Corunna Station: The Cook's House, Hunter Valley

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Winding through the country roads of the Hunter Valley, passing rows upon rows of vineyards and wide open spaces, if you are lucky enough, this journey will lead you to the charming country retreat that is Corunna Station.

Driving up a dirt track, a cloud of dust will trail you, and wisp away into the breeze, as if a reminder to leave it all behind, if only for a while. After all, you’ve arrived here — The Cook’s House — a humble home among the gumtrees.

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Today, The Cook’s House is a charming two-bedroom cottage, lovingly restored into a short-stay home. Stepping inside, it’s easy to feel instantly comfortable, with its casual and eclectic interior, complimenting the natural beauty of its surrounding landscape.

For our stay, it was just the two of us, although there was plenty of room for another two guests. And while the main pull of the Hunter Valley are the many wineries, restaurants and happenings dotted about the region, the cottage naturally enticed us to stay put, welcoming us to get to know it a little better.

In doing so, we learnt that when you take a bath in the cottage’s claw-foot tub, with the back door wide open — the crisp, country air will put you at ease. We discovered that since the house faces west, the dipping sun puts on an almighty show as daylight fades, with the sky blazing a golden orange. And at night, when the horizon disappears into darkness and a cool chill sets in, we were reminded just how incredible the starry sky can be, away from the city lights — especially with the crackle of the open fire keeping us company on the verandah.

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What’s more, we came to know more about the property, not as it is today, but for what it once was.

Steeped in history, Corunna Station was established in 1880, and at the time, was the largest sheep shearing station in the Hunter. Only one of the three homes that make up the station, The Cook’s House is accompanied by The Country House and The Homestead. Other original structures of the farm are also still standing proudly, including the shearing shed, hay shed, and wood mill. The Cook’s House itself was once used by the station’s cook to prepare and feed their hard-working and hungry shearers.

Throughout our stay, I couldn’t help but think — if only the cooks could see it now.

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Waking up on our last morning at the cottage, the scene couldn’t be more quintessentially Australian. The kookaburras were sounding through the towering gums, the breaking sun was lighting up the valley, and a dozen kangaroos were skipping about the property, going about their business.

And when it came time to leave The Cook’s House behind, we set back out on the road from which we came. And on our hurried route home, I found comfort in imagining, driving up the dusty dirt track — to find ourselves, here again.