Consider for a moment what it would be like to live in the tranquillity and seclusion of your own eco retreat, yet only two hours from the central business district of Brisbane. 'Manderley' is located in the district of Lamington and sits high in the Christmas Creek valley on the edge of the McPherson Range that borders Queensland and New South Wales. Centred on an open park that is surrounded by forest, 'Manderley' is fringed on one side by Christmas Creek and ringed by ridges and rugged mountains. As you enter 'Manderley' across the creek's causeway, a winding path passes through forest before opening onto spacious parkland. At one edge, the house sits before a steeply rising mountain crowned by an imposing cliff face.
The house is contemporary in character and the views may be enjoyed from almost every room. The design splits the house into two buildings separated by a covered breezeway that is continuous, with a large front deck. The larger section comprises a generous open plan kitchen, dining and living area, the main bedroom and ensuite, an office which could be converted into another bedroom, a spacious utility room and an extra toilet. The second section has one bedroom at the rear, a shared bathroom that includes a spa bath set against a large window looking out to the mountains, and a multiple purpose room at the front, adaptable as a bedroom, lounge or games room, and handy for visiting guests.
Yet 'Manderley' is much more than a house with unrivalled views; it is a way of living. This is a place of personal rejuvenation, of connection with nature and appreciation of the beauty of the organic world we inhabit. 'Manderley', with its unique private location, can be "read" in many ways.
Consider the house as a starting point. At day's end, look south-east from the deck and watch the fading rays of the sun reflect on the clouds gathered above the border range. On a clear night, watch a full moon rise over a mountain top and, later on, stand on the deck and look at the stars in a place of elevation and no light pollution. Lounge in bed with your cup of coffee or tea at dawn and watch the mist rise slowly off the creek while listening to the day's first chorus of birds.
'Manderley' is also an environment of intimate detail; focus and awareness are required to fully appreciate its character. If you look carefully for something new each day, it will be there - be it the tiniest pixel of a flame tree in flower high on the mountains, the crimson translucent tip of new growth on a red cedar when the sun shines from the right direction, a minute flower head on a bush orchid, the first seasonal sighting of a birdwing butterfly, the sweep of a wedge-tailed eagle high above the mountain tops, a rare sighting of the ever-elusive platypus in the creek.
Or take a walk with your family and closest friends. Enjoy an afternoon stroll through open parkland, most dramatic with its fall colours, but always green underfoot; and then follow with a celebratory drink on the deck, or around the fire pit while watching the day's fading light. Explore the forest alone or in companiable silence, climbing down steep gullies or up to a ridge that affords panoramic views of adjacent mountains and valleys. During the full moons of winter, rug up and take a walk in the brightness of a quarter daylight. For a crescent moon, walk to the forest of Eucalyptus grandis, with its high branching trunks and silken-smooth shiny white bark, and you will then know why they are aptly named ghost gums.