For celebrated former Canberra photographer Heide Smith and her husband Brian, living at their Hobbs Point hideaway in Narooma on the South Coast has been the best 20 years of their lives.
And why wouldn’t it have been? The forested five hectare (12 acre) peninsula on the south-western shore of Wagonga Inlet is almost an island and can only be accessed by private road. It is a nature-lover’s haven, with spectacular views, native bird and wildlife, and not a neighbour in sight.
Their architect-designed home and cottage are set on 3.3 hectares (8 acres) of the peninsula, with the remaining 1.7 hectares (4 acres) being a 600 metre long and 30 metre wide foreshore waterfront reserve.
“You can walk out with nothing on to put things on the clothes-line because the 30m reserve is lined with gum trees, so you’ve got a certain protection from people on the inlet and yet we can see forest, inlet, and water in every direction,” says Brian.
“It’s very private. The thing I like about this place is that if I get bored on the computer, I can get up and walk around the dam and it’s just rejuvenating. It’s peaceful, the bird life is terrific – just that ambience, tranquility, peace and quiet.”
Yet Narooma – with its superb surfing beaches, golf course, and shops – is only 5km away by water and a 9km, 15-minute drive.
But now it’s time to downsize, although they’re not planning to move far, and the property is on the market for $1,975,000.
The land was originally part of a large Hobbs family holding which was subdivided into five smaller properties. The Smiths bought their block in 1995 from someone who had acquired it in that subdivision.
“The only thing they had done was a small clearing in the middle of the site, maybe 50 metres across,” Brian says. “Eventually, we put a shed on it, all the usual things, and then from that, we built a little cottage where we lived for 12 months, while I built the house.”
The north-facing energy-efficient house was designed to fit into the natural landscape and optimise the magnificent views.
“We wanted views in every direction, to wake up with the sun every morning, see the sun setting on the other side,” Brian says.
“We also wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible so we cut into the hillside as a single storey.”
The colours reflect the environment with pale, muted gumtree grey-green for the windows and the house a shade of ochre or faint orange.
The result was a spacious 200 square metre luxury home designed to be part of Hobbs Point, not to dominate it, with tiled floors, lime washed timber ceilings, and strategically placed double glazed windows to capture those views. There are also verandas and pergolas.
The nearly 100 sqm open plan lounge, dining, and library/TV area is perfect for entertaining, while the kitchen has stainless steel bench tops plus a granite top for pastry making.
Designed for a couple, the house has two bedrooms with an extra large main. The bathroom, with separate bath and shower, is close by.
Family and guests are catered for in the architect-designed cottage, which in recent years has served well as a self-contained holiday letting. This is a ready-to-operate business – including furnishings, website, database, and operating systems – and comes with the property.
The north-facing building is 50 metres from the water’s edge and completely self-contained, with a lounge, kitchenette, bedroom and bathroom, and a covered deck overlooking the inlet. It is designed to sleep two, but there is room for an extra bed if needed. As with the house, it has the same tiled floors, lime washed cathedral timber ceilings and multiple large windows with spectacular views of the inlet and majestic trees.
Brian says the guestbook comments are humbling. “It’s is staggering, we’ve travelled the world but never seen comments like it. People from all over the world fall in love with it,” he said.
The property has the potential to be fully self-sufficient. Although connected to the electricity grid, it also has an older grid-interactive solar system including panels, inverter, battery charger and diesel generator.
Rainwater is captured from each building which has their own tank, or tanks, and electric pump; all of which are connected so that little or no water is wasted. Total tank capacity is 81, 000 litres. A dam feeds a 22,500 litre tank to water a 100 square metre vegetable garden and orchard that is fully enclosed with chicken wire, to protect it from the wildlife. A bio-cycle on-site system treats sewage.
Bottled gas is delivered and telecommunications have both landline and wireless connection.
The original 6m x 12m steel shed on a concrete slab has grown with age. A 3m wide extension on one side contains a storage room and tool shed. A 6m x 10m car port has been added to the rear, to house boats, tractors and the like. The interior of the original structure now has insulated walls and ceiling, is divided into three rooms and is air-conditioned.
Wagonga Inlet offers good fishing from the shore, 50 metres from the main house, or from a boat, which can be launched from a trailer at the northern tip of the peninsula. One can cool off in the clear water in summer and the inlet is perfect for kayaking, with direct access to the ocean in Narooma.
The property is set up to deal with any bushfire threat with the house, cottage and shed each having their own water tanks, pumps and rooftop sprinkler systems. There are dam fed taps with standard garden hoses alongside each building, and a 20,000-litre pond for additional fire-fighting water, plus two petrol driven firefighting pumps and a 6KVA diesel generator to supply backup power.
For more information go here or call (02) 44761171.