Nestled amongst 250 acres of Australian hardwood forest with pockets of lush temperate rainforest and old-growth timbers, seasonal creeks and waterfalls, freshwater swimming holes, and picturesque ridges with tree-topped mountain views that will leave you breathless (for all the right reasons), Carawirry is an escape like no other.

Owned and operated by John and Heather Watkins, Carawirry is a place for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation; a haven of open spaces and fresh air; of trees and tranquillity.

At Carawirry, we invite our guests to be the designers of their own adventure and to follow their curiosity, wherever it may lead them.


Carawirry Forest Escape stands apart as a sanctuary of peace, solitude, and tranquillity in the leafy heart of the NSW Hunter Valley region. The property lies at the foothills of the surrounding Barrington Tops National Park and is just a short drive from the picturesque township of Dungog.

Accommodation & Facilities

Whether you want to escape the city hustle as a family, share a memorable trip with a group of friends, or book a romantic couple’s getaway, Carawirry is the perfect place for those who want to disconnect from the outside world. With your choice of two beautifully-appointed luxury log cabins on 250 acres of nature waiting to be explored, Carawirry is truly unlike anywhere you’ve been before.


In the beginning: 1909 – 1972

Originally established as a timber mill within the Gams Estate in 1909, the property was owned and operated by John Samuel Gam. The Gams Sawmill supplied timber for the construction of the original BHP Steelworks in Newcastle.

Sadly, John Gam died in a wagon accident in 1922, and his son inherited the mill, which continued to operate up until 1972 when it was purchased by A.S Nicholas & Son (a competing mill) and dismantled not long after.

Carawirry Cabins & Wildlife Refuge: 1975 – 2017

Carawirry Cabins & Wildlife Refuge was the passion project and life’s work of John and Vicki Lloyd. John and Vicki dedicated themselves to the restoration and improvement of Carawirry’s neglected natural habitat, which needed care after 80 years of selective logging.

After building their family home, their first major project was to establish a small-scale, nature-based tourism and accommodation facility. Originally operating as Carawirry Cabins & Wildlife Refuge, the concept was to provide a traditional Aussie holiday experience by linking people with the Australian bush. With 8km of walking tracks, as well as log cabins located in individual bush settings, Carawirry Cabins & Wildlife Refuge gave guests a real sense of connecting with nature and was the first development of its kind established in the Dungog Shire.

The benefits of John and Vicki’s hard work and dedication are still evident today, and Vicki remains a recognised leader of ecological expertise in the local area.

Carawirry Forest Escape: 2017 – Present

In mid-2017, John & Heather Watkins bought the property and re-branded as Carawirry Forest Escape. A young, local family with big plans for promoting eco-tourism in the Dungog Region, John and Heather’s vision for Carawirry is one of old-world wilderness charm, understated comfort, sustainable inclusions, contemporary interiors and modern luxuries.

John and Heather have fully re-built and renovated both cabins and have made various improvements and upgrades to the property, including building the new outdoor Bathhouse adjacent to the Treehouse cabin, stocking the dams with fish, and mindfully clearing bush to create more trails for their guests to enjoy. They intend to continue John & Vicki’s work to ensure this spectacular parcel of Australian bush remains cared for and available for the public to experience and enjoy for many years to come.

John and Heather look forward to welcoming you to Carawirry and to showing you the hidden wonders of their unique piece of Hunter Valley heaven.


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