Found in the Lower Hunter village of Morpeth, The River Haus is a luxurious sojourn melding old and new – just over two hours’ drive north of Sydney.
The River Haus is Morpeth’s newest holiday property having opened in early December 2021. Set behind a white picket fence, it’s a stone’s throw from the mighty Hunter River and overlooks the historic St James Anglican Church. Stroll to Morpeth’s heritage-listed main street, picnic on the river bank and dine at the lauded Boydell’s Cellar Door and Restaurant (a mere 50 metres from the back gate).
This quintessential country cottage has everything needed for a luxe stay in the Lower Hunter, accommodating up to four guests. Designed with couples in mind, it’s where vintage and antique treasures meet luxury and curated comfort.
Inside the River Haus feels like a home away from home. There’s a fully equipped farmhouse kitchen with Butler’s sink, Nespresso coffee machine (with 36th Parallel biodegradable pods), Bosch dishwasher and stove, Smeg kettle and toaster, leather lounge, Nectre Woodfire, ducted air conditioning, 65cm Smart TV and JBL soundbar.
Two (identical) guestrooms offer queen size iron beds with AH Beard mattresses, blackout blinds, quality linen and antique wardrobes. A separate office cum library (along with fast Wi-Fi throughout the house) allows guests to work from home or sink into the oversized armchair with a good book. A highlight is undoubtedly the striking bathroom with herringbone tiled floors, freestanding bathtub, shower with oversized showerhead, Grown Alchemist amenities and Normann Copenhagen bell lamp.
Dark stained Blackbutt floors and crisp white walls provide a clean backdrop for the River Haus’ many treasures. There’s a French market basket, Bentwood chairs, vintage kitchen canisters and weighing scales plus Dr Morse’s Indian Root pill bottles. The Dr Morse’s Indian Root Pills signage on the side of a shed just outside Morpeth is an iconic and much-loved building. Framed drawings of steamships, a rustic lantern, ship’s rope, a coffee table fashioned from a steamship trunk, model ship and old oars meanwhile are a nod to Morpeth’s past as a bustling river hub.
Step beyond oversized glass sliding doors to a custom-built deck adorned with festive marquee lights offering an outdoor table shaded by a smart black and white striped umbrella. The outdoor entertaining space leads to a private rear garden complete with a fire pit (coming in January) where guests can gather with a glass of wine in hand under clear starry skies.
Sheriden Rhodes, a travel writer, and Tom Szecsodi, a property developer, are the owners of the River Haus. The couple lives in nearby Newcastle and is regular visitors to the charming township of Morpeth. Working alongside local tradesmen, Tom put in 12 months of blood, sweat and tears to transform the old house into the eye-catching cottage it is today. Sheriden meanwhile was charged with styling the property, searching tirelessly for antique and vintage treasures fitting of the property’s river port setting.
“We love Morpeth, Australia’s second oldest river port. This quaint riverside town offers old school pubs, local artisans, sandstone buildings, cafes, the historic Arnott Bakehouse and a rare timber truss road bridge that spans the Hunter River. You can take a carriage ride pulled by Clydesdales, shop at farm gates and taste award-winning small-batch wines paired with a seasonal menu at Boydell’s housed in a restored 1850s slab timber building.”
“We hope guests staying at the River Haus feel refreshed taking walks down country lanes, breathing in the fresh air, sleeping on cotton sheets and waking to bird song and the peal of church bells. We also hope our new venture sheds light on Morpeth’s storied past and its significant role in the development of the Hunter and the fledgling colony.”
The River Haus, an overview:
- Two spacious bedrooms with queen size iron beds and AH Beard mattresses.
- One luxurious bathroom with freestanding tub plus laundry with separate toilet.
- Prime location walking distance to all of Morpeth’s shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants.
- Grown Alchemist shampoo, conditioner and hand wash.
- Quality linen and Sheridan towels.
- Every booking includes a bottle of Boydell’s Wine and local sourdough.
- From $400 per night midweek (minimum two-night stay).
- Bookings will via Airbnb, Riparide and VRBO/Stayz.
Edited by: Stephen Morton
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