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A pet-friendly holiday destination

Pack the doggy’s bag and head to the hills or a not-so-ruff hotel. Words such as ‘walkies’, ‘car’ and ‘park’ elicit an effusive response from self-named Ralph, the Kerry Blue terrier. And mention Mavis’, pandemonium ensues, writes Helen Flanagan.

Woofs reach a new high from the back seat as he shoots the breeze through the partially opened window, takes in the sights, sounds and whiffs of occasional four-footers and flocks of squawking water birds, and we veer off the highway towards the Tweed Valley, up hills, down dales along roads parallel to meandering creeks and rivers.

After whines of what sounds like “are we there yet?”, is the Mt Warning National Park sign. Across the rickety Corrumbin Creek Bridge, around the corner at the base of Wollumbin, Mt Warning, there she stands, majestic Mavis’s.

The Federation Queenslander was originally sited at Labrador on the Gold Coast. It was where Peter Clarke was brought up and later he and partner Charlie Ebell transformed it into the Harley Street Brasserie.

“We decided on a tree change in 2007, so upped stumps and brought the building with us,” dog-lovers Peter and Charlie explain.4 (2)

“It was cut into three pieces, put on three massive trucks, and painstakingly put back together – hence it looks as though it’s been here forever.

“And so began the magic of Mavis’s Kitchen and Cabins which is named after Charlie’s mum, who taught him about the love of good food and the joy of sharing.”

Mavis’s Kitchen occupies a plum position on the ten hectares. Along the driveway is a 70s-built log cabin with a sun-drenched veranda. A smidgen of yesteryear has been retained – sort of rustic with a small ‘r’ but with premium inclusions, such as a fancy espresso machine.

The dairy, where guests sleep in the former creamery, is nearby, and set in the shadow of staghorn and epiphyte-studded trees and beside water lily-topped goldfish ponds, is a 100-year-old renovated farm house with a big-enough-for-a-party deck.

Ralph eyes off the day bed, slurps water from the bowl, drips it onto the shiny hoop pine floors in the country-style kitchen, but thankfully not in the living areas with hand-crafted timber furniture and bedrooms adorned with huge paintings of buxom women.

At the bottom of the rear stairs it’s a different story. Ralph takes one look at Lionel the rooster and five happy clucking layers, before scarpering, tail between his legs. Obviously afraid of being hen-pecked.

A walk in the park-like gardens with ‘hosts’ Dallas the German Shepherd and Doberman Sac, and a romp in the garden near bio-dynamic organic salad plants, herbs, leeks, tomatoes, celeriac, pumpkins and citrus trees, is much more fun.

5 (2)Mavis’s Kitchen serves simple food with integrity. Ingredients vary daily as does the backboard menu. All ingredients are fresh, seasonal, organic and sourced from local growers.

Expect generous serves and delish choices – such as a country-style terrine; roast loin of free-range pork; pan fried fish of the day; roasted organic chicken marinated in thyme orange and honey; and slow-cooked Greek-style lamb with rosemary and sea salt chips, Greek salad and tzatziki.

A breakfast feast of yoghurt, fresh fruit, muesli, bacon and free range eggs is supplied to guests. Walk it off and spot platypus, wallabies, black cockatoos, wood ducks and native frogs.

If you’re feeling more adventurous make the steep climb up Mt Warning (14 kilometres above sea level) before dawn, and be the first on mainland Australia to witness sunrise.

It was named by Captain Cook in 1770 during his trip up the east coast of Australia, in respect of the dangerous shoals encountered offshore,

The eponymous world heritage-listed magna plug, also the world’s largest and oldest extinct volcano is densely covered in temperate and sub-tropical rainforest. A sign ‘where the mountains touch the sky’ succinctly describes the mystical peak which each morning is shrouded in mist.

Lunch at Mavis’s Kitchens is not to be missed. Be seated early (alfresco only if joined by the four-footer), to catch the action of arriving Harleys, limousines and helicopters often with celebs such as Johnny Depp, Amanda Heard and their infamous dogs Pistol and Boo onboard.

Yes, Mavis’s is for stars on four legs and two, or just you and yours.

Mavis’s Kitchen & Cabins:

Images: Supplied

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Alana Lowes

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