SportsClassifiedsDatingTravelJobsReal EstateCars SportsClassifiedsDatingTravelJobsReal EstateCars


Poppy's Cottage is an award-winning bed and breakfast ... a journey through the Armidale, New England area of Northern NSW.
Popping in at Poppy's


If you do nothing else on your stay at Poppy's Cottage near Armidale, you must go for a walk with Jessie and Miffy.

The two extraordinary little dogs abandon their bones at the sight of any new guest and quickly communicate that they want to show off their hill.

Poppy Abbott says: "Even when we haven't been here and guests have arrived, the dogs have taken them for a walk."

So it was on a cool and gusty late afternoon that the farm gate was dragged open and the dogs eagerly scrambled through.

The track leads across a meadow of creamy-coloured grasses and curves up around the back of Arthurs Seat – an extinct volcano stump topped with blackberry briars, ferns and a scattering of rocks.

The dogs' glee at showing strangers their walk is obvious.

They scurry back and forth, occasionally looking up to get their bearings in grass which is as tall as they are. But their priority is to show their guests the way.

Jessie even stopped at one place to stare pointedly at a fallen fence wire, making sure no one tripped.

The climb up Arthurs Seat and back can easily be done in 45 minutes.

From the summit the New England Tablelands stretch out in all directions: the blue of the bush-covered national parks on the horizon; the neat lines of trees planted as windbreaks. Graziers have been replanting trees across this rolling country to combat erosion.

This is the domain of the merino. New England wool is in the 18-19 micron range, meaning the sort of high quality used in the most expensive designer suits from Italy and Japan.

The landscape is quite different from anything in Queensland. Like the ranges further north towards Tenterfield and Stanthorpe, the plateau has a beautiful brutality to it.

With its heavy skies and cutting winter winds, there is more than a hint of Jane Eyre about the district – echoes of the windswept moors of Britain.

Even in February, after the stultifying heat of Brisbane, the cool drizzle and hilltop gusts which tug at hats and coats are a pleasure.

Armidale is five hours' drive via Warwick and Tenterfield from Brisbane, or a quick hour's trip on the Sunshine Coast-based Sunshine Express airline.

With the manses of both Catholic and Anglican bishops in Armidale, this community of about 25,000 people calls itself a city. It has a Toowoomba feel to it, with interesting homes, lots of big trees, multiple training colleges, boarding schools and the University of New England.

You can ride a helicopter down the wild river gorges from Armidale, or be guided to places where bass, brown and rainbow trout await. You can take a horse trek, or drive the scenic Waterfall Way eastwards towards the Coffs Harbour area.

And what you shouldn't miss is the New England Regional Art Museum.

This gallery's pride is the impressive Howard Hinton collection: a mix of privately collected art which includes fine examples of the work of Arthur Streeton, Lionel Lindsay, Edith Cusack and others.

Poppy's Cottage is an award-winning bed and breakfast farmstay just 10 minutes out of town.

Poppy and Jack Abbott keep a farmyard menagerie of ducks, geese, chickens and a tame sheep, and guests stay behind the house in a cosy "Settler's Cottage".

This very private sanctuary is stacked with books, games and puzzles, and is divided into two rooms, with ensuite bathroom. It would suit two couples or a family with children.

The country walk up the hill is recommended because Poppy's evening meal deserves a healthy appetite. The food is better than in some highly regarded Brisbane restaurants, and our hostess clearly enjoys this aspect of her business.

Poppy first served a ricotta cheese tart made with oven-dried tomatoes and basil from her garden and pastry made with eggs from the farmstay's hens.

Main course was chicken fillets in a delicious bacon, garlic and rosemary sauce, with sauteed potatoes, steamed artichokes and caramelised carrots. There was just enough room for a superb dessert of small fresh strawberries in a caramelised Sambuca Galliano sauce, topped with clotted cream.

Breakfast was another feast of fresh fruits and berries, cereals and croissants, and Poppy's keenness in promoting local produce was evident in the packed lunch, which included rolls packed with smoked trout.

Just the facts:

Poppy's Cottage, just off the Dangarsleigh Rd, Armidale. Bed and breakfast is $115 a double, $50 for an extra adult and $40 for each extra child under 12. Dinner, with a complimentary bottle of wine costs $40 a person. Tel: (02)67751277.

Dad and Dave bid welcome
The grapes of worth
Prancing with Priscilla
Buyers sought for Reef's richest island playgrounds
Tourism rebounds
Straddy resort can afford to boast
The spirit of things
Winds of change
Body of indulgence
Compensation for flight delays
Wazza and the platypus pool
Popping in at Poppy's
Land of magical vision
The elusive Dreamtime
Aussies tripping up on health
Lazing along the Logan
Indian Head camping ban to deter tourism cowboys


We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Please provide your full name and suburb/location. We also require a working e-mail address – not for publication, but for verification. The telephone field is optional.
Fill in the form below and click on the submit button.
Full name:
E-mail address:
Telephone (optional):
Your comment:

To send a formal letter to the editor for possible publication in the newspaper, please click here.

privacy Queensland Newspapers

Archive Search:
Newstext is our online newspaper library – with more than 150 papers archived. You need to register to search.
Seen a picture in the paper or on the website you'd like to buy? If we took it, you can buy a copy.
Pic order form

For interstate pictures, try a NewsPhotos search:

Buy or sell your car, find spare parts and read the best motoring news in our Carsguide section.

Find a home anywhere.

Suburb or postcode: