The story of the estate. São Lourenço do Barrocal has been in the same family for more than 200 years, and it was José António Uva (who is eight generation of the same family) who had a vision to turn the family property into a farm retreat he could share with others. The passion and dedication behind José António’s dream, and what he has created, is incredibly inspiring.
The interiors. Perfectly simple and calming. The interior design was led by José António’s wife Ana’s design studio, AnahoryAlmeida (also responsible for the interiors of many of Lisbon’s finest restaurants) and it is a dream.
Hortelão, their outdoor restaurant. The most beautiful place to dine between Spring through Autumn, this slow-food, farm to fork restaurant is located next to the pool, right by the organic kitchen garden, and is the perfect place to enjoy a dinner under the stars.
La Rochér Eco Retreat
LA ROCHÉR ECO RETREAT
STOKERS SIDING, NEW SOUTH WALES • FOUR LUXURY VILLAS • SLEEPS 2 | 1 BEDROOM | 1 BATH
High up in the hills on 100 acres just outside Uki on Bundjalung country in Northern New South Wales, is the very beautiful La Rochér Eco Retreat. With magnificent views of the "the cloud catcher" or Wollumbin / Mount Warning at every turn, it's very beautiful here. La Rochér Eco Retreat offers unhindered mountain views from each of its 4 luxury villas villas. The peacefulness and serenity here will truly nourish your soul.
La Rochér Eco Retreat is an easy 45min drive from Byron Bay, an hour or so from the Gold Coast, and 2 hours from Brisbane - making it easily accessible from a number of different locations. Driving up the long and steep driveway on my first visit, I knew I was arriving somewhere special. Owner Graham provides a warm welcome and intro to the property, before leading you down to your villa. You can choose to do as little or as much as you like here - exploring the surrounding rainforest or resting in the villa. With amazing sunset views over Wollumbin, I loved being still and watching the light bounce off the surrounding mountains.
The local Bundjalung people believe that if you take care of country, country will take care of you, and they know this world heritage landscape here in the Tweed Shire better than anyone. Unique for its Gondwana rainforests, one of the most ancient types of vegetation remaining in Australia, over 80% of the bushland here has high conservation status - one of the highest levels of biological diversity in Australia. To stay at La Rochér is to immerse yourself in this incredible landscape and to begin to feel a connection to country as you explore the surrounding bushland and the heavenly little hinterland towns, all under the watchful eye of the glorious Wollumbin / Mount Warning.
Why I love it
I loved my time at La Rochér Eco Retreat. The setting - high on a hill with spectacular views over the magical Wollumbin / Mt Warning - is just incredible. To wake up looking over Wollumbin feels like the greatest privilege of all. And that's the real beauty of this place - unhindered views over this magnificent mountain. I loved soaking in the free-standing bath looking out over the mountains, or having a dip in the pool with its incredible views. The indoor/outdoor fireplace is perfect as well for having a glass of wine outside while you watch the sunset skies envelope you. I also loved the views from the little coffee bar inside the villa. The interiors are not really my style (quite dark), but the nature setting more than makes up for that.
Graham is a lovely host, very friendly and passionate about the place he calls home. We shared travel stories and dreams. While chatty, he is also very happy to give guests their space as they need.
La Rochér's location is perfect in that it is not far from both Uki and Murwillumbah (which is the most beautiful town, full of art-deco buildings, a wonderful Wednesday farmers market, great coffee at Keith, and also the Tweed Regional Gallery nearby). Not only that, the coastal towns of Byron Bay, Cabarita, Pottsville, and Kingscliff are all only 30-45 mins easy drive away - if you feel like an ocean swim during your stay.
It's beautiful here.
About the owners
Your host at La Rochér Eco Retreat is Graham Rocher. A delightful and hard-working man. His son Jordy also helps out as well. Graham and his wife, Lauren Anne, bought this property and began a dream to create a beautiful accommodation experience to share with others. Sadly Lauren Anne passed away just before the villas officially opened, but the name of the retreat is a tribute to both Lauren Anne (the prefix "La" being her initials), and "Rochér" meaning large rock in French, thus referencing the spectacular Wollumbin / Mount Warning that is a focal point of the view from the property. It also refers to Graham and his family's hope and faith that stands on solid rock, their God, fortress and hope. Therefore a lovely correlation with the name, their distant French heritage and the local environment.
What to do nearby
Coffee at Keith
Murwillumbah Farmers Market
Tweed Regional Gallery
What to bring