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First Look: Abode Murrumbateman

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A new player opening today in Canberra’s burgeoning wine region is set to be a game changer for our food and wine tourism industry.

With 13 wineries surrounding the town, Murrumbateman is Canberra’s equivalent of the Yarra or Hunter Valley—inviting cellar doors, cracking good wines, restaurants and cafés, and one delectable chocolatier. But one essential missing ingredient has held the region back from becoming a must-visit for wine tourists: accommodation.

That’s all set to change with today’s opening of Abode Murrumbateman.

The four-star, 50-room hotel is set to attract an estimated 23,000 additional visitors to the area each year—proving there’s more to the region than the odd day trip, and paving the way for the area to become a sought-after destination for romantic getaways and foodie long weekends.

“It will put the Murrumbateman region on the map as one of Australia’s key food and wine destinations,” Abode Group General Manager Rien Donkin said.

Affectionately known as ‘the long house’ because of its allusion to the grand pastoral homesteads famous throughout Australia’s rural heritage, the building was designed by local Canberra architect Hugh Gordon and features a series of linked single-storey Terraces.

Exterior textures of brick, stone, timber and glass walls and corrugated steel roofing meld effortlessly with the Murrumbateman area, and the chic country style continues inside, with interiors created by The Dept of Design.

Adjacent to the airy foyer (where you’ll find free bikes to explore the countryside!) is what looks like a cellar door meets provedore. This is The Pantry, which stocks a range of local products from jams and chutneys to olive oil, chocolates and 40+ local Canberra region wines.

This is where breakfast is served daily; with cute country touches such as made to order pancakes and (for the caffiends) freshly made espresso coffee.

The space also offers an open plan kitchen, which gives guests the flexibility to experiment with some of the local produce they’ve collected during their stay.

And while the overall feel may be as if you’re staying in a friend’s very chic country house, there’s no shortage of mod-cons, with complimentary WiFi and flat screen TVs in every room.

The hotel will no doubt be popular as a destination for events too, with the venue looking to host weddings, functions, parties and corporate events as well as accommodate guests from other local events.

“We expect this property to be well-utilised by Canberrans looking to take a relaxing weekend away to visit the wonderful wineries in the area, as well as by visitors from farther afield, such as Sydney which is just three hours’ drive away,” said Mr Donkin.

For those city slickers Abode Murrumbateman is the perfect country escape—the only neighbours you’ll see are cows grazing in the paddocks next door—but within a 10-minute walk you’ll find local farmers markets, bakeries and cafes.

Just short drive (or cycle) away you’ll also find some of the Canberra region’s best wineries. Graeme Shaw of Shaw Estate Vineyard says the hotel fills a much-needed gap.

“Abode will finally provide good quality accommodation of a reasonable size to attract more wine tourists to visit and spend more time in the region,” he says.

Sarah Collingwood of Four Winds Vineyard shares Graeme’s views.

“We’re really looking forward to the opening,” she says. “Particularly because we have quite a lot of events and weddings and that means that people will stay out here—not forced to jump on a bus back to Canberra.”

Abode Murrumbateman signals the beginning of a new chapter for the region, and for the way locals and tourists alike experience this little slice of food and wine heaven on our doorstep.

the essentials

What: Abode Murrumbateman
Where: 57 Rose Street, Murrumbateman
When: Opening Thursday 1 February

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