Hillview Dairy is nestled into the lush hillsides of the Currumbin Valley –a verdant sanctuary in the Gold Coast hinterland. Owner and Founder of the Dairy, Simone, had long dreamt of restoring the old structure on the historic property, which she shares with her family and many special farm animals. Having “covid-paused” her 25-year-long career as an International Flight Attendant, she embraced the opportunity to restore the Dairy, and with some sneaky planning and a team of semi-retired tradesmen, she transformed the old building into a luxurious country getaway.
Overlooking Mount Tallebudgera, Currumbin Creek and the sweeping valley landscape, it’s a spectacular stay with as much character as comfort. We spoke with Simone to learn more about the property and how it has inspired her to explore new projects.
Images: Victoria Aguirre
What can you tell us about the property?
Hillview Homestead is a historic property; it is the original dairy of the Valley, established by John Boyd in 1873. It was always a dream of mine to live and raise our family in the country. I have always loved old Queenslanders and historical homes with a story. We restored the original Homestead and transformed it with an addition sympathetic to the Queenslander design.
What led you to restore and offer the Dairy as boutique accommodation?
The Dairy shed was always next on the list. It was one of the original outbuildings on the property (alongside an old church, coach house and stables). When our children were babies, I would push them in their pram over to the dairy ruins and sit in the sunshine and enjoy the magnificent view of the mountains. I’ve always had great respect for the special history and design of historical buildings. Whilst rocking my babies, I would plan a complete restoration of the old dairy. I didn’t want to lose what was such a special part of the history of Currumbin Valley. Our finances didn’t permit the project at the time, so the plans remained in the back of my mind for many years. We welcomed a special guest to the Homestead, Cate Blanchett, who lived with her family at Hillview while filming Thor. She enjoyed her stay and encouraged me to restore the Dairy. I was lucky enough to find a committed builder, Graham Boyd, and a passionate team of semi-retired tradesmen who helped guide me through the process. My husband, Bruce, was not keen AT ALL, so I began the project secretly by nightfall! Some time into the project, he asked, “why are all these tyre tracks here in our paddock leading to the dairy?”. Eventually, I had to fess up. The Dairy restoration had begun, and it was truly a wonderful and rewarding experience. And now, he “knows”.
What kind of an experience have you tried to create for guests?
An off-the-grid, “rough-luxe” stay. A unique escape into another time and another world with luxurious comfort. I hope our guests can immerse themselves in the history of the old cowshed and read about the two “maiden aunts” that ran the dairy and milked the cows in the lounge room while gazing up to the exposed beams hand-cut at the sawmill up the valley by early settlers. We wanted to create a warm and welcoming space, clean, uncluttered, mismatched, yet everything fits perfectly. The entire family, including dogs, are welcome. The earthy Pampa rugs are the perfect pooch-friendly addition. We still run beautiful black Angus cattle on Hillview and our guests can relax on our sun loungers gazing at the mountains whilst listening to the calm lowing of cows nearby.
Tell us about your love of horses?
I grew up with a love of horses from a very young age. I would ride any horse I could get my hands on and rode competitively, showjumping for many years and working with other owners’ horses. I always dreamt of having a horse one day, and now I have four and a half horses, the half being “Shorty” the Shetland! I’ve taught my children to ride, and we ride together along the creek and the border trails throughout the rainforests. Our border collie, Smudgee, often comes for the ride; she is the regular “welcome party” for our guests at the Dairy.
How do you describe the style of the Dairy?
Pure indulgence, rustic-luxury with a hint of “cowshed history”. We painstakingly demolished the entire building and sorted the hand-cut timber, including the rusty original tin roof. I grew up simply and now often reflect upon something my beautiful mum would always say, which was “make the most of what you have”. It is not easy to make something from nothing, but it is all the more special. Much of the decor is from the original ruins, rusty nuts and bolts or foliage collected around the property.
What drew you to the PAMPA pieces you chose to include?
I think I was deeply drawn to Pampa via an adventure many years ago to South America with my husband, travelling off-the-beaten-track as budget travellers. Many years later, everything about Pampa (and our memories) inspires me and reminds me of our Argentinian journey. It is one of my all-time favourite brands. I admire the ethics, values and artisanal production of the wares. The Pampa aesthetic blends perfectly with Hillview Dairy with its rustic rugs, cushions and Victoria’s exquisite photographic images of horses and cows. The Dairy whitewashed, original concrete floors work so well with the earthy tones of the Pampa rugs. The crisp white linen we offer our guests is also the perfect backdrop for the rich tones of the cushions and throws.
Has your work on the Dairy inspired you?
Yes! More than I ever imagined. The dairy project has been such a rewarding experience. Our rebuild evolved and changed daily. I found our building team (all retired old blokes) inspirational with their ideas of how we could work sustainably and efficiently. We restored and reused absolutely every detail of the original dairy. Every old bolt was used; even the milking ring was reused as a bathroom feature.
What’s next for you?
The interest in our old Dairy has so humbled me. The creatives, artists, inspirational guests and visitors have all opened my world again. I’m so grateful for the friendships that have formed via social media. I was not part of the social media world until I opened the barn doors of the Dairy, and it has created so many opportunities to work with photographers, media personalities, and influencers, models and entertainers. My next project is to revive what was once the historic Hillview Stables and Hillview Coach House. A rather ambitious project which will use some incredible, historical bridge timber from the valley. All of this is made possible by my lovely team of retired builders (obviously not retiring soon!). This time I will probably have to tell my husband rather than starting the project without him! It will be a challenge, but one which we are all looking forward to! The most memorable part of it for me is the people I work with, and of course, welcoming all of our special guests.
SHOP THE LOOK
And one the best things it’s pet friendly. Poncho really enjoyed his stay!
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