OUR TRAVELS ~ MAVIS'S KITCHEN & CABINS
WHEN our itchy feet feel the need to set off on another adventure or a weekend away, it’s sometimes easy to overlook beautiful spots in our own backyard in favour of more remote destinations.
With that in mind, we recently decided to head to down the highway to Mavis’s Kitchen and Cabins for a couple of days in the country, which, as it turned out, felt like a month.
Tucked in the lush yet underrated Tweed Valley at the base of Mount Warning, in Northern New South Wales, Mavis’s Kitchen has earned quite the reputation for its restaurant – set in a relocated 1900s Queenslander-style farmhouse - which is focused on principles of sustainability and fresh, seasonal produce, most of which is sourced from the extensive onsite garden and a neighbouring farm. We have visited the property previously for a long lunch however we highly recommend spending an entire weekend on the 25-acre former dairy farm for the full experience. It’s a hidden treasure.
There were our two tribes of four plus our parents so we opted to stay in the Mavis’s Farmhouse, which accommodates 10 guests. This was the ideal house to spend quality time with the ones we love most eating, drinking, exploring, playing games and resting. The house has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge farm-style kitchen for preparing family feasts, a dining and living room and a spacious timber deck – with a daybed and timber dining table – which proved the perfect spot for afternoon sundowners. It was clean and comfortable but rustic enough not to have to worry the kids were going to destroy the place. Plus, we loved sitting around a crackling fireplace at night listening to music, playing cards and PictIonary. Surrounded by towering trees and overlooking the dam, the house was private and tranquil. Well, it was tranquil until we turned up. If you are childfree, there have a Log Cabin or the Old Dairy for a romantic night away.
We opted to self-cater our dinners given eating out with four very active kids can be, well, far from relaxing especially after a long day exploring. Plus, we wanted to make the most of the large kitchen and prepare some delicious meals to enjoy as a family. Breakfast at Mavis’s Kitchen exceeded expectations, though. We started with a good strong flat white, made by our affable Italian waiter Ricky, followed by the chef’s three-egg omelette of the day with wilted greens from the garden. The kids indulged in the house-made scones with jam and cream because it would have been rude not to, right? They were fluffy and delicious and reminded us of the kind our grandmother used to make. Later in the afternoon, we also enjoyed a few delightful Mavis’s Davidson Plum Ink Gin cocktails outdoors as the sun set behind the mountains while the kids played on the sprawling grassy lawn surrounded by orchards, chased chickens and explored in one of the most impressive and beautiful vegetable, herb and edible flower gardens we’ve ever seen. The kitchen is open for breakfast and lunch from Wednesday through to Sunday and for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays from 5.30pm and offers healthy and wholesome dishes for kids like homemade sausages with salad and their very own chicken pie.
The onsite organic garden was a huge hit and we loved roaming around looking at the vibrant array of vegetables and herbs. We made the most of our beautiful location and enjoyed some games on the lawn with the kids and exploring the grounds. Country hospitality reigns supreme here and the staff, including the owner Peter, were warm and friendly and welcomed children with open arms.
We also took a drive to the sweet little township of Uki; just 7km drive away, one morning for a look around. With its thriving arts and craft community, farmer’s markets and post office, which has been transformed into a gallery and café, we highly recommend a day trip to Uki. Make sure you don’t leave without trying a famous homemade Uki pie - the smoked fish was a standout – and having a beer at the family-friendly Mount Warning Hotel.
We had our little ones in tow so we had to give it a miss but the scenic 8.8km [return] hike up Mount Warning through subtropical and temperate rainforest is an absolute must if your kids are a little older.
When we checked out of our Farmhouse, we spent the day at the nearby Tropical Fruit World, which has to be, hands down, our favourite attraction to visit as a family. With the knowledgeable staff, a biological sustainable horticulture philosophy and 165 acres of lush grounds to explore, this working fruit farm is as educational as it is fun for the whole family. Their farm tour enables you to learn about the 500 fruits growing on the plantation as well as taste some exotic fruits from around the world. There’s also a playground with a flying fox - always a hit with our bebes! - a boat and train ride and a petting zoo. You can easily spend hours here learning and enjoying this beautiful property. Make sure you try their famous real fruit ice creams before you leave. Our kids love designing their own flavours and you can check out their range of fruit-based beauty products in the store.
Mavis’s Kitchen and Cabins is located at 64 Mount Warning Rd, Uki NSW 2484