The drama of a Ferrari 296 GTB combined with a secluded hideaway on the NSW South Coast is the recipe for a perfect adults-only weekend away.
Escaping the city in the Ferrari 296 GTB
Quiet and Ferrari are perhaps words not regularly used in one sentence; yet I leave my residential street under the cover of darkness in the Ferrari 296 GTB in total silence. There’s not even the tiniest clatter of hooves on the tarmac to rouse my sleeping neighbours, courtesy of the electric motor that has a 25-kilometre range. But as the road widens and one lane becomes two, it’s time to play – a gentle tap of the haptic performance button awakening a more familiar Ferrari sound, along with a smile from its driver.
At the heart of this planet-friendlier pony – Ferrari’s latest foray into the hybrid world – is a twin-turbo V6 of only 2.9 litres, smaller and 30kg lighter than a V8, with a unique 120-degree angle allowing the turbos and electric motor to nestle within. If the prospect of a rear-wheel drive 488kw engine isn’t tantalising enough, the 296’s electric motor adds another 123kw of punch, making this one of the fastest and most exciting Ferraris on the road.
Serenity at Mt Hay Retreat
Our destination is Mt Hay Retreat, an exclusive adults-only retreat. It’s a two-hour drive from Sydney’s city centre and just 10 minutes from the bustling town of Berry, but it feels a world away, perched atop Mount Hay with breathtaking views of the South Coast. It’s an escape from everything, even the kids – which is just as well as the Ferrari 296GTB has only two seats, a ticket to a fun weekend for grown-ups.
With just six spacious suites and designed with couples in mind, Mt Hay Retreat makes the very best of the uninterrupted vistas of the world below through fully retractable floor-to-ceiling windows for seamless indoor/outdoor living, with high ceilings making the most of the natural light.
Decorated in muted citrus hues, our Luxury Suite has a sunken lounge boasting a large L-shape sofa to stretch out on, and a TV should you tire of gazing at the view.
A divinely comfortable king-sized bed sits above the lounge, perfectly placed to enjoy the sunrise. The blinds are remote controlled, so no need to get out of bed to reveal the view. Decadent indeed; the ultimate lie-in.
The spacious bathroom houses a rain shower with room for two. The bath, however, occupies the best spot, placed alfresco on the deck in total privacy, the only passersby perhaps the odd wombat or kangaroo. Grab the champagne, sink in and let go of any memories of bustling city life.
While there is a small kitchenette, with fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle and Nespresso machine, the suites aren’t self-catering. However, there’s no better place than Berry and surrounds for a plethora of dining options. Or, if you really can’t bear to leave – and you’ll be sorely tempted to stay in – there are options for delivery.
Take a stroll around the beautifully manicured grounds of this working farm, feed huge koi in the dam, or scrape the sky in the unique Cloud Swing. A 33-metre heated indoor pool is perfect for laps, or take a soak in the hot tub.
As we wander back to our room, we pluck home-grown lemons and limes from the adjacent orchard, the perfect accompaniment to a gin and tonic sundowner on the deck.
Mt Hay Retreat’s hosts, Anthony and Louise, have created the ultimate getaway, with personal touches going above and beyond – for instance, a beautifully curated cheese board awaits us on arrival, and the next day, plump local strawberries enveloped in thick milk chocolate, handmade by Louise. With this attention to detail, it’s not surprising that the retreat took the Gold Award for Qantas Australian Tourism Awards 5* luxury accommodation in 2022 – Anthony and Louise are the perfect hosts, around as much, or as little, as you would like them to be during your stay.
Ferrari 296 GTB recharged, courtesy of Mt Hay’s charging station, we take the scenic route back to Sydney, perfect for putting the Ferrari through its paces. The transition between petrol and pure electric is seamless and at times unnoticeable. In EV mode, the car decides which motor to use based on speed and throttle demands.
Mt Hay Retreat offers the perfect getaway from everything and the Ferrari 296 GTB is a fun companion to quietly slip away for a weekend break – equally at home on the motorway or gliding silently through a small country town.
This article originally appeared in volume 46 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.