Having established a name for themselves on Sydney's Northern Beaches, design couple, Michelle Bishop (interior designer) and Tom Bishop (builder), returned to their hometown on the South Coast, Shoalhaven Heads. They had big plans to fulfil: transform a site that had long been a worn-down motel wrapped in lantana into a sophisticated yet laid-back seaside destination.
Now, only steps away from Shoalhaven's pristine coastline, Bangalay is a sensorial journey that effortlessly combines chic minimalism with Aussie beach vibes. This lush getaway is authentic, discreet and utterly alluring from the get-go.
THE LOOK & FEEL
Sitting beneath a canopy of palm trees, the Bishops wanted to replicate the feeling of walking along a bush track that leads to the beach; an iconic part of the South Coast experience. With visiting wildlife and gentle wafts of warm coastal breeze, the boardwalks lead to lust-worthy villas, an elegant dining space, and a pool in the shade of a towering blackbutt tree.
Interlinked by a series of boardwalks, the 16 self-contained luxury villas were designed by Michelle and Tom to sit sustainably within the landscape evoking a feeling of calm and relaxation. And nowhere is this better felt than inside the villas themselves.
Modern ironbark villas with private terraces overlook Shoalhaven Heads Golf Course and the mountain ranges, each perfectly positioned to capture the coastal breeze. Michelle draws on her love for minimalism and Scandinavian furniture, designing each villa with a fresh palette of natural timbers and neutral colours.
The rooms have been thoughtfully pulled together to provide everything travellers would need; a small fully equipped kitchen and laundry, separate bathroom, a comfy bed, a full dining table and extra storage for golf sticks and surfboards.
Custom-made items – lounges, benches, coffee and side tables and outdoor furniture are combined effortlessly with select pieces from MCM House, Stylecraft, Papaya and Kim Soo. Locally inspired artwork graces the walls from Julie Paterson, Marina Stroud and Anne Miles.
In the colder months, fireplaces, underfloor heating and plush Once Was Lost traveller throws provide all the cosy comforts. Add the noise of the ocean, the rustling of the trees and the smell of crisp sea air, and you’ll be blissed out for days.
Making a splash on the regional foodie scene is Bangalay Dining. Overlooking the golf course and pool, the fresh interior made up of custom-made furniture is a sophisticated yet unpretentious setting that shines a spotlight on regional fare.
Head Chef Brent Strong has teamed up with local producers who are passionate about the paddock-to-plate movement. His ever-changing menu is inspired by seasonal produce and native ingredients – oysters, local beef, native herbs and florals, even banksia surrounding the property features in some of the meals.
Embodying the laid-back lifestyle of the Aussie beachside town, Bangalay is an easy stroll to the town centre, beach and parkland. And although Shoalhaven Heads has a few drawcards of its own – the Native Botanic Gardens and the pristine coastline – it's what lies beyond that is begging to be explored.
Just a short drive away is Berry with its line-up of charming homeware stores and highly acclaimed restaurants, cafes and eateries. Jervis Bay is only an hour south, and along the way are local vineyards and stunning national parks and beaches.
Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at our guide to the best South Coast walks.