Family & Pet-Friendly Accessible Accommodation.
Adam Smark, our team member here at Accessible Accommodation, checked out one of our top five accessible places to stay in New South Wales.
A recent amputee, Adam understands the challenges in adjusting to a life where accessibility is crucial for his mobility. When Adam uses his prosthetic, he has more flexibility on where to stay. However, we asked Adam to critique Hollyhall as a part-time wheelchair user. This is his story:
Hollyhall is a working farm and Equestrian Training Centre set in The Southern Highlands, between Sydney and Melbourne. My partner Tracy loves horses, so when I told her we were going to stay at Hollyhall, she jumped at the chance. As we entered the automatic gates and drove down the gravel road, the last remaining autumn leaves, a nip in the air and lush green grass greeted us. Jan and John, the owners ensured the wood fire was burning for our arrival into this cosy cottage.
Arriving at an undercover concreted car parking space, I was able to exit comfortably into my wheelchair. As we entered the cottage, the wood fire was roaring. My Children Matthew (12) and Hannah (8) loved checking out the horse-themed decor. From cushions to lighting, to the equestrian medals as well as the hand-painted barn door mural of owner Johnny and his horse. All weekend we spotted more little knick-knacks in keeping with the equestrian theme.
It isn’t until you have lived experience with a disability, that one truly understands how important good mobility equipment is for an enjoyable getaway. Johnny is now a wheelchair user himself after an accident. So the cottage was designed for someone like himself, who has high physical needs. The electric bed, portable hoist and shower commode are ideal for those with high needs.
For myself, I was comfortable with the grab rails (both toilet and shower) and the height-adjustable toilet seat. I had forgotten my shower chair, so the Commode came in handy. Whilst the home comfortably catered to our family of four (plus our dog Charlie a Fox Terrier), my son enjoyed the multiple functions of the hi-lo hospital bed to read a book and watch Netflix. (Good WIFI!)
I found the sliding doors so much better than traditional hinged doors. It made wheelchair gliding so much easier! Of course, the doorways are wide too.
The Equestrian theme is carried through to the bedrooms, with horse blankets as blackout curtains. Chocolates on the bed were a lovely touch in making us feel welcome and special.
Hollyhall Cottage has three bedrooms, sleeping six guests comfortably. One with a queen bed, one with two single beds (which can be joined to create a second queen). A third bedroom has a Cobalt king single electric adjustable bed and a single bed adjacent to it. I found the bed height ideally suited for transferring from wheelchair to bed.
The third bedroom is located immediately next to the bathroom and has a barn door separating this space from the living area, enabling discreet transport by commode into the bathroom. I can imagine someone with high physical needs appreciating the privacy of transferring from the electric bed using the portable hoist, and gliding to the bathroom discretely.
Double glazing keeps the place warm in winter, cool in summer. Our winter break was set around the wood fire in the living room, and once we worked out how the fans and ducts worked, the heating flowed beautifully throughout the cottage.
The quirky kitchen is an interesting mix of quality Smeg appliances and brightly coloured melamine crockery, giving it a camping vibe and less to worry about the kids breaking something. The “useful things” drawer is something I want for my own home now! For ease of access, kitchenware is stored in colourful plastic boxes.
Our family felt we weren’t just staying at a cottage, rather, we got to experience rural life as well. With paved paths between the pool, house and vegetable garden, I was able to navigate in my wheelchair comfortably. New South Wales has experienced heavy rain in the last 6 months, so there are some potholes leading to the tennis/ basketball court to navigate. Jan mentioned more paving will be taking place shortly, so that is always a bonus. The paving allowed me to explore with my family, and not be left out , as sometimes is the case when travelling.
The indoor heated pool could be the highlight of your stay. For higher physical needs, there is a ceiling lifting pool hoist.
There are two ways to access the pool, depending on mobility. Option 1 (walking frame/ cane users) a side door entry. I found the ramped access to the main house preferable, as the pool paving is sizeable in that section. It is nice to also have the privacy of the pool to yourself. Johnny uses it for an hour a day for hydrotherapy. The rest of the time you can reserve the hours that suit you. Certainly in winter, the convenience of the heated pool and indoors is a big plus.
My son Matthew and I enjoyed basketball whilst Tracy and Hannah petted the horses and watched the students train. The kids fell in love with Ted the miniature Pony and Ned the Blue Heeler. It was fantastic that we could bring Charlie (our Fox Terrier) along. After running around, he enjoyed a fireside nap.
The kids were expecting no WIFI and were delighted to find a strong WIFI signal. I automatically thought this is would be beneficial in the case of a guest emergency. So, whether you want to detach from the world in quietude or “Netflix and Chill”, you’re in luck. At Hollyhall, you can make the best of the peaceful silence of the countryside. Or, as you are only 10 minutes to Moss Vale, (or 20 minutes to Bowral) head into town for a meal.
We had a great time and highly recommend a stay at HollyHall Farm – family and pet-friendly accessible accommodation.
To watch our video tour, CLICK HERE.
To view and book, CLICK HERE
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