Having opened only recently in November 2016, Goonoo Goonoo Station (pronounced gun-a-gun-oo) has rapidly been building its reputation as a sort of one-stop-shop for wedding and corporate events, with excellent dining and accommodation facilities all on the one estate.
The property has a rich history, having been used as a sheep station under the Australian Agricultural Company in the 1830s. Today, the property includes ‘The Village’ (6 unique accommodation options, each with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen facilities), a chapel and bridal suite, a swimming pool, and a restaurant – all set against the stunning landscape of Goonoo Goonoo and the Liverpool Range in the distance.
Each building (aside from the restaurant) at Goonoo Goonoo Station is heritage-listed, which has been an inevitable headache for Simon and Sarah Haggarty, who are credited with transforming the property into what it is today. After Simon’s parents purchased Goonoo Goonoo Station, the couple, too, saw the potential of the property. They left their corporate and commercial jobs in Sydney and threw themselves into renovations. It’s impossible not to appreciate what they’ve done with the place, having favoured restoration over replacement with each building. This was surely the more costly approach but has certainly been the most worthwhile, with each building now having a distinct character that reflects upon its brilliant heritage.
The rooms play around with both traditional and contemporary style elements, with the result being an upscale and luxurious, but nevertheless comfy and inviting, feel. We stayed at ‘The Inn’, and were blown away by the heavy juxtaposition of marble countertops, exposed brick walls, wooden floorboards and modern tiling. I personally fell in love with the hexagonal marble tiles in the bathroom, which Simon said proved to be a nightmare when they got around to actually fitting them in. But the result is absolutely stunning, as are the rest of the rooms – having been styled with meticulous attention to detail and a refined sense of what textures, colours and designs complement one another best.
In addition to staying overnight at Goonoo Goonoo Station in the lead-up to the Taste Tamworth Festival (which you can read about here), we had the opportunity to dine at Glasshouse Restaurant, the most recent addition to Goonoo Goonoo Station’s impressive portfolio of buildings. Vastly different from the rest of the property, the restaurant is modern and state-of-the-art, having only been completed last year. Brass and black steel feature heavily inside Glasshouse, style choices made with special consideration for the materials’ ability to age well in their own right. The restaurant is a stark contrast to the rest of the property, but manages to complement it at the same time. After all, Glasshouse is tucked in between another two heritage-listed buildings that have been repurposed as extensions of the restaurant, the ‘Woolstore’ (which is now used as a function hall, popular for weddings) and the ‘Shearing Shed Annexe’ (another event space).
Glasshouse features a regional wine list that prioritises quality and taste above all else, and a share-focused menu made from locally-sourced ingredients. It was clear from speaking with Simon that Goonoo Goonoo Station is yet another place in Tamworth that values local produce and local culture, and reflects this in all their projects and endeavours. And this dedication certainly pays off.
We were treated to a collection of share dishes that really showcased the restaurant. The toasted sourdough drenched in butter and oil and served with beetroot and chickpea puree was amazing – I’m not sure I’ve ever been more appreciative of the wonders of bread – while the beef cheeks fell apart so easily that we had to request tongs simply to get the meat onto our plates. The flavours were quite rich, so we were delighted to have a fairly light dessert to complement the dinner we’d just scoffed down. The Tropical Sorbet Terrine with mascarpone and crumbled honeycomb was the perfect end to our dining experience at Glasshouse. Each component was only enhanced by the others and altogether, our gargantuan meal left us eager to retire to our rooms to nurse our food comas.
Everything at Glasshouse was beautifully flavoured and well thought out. It’s no wonder that the Tamworth locals have quickly welcomed the restaurant, despite it offering an ambience and share-focused menu that is more in tune with the Sydney dining scene than what has been the dominant trend in Tamworth. But undeniably, the region’s strength lies in its fresh, high quality meats and produce. These remain the focus of locals, and so it is only natural that Tamworth restaurants are expertly reflecting this in the form of excellent flavours.
Goonoo Goonoo Station offers unique accommodation that truly transports you to another era, while still ensuring you feel a sense of luxury throughout your stay. The breathtaking landscape combined with the richly historic buildings made our visit unforgettable. This is one place I’m itching to return to.
To learn more about Goonoo Goonoo Station and Glasshouse Restaurant, visit goonoogoonoostation.com.
I Ate My Way Through stayed at Goonoo Goonoo Station and dined at Glasshouse Restaurant as guests of Destination NSW