In 1993 we purchased the Woolshed property and as the previous people had done, used it as a holiday home, though very rough it was serviceable and a great place to spend holiday time.
The Woolshed was known locally as Rothe’s shearing shed and was still used for shearing up until the late 1980s. Sheep were transported by punt across from the island each year for shearing.
In 1996 we moved in. We lived there for one year upgrading it to become more of a home, before moving overseas for four years, renting it in the meantime. On return in 2001, the Woolshed had its first refurbishment and we lived there for three years while building our mudbrick ‘Pike River homestead’ on the riverfront. Deciding that the Woolshed had such a beautiful aspect and was too good to let go we opened it up as a self- contained B&B in 2006. It has seen many visitors over the years and had a few refurbishments in its hospitality role. It is a wonderful family stay with views and comfort for small and large groups.
Having always wanted to leave a small environmental footprint and being environmentally conscious and responsible we explored the possibility of Solar energy. In 2008 we purchased a neighbouring property and secured a grant to develop further accommodation and develop a solar farm. The energy produced by our Solar farm can sustain up to 8 normal households. It therefore made more sense to reduce our use of fossil fuels by sending our energy back to the grid. To add to our reduction in our footprint we created a guttering system to catch the precious rain from our solar panels and fed it into a large tank at the base of the cliff. This water together with catchment from all other roof surfaces is our main water source, with UV filters fitted at every villa.
Noticing a lack of high-end accommodation in the Riverland Tourist market (2009) we completed our first Luxury Villa- Stone. Coupling the alternative energy source with sound infrastructure we could sustain the luxuries within the villa without extra pressure on the environment. In 2010 we completed two more Luxury villas – Redgum and Ibis. Each luxury villa has retractable roof windows to star gaze at night, in deck spas to reduce water consumption, full kitchen facilities, in house laundry c-bus lighting, fireplaces, luxury lounges, king sized beds, water saving shower heads in open plan bathrooms, on deck BBQs, complimentary Kayak use as well as continental breakfast provisions and a complimentary local platter, nibbles and bottle of wine, to greet our guests.
Each luxury villa has the same facilities but all are unique in layout and décor, they are named according to their décor. Stone features a lot of stone and the colours depict the local cliff sand and stone. Ibis is named after the elegant water bird with black and white colouring with a touch of the green reeds. Ibis has the most contemporary feel. Redgum has the classic timber, essentially redgum throughout with deep rich burgundy tones highlighting the deep wood.
An existing shed with a roof covered open area next to it were on the property when we bought it in 2007. Linking imagination with the environmental 3 R’s- Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose we developed the idea of a function centre and together with builders ideas and excitement the centre evolved. A lot of materials are used from the site or local properties or family members. The function centre has hosted almost 30 weddings since April 2013 and as many conferences/ functions/ dinners in that time as well.
On either side of the business centre we have our Apartment villas. They are two-bedroom villas and while not listed as luxury they are beautifully appointed and have lots of extras with a spectacular view each. Dusk is named as it has a superb view of the sunset and Water as it has the best outlook across the Pike and Murray Rivers. Both settings are best taken in from the in deck spas at sunset.
The Woolshed received its final refurbishment in 2014. With structural internal changes and additional bathrooms and toilets added it is now a fantastic holiday home while still retaining its rustic exterior.
Recently Bronny’s sister purchased the property between the function centre land and the Woolshed property. With her family, they set it up as another family home style accommodation on the river front. Andrew and Bronny manage the property as a holiday stay and an extra complement to Pike River accommodation and riverfront.
For many years we had spoken of the Riverland benefitting by having a Wine Centre that represented all Riverland Wines. In 2014 we began talking with our local winemakers and Riverland Wine about how we could have a Wine Centre based here. In 2018 we began a purpose-built area extending on from the Function centre especially for the Wine Centre. Our focus is to celebrate all things Riverland, to sing the Riverland song loudly and proudly and to showcase not only the range and variety of quality wines we produce here but also to highlight the produce and range of beverages that this area produces. We are proud to be a part of the Riverland’s journey and believe, through working together we can all present this great area and share it with others.