoods has a superb Asian restaurant and pretty darn fine pizza cafe, with a couple of other cafes and greasy spoons and a bakery with superb pepper steak pies if you can get there early enough. There’s a bottle shop and an IGA and a pub and a funky shop or two, a chemist, a servo: all you need, really. The adventurous can scoot up the range to the tourist villages of Montville and Maleny or hit the concrete apartments and shopping precincts of the coast, but that wasn’t what this trip was about.
I confess I slept a lot. It took a while to leave the drudgery of everyday life behind — time and a few glasses of red, anyway. And then the words and ideas dribbled forth. Nothing another week of such serenity wouldn’t have helped.
This description doesn’t do the property justice. The kitchen is amazing, the gully with its rocky waterfall, the attention to detail right down to the dragonfly motif running from floor mats to tea towels to vases, the pantry large enough to lock children in … the whistle of the red kettle on the gas stove announcing the water’s hot, come and get a coffee and have a chat; the organic food and the organic toiletries, the smell of wet earth and leather and wood smoke … it’s special, all right, and highly recommended for the writer on the run who needs a space to stop and take stock. And maybe even get some words down.