Anna Anderson lures her teenagers to this south coast beachside beauty for some post-exam fun.
We've chosen a mid-winter getaway to celebrate the end of our teenagers' college and university exams. We need a lure to prise them away from their social lives, so website images of The Cottage at Mollymook and a booking at Bannisters Restaurant do the trick. Surfboards and wetsuits are tossed into the boot along with woolly sweaters and bed socks.
We arrive in Mollymook just in time for our lunch reservation and in minutes we're unwinding with drinks and a coastal outlook.
Storm clouds and a spit of rain haven't dampened our spirits. Instead, we settle in for a long, lazy lunch of seafood chowder, seared scallops, Indonesian seafood curry and chilli mud crab. It's the perfect start for our weekend together.
We're more than relieved to arrive at The Cottage. It's on an ocean-front block bordered by banksias and bottlebrush with a lovely lawn and ocean views to the horizon. Even under a leaden sky, The Cottage sparkles and inside, there's a slow-combustion fire alight. Heaven.
It's a simple, 1960s-style house with a recent renovation; clean lines, pine floors and an all-white interior.
Wandering through the house and putting dibs on the bedrooms, we start to recognise pages from our Ikea catalogue. Here, the Scandinavian aesthetic works a treat. Soft linen sofa covers, a good-looking and functional kitchen and bedrooms of calm neutrals with crisp, white bed linen.
There are plenty of wooden hangers in the cupboards and rolls of fluffy white towels. The kitchen cupboards are heavily stocked with new china and glassware, the bookcase has plenty to choose from and there are iPod speakers.
It's so welcoming we've quickly claimed our territory on the sofas and slumped into a dozy evening. A generous stock of logs keeps our fire blazing and our only whine is that we can't sit directly in front of it. A couple of beanbags wouldn't go astray (does Ikea do beanbags?).
The gods are with us as, after a long and heavy sleep (aided by black-out drapes behind pretty, diaphanous white curtains) we rise to find the sun pouring through the east-facing windows of the living area. It's still brisk out on the deck but we fill our lungs with the briny air, check out the surf (it's pumping) and shuffle back inside to a pancake breakfast. As the sun swings around to the north, it warms the deck and flows into the dining room. Perfect for a spot of yoga and some reading.
Our view of the surf encourages us to drive down to the beach (it's about a five-minute walk) but once there, the frigid water temperature has us opting for a walk along the sand to the rock pools instead.
A five-minute drive takes us to Milton, one of the south coast's prettiest towns. It's easy to spend a couple of hours in the country-chic homeware stores and boutiques so by the time we seat ourselves in the sun at Pilgrims vegetarian cafe, we're hungry. We go for burgers – the Mountain and the Bliss burger. Both are delectable. To finish, we share chocolate brownies and an oat and honey slice washed down with chocolate milkshakes.
Next stop is Cupitt's Winery a few minutes' south of Milton. We're disappointed to find it closed for three weeks of maintenance but judging from the quaint restaurant and winery buildings, the posted menu and enormous dining deck with sweeping vineyard views, we plan a return visit.
Back at The Cottage, we build another fire and spend the afternoon reading and snoozing. There are two barbecues; a gas-fuelled one on the deck and, my favourite, a brick-pit and hot-plate affair on the lawn.
Sadly, we're too full from our Pilgrims pig-out to barbecue or to try Bannisters' bar and pizzas, so we toast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate instead.
It's blissful to have our little family away together for a well-deserved break. We find a deck of cards for a few rounds of Rummy by candlelight and enough current magazines to keep us entertained. If it's this pleasant in the dead of winter, how much fun would it be in summer?
Where The Cottage. 2 Cliff Avenue, Mollymook. (02) 4455 3800 (Raine & Horne Ulladulla). stayz.com.au/98449.
Getting there From Sydney, head south along the Princes Highway for about three hours. From Milton, follow the signs to Bannisters — The Cottage is a dozen doors south from there along Mitchell Parade.
How much Prices start at $600 a night with a minimum two-night stay. In high season, it's $800 a night.
Style statement Breezy beach-chic with a large quota of comfort.
Don't forget Marshmallows and Ugg boots in winter, cozzies and sunscreen in summer.
Perfect for A reviving getaway.
Shame about The lack of fireside seating.
Kudos Pristine condition inside and out and exceptionally comfortable bedding.
Take the kids You bet. It's not a precious house and kids would love the big deck and lawn.