Upon entering Walker’s Run, we are immediately drawn through the house to where a wall should have been. Instead, we find we can walk through the open air, thanks to the folding mass of huge glass panel doors, that open onto a large deck. We find ourselves sitting high on a ridge looking down into the valley and across to rolling hills of lush green bushland.
The only sound we hear is the breath of gum trees rustling in the mild breeze and the occasional call of the whip birds piercing the air.
It is spectacularly quiet, and we’re only an hour and a half from Sydney.
Walker’s Run, hosted by Ruth and Rob, is located in Bucketty, New South Wales between Yengo National Park and the Olney State Forest. This unique accommodation, booked through Airbnb, is authentically rustic yet provides all the modern conveniences you would ever need. If they don’t have it, chances are Ruth will run out and get it for you.
They bought this idyllic spot in 2001. It was just a piece of land back then, but Ruth and Rob have built up this treasure with a mixture of caravans, reclaimed materials and a whole lot of eccentricity.
It’s one of a kind that’s for sure.
The interior of Walker’s Run is decidedly homey, but the décor is stylish and well thought out. Themed in the spirit of the American Southwest, weathered saddles, cow skulls, and rusty farm equipment gracefully adorn the walls. Every nook and cranny reminds us of cattle drives and Cowboys and Indians from the old west.
Throw in a mix of Rock and Roll with Rob, our cohost, posing for pictures with the likes of Keith Richards, Richard Marx, Tina Turner, and Mick Jagger. A Platinum record from Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” hangs in the hallway.
Rob tells us a few stories of his days as the tour manager for Tina Turner. One particularly good one was where he informs Mick Jagger and Tina Turner it’s up to them to talk air traffic control into allowing their private jet to land in a CLOSED airport. (Spoiler alert: they land!)
As the International Director at Capitol Records. he spent quite a bit of time travelling. In fact, he tells us he would arrange his schedule so could bypass London in order to spend more time in Amarillo, Texas. Hence, the love for the southwest.
You begin to see why they call this place “funky”.
The kitchen is equipped with everything you might possibly need for preparing meals. You do need to bring along your own milk and drinking water, along with your normal groceries. The property does provide a full size refrigerator for guests to use. Unless your carrier is Optus, expect patchy mobile coverage. There is internet available but my guess is you won’t miss either.
There’s plenty to keep you entertained: Board games, a library of books, a 50” Plasma TV (with Foxtel), and a vast array of DVD’s will keep you busy for days if you ever tire of the fantastic views. You also have the option of an overflowing array of CDs, which is not unexpected given Rob’s background, with an available Bluetooth receiver and great sound system, piped through indoor and outdoor speakers.
Comfy leather couches and deck chairs provide ample opportunity to look out over the deck and watch the weather change on the horizon. The house accommodates six adults comfortably (sorry, no kids). Two bedrooms, one with a queen size, the other a double bed, are housed in eclectically decorated refurbished caravans. The master bedroom is tucked behind the main lounge allowing for plenty of privacy. It features a king size bed housed in a frame Rob made by hand, and it shares the amazing views of the valley.
Regardless of the eccentricity of the décor and the comfort of the house, it is our hosts, Ruth and Rob, that make this property truly unique. From the moment of our arrival, we were met with charm and graciousness. Ruth guided us through the house, making sure we understood the intricacies of the place. She had the fires primed, easy for us to light, in both the fire pits on the deck for the evening’s entertainment. She already had the combustion stove in the lounge room blazing and toasty when we arrived. With the details covered, our hosts retreat, leaving us to experience their home for ourselves.
In our prior experience with Airbnb we stayed in guest quarters, or holiday homes. Staying in someone’s actual home felt a lot different.
Although the house was born of humble origins, Ruth and Rob have grown Walker’s Run into a remarkable place to stay. Most people inquire about nearby cafes and restaurants when they book, but once they arrive, find no reason to leave (unless they are booked into one of Ruth’s great wine tours!).
I couldn’t agree more, it’s hard to say goodbye to paradise.
If you’ve never tried Airbnb and you want to check this place out, here’s a $20 Airbnb credit to get you started.
Things to Know about the property:
Where it Is: Located in Bucketty, N.S.W, tucked in between Peats Ridge and Wollombi
How to Get There: After booking your stay, Ruth will send you detailed directions. It’s tucked away and it’s best to keep the actual location private. Adds to the mystery, don’t you think?
Price: Check the Airbnb website for current pricing.. It’s worth a two-night stay.
Website: Walker’s Run is listed with Airbnb as Funky Wild West in the Aussie Bush.
Other things to keep in mind:
Being only 50 minutes from the spectacular Hunter Valley Wineries, Ruth regularly arranges private, door-to-door wine tours. Visiting a variety of wineries, distilleries, cheese and chocolate companies, enjoying a lunch at one of the fantastic vineyards, it’s worth inquiring about. Best of all, you can leave the driving to Ruth and enjoy all the area has to offer!
There’s more: Ruth also arranges transportation to and from the numerous Hunter Valley concerts. The concerts are usually hosted at Hope Estate, Roche Estate amongst some other other venues, so there’s no worries about drinking and driving (they are at wineries after all!.) Nor are there worries about finding your way back in the dark to Walkers Run!
Be prepared to disconnect.
Take your own food, making sure you include milk and drinking water.
Bookings can only be taken 36 hours or more before the requested time of arrival. Only registered guests may stay on the property. Any visitors of registered guests must be approved by the property owner in advance.
Bookings taken for adults only, all guest MUST BE 21 YEARS and older. (Babies are allowed and welcome but not once they are crawling due to the property not deemed as “childproof”, ie open fires, elevated decks etc.)
Lighting of outdoor fires is not permitted when Fire Bans are in place. At all other times permission must be approved by the owner (and taken seriously, given the location!)