The Palms in Erowal Bay, in the south coast of NSW, had a distinctly different feel to our Coffs Harbour residency of late 2012, probably due also to the fact this was a winter weekend getaway. If you can stand the slightly chillier conditions, winter semester break is a great time to avoid tourist lines and crowded destinations.

But I digress - the area is quieter, more suburban and suited the 'road-trip in a lovingly restored vintage car with the windows rolled down and the Australian bushland at your door' vibe. Where else can you get kangaroos casually hopping in driveways and in public parks?

A great holiday house for a big group of friends - the airy, well-lit living rooms invite you to lounge around after a beach adventure in the morning (beaches like the beautiful Cave Beach are a mere 10-15min drive away), kick back and bask in the tranquility of the winter afternoon and snuggle up to a quiet movie at night.

The south gets rather cold at night, especially in winter, but my suitcase of beanies and thick coats was rendered unnecessary by the warm fireplace and the ridiculously comfortable couch (I mean ridiculously comfortable).

Breakfast is ideal when eaten on the wooden table outside. The patio opens out to a spacious backyard just begging for an eager dog and makes a perfect place for stargazing at night. The sky - without the city's light pollution - is remarkable and plenty of chairs and lounges are provided.

These are only a couple of the bedrooms, most of them housing a double bed per room. The master bedroom has its own ensuite and walk-in-wardrobe for your luggage necessities. Between all the beds and the gigantic couch, the house can comfortably house over thirteen people.

Everything was kept well stored and clean and there was an easy, breezy openness to the interior spaces that made the whole place ideal for lazy, relaxed holidays. Overall, great house to stay in and a great weekend experience.