The recent Eight Hours Day long weekend proved the perfect opportunity for Margaret and Martin Dingemanse to trial their new accommodation project, Dales of Derby, before launching it publicly on Saturday.
Inviting four couples and their children to stay for the weekend, the Dingemanses wanted to iron out any kinks before strangers booked the group accommodation.
"It has all been really smooth," Mrs Dingemanse said.
"The architect's [Philip M Dingemanse] attention to detail has paid off.
"The couples had a room each and the kids had a room for the boys and one for the girls. We've had the open fire going; it's been really fun," she said.
Dales of Derby is perched above the banks of the Ringrooma River and has been designed for groups of up to 24 people.
The couple expects it will be popular with groups of mountain bike riders, eager to take advantage of its location so close to Derby's bike trails.
"We will get bike riders, but it's been designed for families and groups of friends for anniversaries, events and weekends away," Mrs Dingemanse said.
"We would love to see this become a place where many groups of families and friends invest in spending quality time together.
"Large group accommodation is a new idea, but there's so much to do here now with the bike tracks, Mt Paris Dam, walking and swimming," she said.
Dales of Derby has been arranged with natural flow in mind, even for large groups.
It has four queen bedrooms and two rooms with eight bunk beds, disabled access, a bike shed, commercial-style kitchen, barbecue and wood fire.
A large couch extends the length of one window, inviting many people to sit and play cards or board games, which are all supplied.
"There is no TV, which is deliberate. We want people to hang out together," Mrs Dingemanse said.
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The Dales' gable roof with natural timber and iron draw inspiration from machinery sheds, tin miner accommodation and high country slab huts, architect Philip Dingemanse said.
"The retreat is both a series of hut-like structures and a singular identifiable building, where gaps become significant framing moments of the river and eucalypt forest beyond," he said.
Health Minister Michael Ferguson and Dorset mayor Greg Howard will launch Dales of Derby on Saturday, March 16, at 10am and the accommodation will be open to the public until 2pm.
Dales of Derby is at 5-7 Main Street, Derby, with bookings already being taken at dalesofderby.com.au
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