How it all Began
This is the beginning of Country Mile Escape story. I have lived here in the Canungra region most of my life,(why would you want to leave this beautiful area). After some years away, my husband Murray and I returned and purchased our overgrown 70 acres property in October 2006. Murray, my dad, and I (mainly Murray doing all the hard work with a chainsaw and a bobcat) took six years working every weekend and on yearly holidays, to clear all the scrub from the land and to create the place we call home today. We had our home professionally built, while we concentrated on creating the gardens and property that surrounds it.
In 2013 we came up with the idea of starting our little accommodation business on the property, as you can’t make any money off such a small amount of land by farming. I wanted to be at home to take care of our children, and this was the type of business that would let me do that. I seriously started doing research to see if it was going to be viable to make any money from this adventure. In 2013 I started( with the assistance of my sister) doing a business plan and the beginning of Country Mile Escape started. We had lots of comments, “You’re mad” or “Why would you want to do that”.
Then we had to deal with the local council. That was a large learning curve that was at times very frustrating and took many months of back and forth, I didn’t think I would ever get to the end and have all the applications approved by the council. In early 2015, we started to commence building both studios at the same time, which some would say big mistake, however, I love a challenge. At this time, Murray was still working at his day job, and me running around after young teenagers and attending to any cattle during the week.
Our weekends were crazy with attending to farm tasks such as dipping, drenching the cattle, and shifting cattle to new paddocks by truck. We would then work on the studios and their gardens for the rest of the weekend. Due to all those months of working hard seven days a week, I am sure that Murray and other family members thought me a hard taskmaster.
The building of the two studios was the easy part after dealing with council requirements, and it took us about 11 months. I oversaw the building team, made the decisions, and it was my fault if anything went wrong and I had to solve the problems that came up. I thoroughly enjoyed planning, designing, and creating the interiors in a luxury country style.
After three years, of creating a business plan, stats, and building the studios, we were finally close to opening. then we were rushing to finalise the finishing touches to the cottage for our first guest for Easter week in 2017. Thank god for my Dad and his trusty workers moving furniture from one cottage to the other, this really helped to complete the look that I was trying to achieve on the day of the first guests arriving. Our first guests arrived and I think we all were pleasantly surprised at how well the experience went, for both the guests and us as a family.
Since then we have had hundreds of happy guests. I am very fortunate that we are a close-knit family and our kids and other family members have helped us bring our family dreams into reality. We feel blessed that we get to live in this fabulous place and share it with others. And that is the first part of the Country Mile Escape story. Keep an eye out for the next blog post for Part 2.