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  • Venue Crush: Oaks Ranch Redefines Luxury Accommodation on the South Coast

Venue Crush: Oaks Ranch Redefines Luxury Accommodation on the South Coast

A transformation of a ‘70s-style hotel sets a new standard for dreamy escapes on the South Coast of NSW.

The small seaside town of Mossy Point, on the South Coast of NSW, seems worlds away from it all with its pristine coastline and rolling hills of native bushland. Sitting south of Bateman's Bay, this coastal town's easy-going nature and sun-kissed days are synonymous with the South Coast's newest boutique getaway, The Oaks Ranch

Set on 300 acres of rural and native grounds and moments from the beach, accidental hoteliers and owners Lisa and Martin Cork saw the potential in a property that had provided what the original owner called an 'Aussie experience' to international tourists. 

"The motel was built in the '70s by an American man to be a 'dude ranch', inspired by the Spanish Mission style of his homeland. Children would come for stays in the school holidays and learn to milk cows, ride horses, practice archery and shear sheep," explains Lisa. "It was also promoted to Japanese tourists as an Aussie experience." 

A rural property that backs onto the Tomago River with a classic ‘70s motel vibe was an opportunity that Lisa and Martin found too hard to resist.  

"We were first introduced to the property almost 20 years ago and instantly fell in love. It epitomised our passions for rural living and having the ocean only a few minutes away," says Lisa. "On first sight, we were inspired and in awe. The beauty of the rural property with all the kangaroos, birdlife and a 9-hole golf course, being only five minutes from the coast, was very appealing. It's hard to find such a unique offering. We purchased the property in a syndicate in 2004 and later, in 2017, acquired it outright."  

"From the dude ranch, it evolved into the ‘70s motel that was a classic! Good bones that needed a contemporary overhaul. It was too good not to enhance. Everyone that visited the property was blown away that it was even there. A South Coast rough diamond that just needed a good polish," she says. 

And so that is exactly what they did. Maintaining the Spanish Mission style of the property, with its classic arches, curves, timber exposed beams and thick stucco-clad exterior, Lisa and Martin engaged interior design studio Partridge Daniels to bring a Spanish Mission meets Palm Springs vibe to the property.  

From studios to two bedrooms, the 14 newly renovated suites with stunning views of the Deua Mountain Ranges come complete with Zelige handmade tiles, soft furnishings and relaxed finishings that pay tribute to the coastal location. The ARLO restaurant and bar flow to a Mediterranean-style alfresco area for outdoor dining. The hotel pool is just beyond the alfresco, with five private cabanas and daybeds. Then there is an event space that can be set up for functions, small conferences or weddings. 

When it came to the most defining feature of the property, it was hard to pick just one. "The natural beauty of the 300-acre property and location, close to amazing beaches. The alfresco, pool area and firepits. The beautiful bar and dining room. The gardens and the golf course that is covered in mobs of kangaroos. And the rooms are beautiful," says Lisa. 

Overlooking the hotel pool, ARLO showcases South Coast's homegrown produce and ocean-fresh seafood. Signature dishes include grilled barramundi with Paris mash and broccolini, raw tuna with ponzu sauce and bonito, and Tempura prawns with nasturtium, chilli and ginger. 

Yet, all this is just the beginning for The Oaks Ranch. Still to come are 12 additional hotel rooms and self-contained resort villas, and the existing nine-hole golf course will be upgraded to a signature Greg Norman-designed course. 

"The vision, so far, has been a very organic evolution. We haven't rushed the process, and we have lived in the space for many years. I think this has helped us to get it just right. We are mindful of creating something special that sits in the environment and is a place of beauty. On arrival, we want guests to feel that they could be anywhere in the world," says Lisa. 


Interior Design: Partridge Daniels @partridge_daniels 

Landscape: Karen Ruthven Landscape Design 

Photography: Abbie Melle Photography @abbie_melle 

Words: Margaret Quilter @inky.content 

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