Sorrell heads for Dungog.
Your train carriage accommodation.
Feeding the locals.
Surround yourself in rolling hills, streaming rivers and mountain ranges. You can do a whole lot of something or a whole lot of nothing.
Dungog is a moderately sized country town with a wide main street and a population of 2500. It is in a valley surrounded by rolling hills, adjacent to the Williams River, and is the gateway to Barrington Tops National Park, which has an enormous diversity of plant and animal life. More than 50 plants in the area are listed as rare, threatened or endangered.
The surrounding hilly terrain provided cover for bushrangers, and the town was established as a military post. The courthouse, built in 1838, was a barracks and stables for troopers who drove bushrangers, including Captain Thunderbolt, over Gloucester Tops and out of the area.
The town school, built in 1843, was architect Edmund Blacket's second of many famous commissions in the colony.
In the 1860s, timber-cutting was supplemented by a tannery, tobacco factory and flour mill. The railway arrived in 1911.
Lynda and Brian Dyett bought their 360-hectare property about 10 years ago, planning to run cattle. Their thoughts changed when they saw five old train carriages for sale, and Plan B went into action.
They had never had an interest in trains, but as the main Brisbane line runs through their property, they decided that people who came to stay would rather like the train theme. The carriages are just 80m away from the train line, so they do attract trainspotters.
After 1½ years' of much renovating, the Dyetts opened their resort, with "before" photographs showing just how much work has gone into the rundown, graffiti-covered carriages.
Four have been transformed into accommodation each sleeping four to six, so are ideal for families or small groups. The other is for dining, and doubles as a check-in area. There are also two spa lodges and a Studmaster's Cottage on the property, but they don't have a train-related theme.
The spa lodges are self-contained with softly lit native gardens and carport. The Studmaster's Cottage has four bedrooms, air conditioning, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen, enclosed verandah with views and a slow combustion fire.
The dining car was built in Walsh Island Dockyard, Newcastle in 1928. It is air conditioned, and overlooks the 12m, in-ground, salt-water pool. The pool has a spa and waterfall and is set in beautiful, landscaped gardens. It is fenced for safety.
There are lots of places of interest close-by, and the Dyetts will arrange picnic hampers to go. Continental breakfast can also be arranged.
So, here is the ideal place for a break in a country town. Who knows, if you aren't already one, you may turn into a trainspotter, just by staying in the Flyer, Ghan, Zig Zag or 3801.