End of an era for owners as ‘world class accommodation’ in Montville hits market

A luxury lakeside retreat described by its own guests as “world class accommodation” is set to hit the market for about a cool $20million.

Sitting on 45 acres overlooking Lake Baroon, Secrets on the Lake at Montville boasts 11 bespoke treehouses with exquisite hand-carved wood-work detailing, perched among the Blackall Range rainforest.

The property also comes with a restaurant, an established wedding venue, an art gallery and plenty of room to develop more private residences or accommodation.

Each self-contained cabin features timber carving by local woodworker Jack Wilms, sunken spas, local artist’s work, hanging fireplaces and private balconies with breathtaking views of the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Secrets on the Lake at Montville-view
The Johnstons opted for treehouses with connecting boardwalks when designing the retreat.

Designing and building the retreat “from scratch” into what is today was definitely a labour of love for owners Aldy and George Johnston over the last 25 years.

The Johnstons are selling their cherished creation to do a bit more travelling, have a bit of a relax after so many years of hard work and to eventually retire.

“It’s a bit hard to let go, but everyone is telling us that, once you have, it’s not so hard then,” Mrs Johnston said.

“We have worked nonstop since we bought that land to create Secrets on the Lake – we worked daily – because managing it is quite a big task.

Secrets on the Lake
Inside Secrets on the Lake at Montville.

“But being in our late 70s, we are now at an age where we probably should be having a bit more fun in our lives.”

The long-time locals bought the land in 1984 as a result of the land resumptions that came from building Baroon Pocket Dam, and embarked on their dream to build an eco-resort.

“Our property was under the lake and was resumed so we bought the last section left from Steve Wises property, he was a black smith and we were neighbours,” Mrs Johnston said.

“It was a total mess when we started.”

Secrets on the Lake at Montville owners
Owners Aldy and George Johnston have been long time local of the area.

The Johntons worked hard at creating the existing gardens and designing and building the treehouses themselves.

“We made them how we liked, I think they are timeless,” she said.

“While they are an older style, they don’t look they their age because we continually maintain them and are very careful to keep them in pristine condition.”

When they set out, Mrs Johnston confessed they had a budget, but with each build she soon realised that budget would be going out the window.

Secrets on the Lake-treehouse cabin
The treehouse cabins boast breathtaking views of Lake Baroon.

“George wants everything to be perfect and different and interesting,” she said.

“I think everything we do is an achievement.

“We began with seven cabins and now we have 11 … and every time we build something new, we made it even better. Jack Wilms has done beautiful wood work in the Cabins.”

It will be the end of an era for the couple when they find the right buyer but Mrs Johnston said money wasn’t the issue.

“We will probably just make a return after selling because there is an awful lot invested in this place,” she said.

“But it’s not all about money.

“The actual property is worth a great deal of money, even the land it self. The issue is finding the right person for this place … everything will be taken into consideration.”

The couple’s plan is to build their own little home at the edge of the lake, and have a block that will have a prime view of the lake.

“We told our repeat customers that’s where we will be,” she said.

“Some of them have been coming for 25 years, others not quite that long but they still come each year.

“That’s been one of the joys of Secrets – we make friends with our customers and they come back and they think it’s their place. It’s location is nearly one of the most beautiful places you can have a holiday, we just love it.”

Secrets on the Lake at Montville
At the top of the property are waterfalls and rockpools.

Mrs Johnston said the retreat was really still a secret to some, even 25 years on.

“Anyone who wants to have a look is invited,” she said.

“We have a beautiful restaurant, they can come and just enjoy the place.”

LJ Hooker Property Centre’s Karen Renouf is running an expressions of interest campaign for interested buyers until the end of October.

Mrs Johnston said the realtor has already had a number of enquires.

Article source: www.sunshinecoastnews.com.au

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