TRAVEL: Ready for tee time?
THERE is nothing more unsettling than having someone watch you as you set up your golf ball to tee off. A set of eyes pinned on me as I adjusted my feet and focused on my swing sent a bead of sweat rolling from my brow to the ground.
Luckily for me, those eyes intensely focused on my shoddy technique belonged to a kangaroo and I remembered to ease up before sending a (mediocre) shot from the driving range.
Groups of kangaroos, wallabies and other wildlife call the golf course at the Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley, west of Beaudesert, home.
The historic 18-hole course, where Jason Day and Adam Scott honed their games as youngsters while they attended the local international school, was reopened last year alongside the hotel after both were closed in 2008.
Upon our arrival, a chance was given to tour the grounds on a golf buggy in order to see the picturesque landscape up close without having to pick up a club.
And luckily for people who are not avid golfers such as my girlfriend and myself there is plenty to see and do away from the green.
On a particularly hot weekend we checked out the many activities on offer during the morning before retiring to more relaxing pursuits in the afternoon as the sun really began to cook. After a walk through the beautiful adjoining bushland, we returned to the resort for a hit of golf at the driving range and had a dip in the pool, styled like a mini-beach, to cool off.
But there was so much we did not get a chance to explore including kayaking, paddle boating, fishing and plenty more, including the Aussie Muster Show, which will surely be a big hit with the many visitors arriving from overseas.
With the sun beating down, we retreated to the cool air of the health and wellness centre, where we were both treated to an hour-long massage that seemed to pass in the blink of an eye, before settling back down by the pool to take in the spectacular view of the surrounding property in all its glory.
When it comes to eating at a resort I've never had much pleasure in the majority of places I've stayed in.
Kooralbyn offers two distinct eating options which both exceeded expectations.
The restaurant at the centre of the hotel, Lillies, was a proper eating establishment worthy of its title, with the incredible chicken dish that was served being gulped down a bit quicker than perhaps it should have.
Just a few minutes' walk from the main part of the resort is the Country Club Pavilion Tavern, which offers a completely different atmosphere, something akin to your local pub and which also put on a top-notch feed.
You can have a hit of mini-golf on its doorstep before dinner, enjoy your meal and then settle down for karaoke, hosted most Fridays, with a few drinks.
Kooralbyn Valley embraces the strengths of the area on which it sits and gives plenty of options for people to get active.
At the end of last month, the hotel hosted a mountain bike competition, and more than 80 riders tackled the rebuilt mountain bike track for the first time.
We left feeling refreshed and pampered but knew we had done enough exercise to have earned it.
The writer was a guest of the Ramada Resort Kooralbyn Valley.
IF YOU GO:
- Accommodation includes queen twin rooms, king suite, lower penthouse (which we stayed in), upper penthouse, family suite, presidential suite.
- Activities include the Aussie bush dance, boomerang throwing, bushwalking, clay pigeon shooting, driving range, fish feeding, four-wheel drive, golf, horse trail riding, hot spring and hydro spa, lawn bowls, mini golf, mountain biking, multiple sports centre (tennis), sport fishing and the Aussie Muster Show (whip-cracking, sheep shearing).