Life after a green change – Not 1 but 2 of them!

WRITTEN BY: Karen Nixon, Penghana Bed and Breakfast

Our story began in Brisbane in 2002. We both worked in the corporate world and had reached a point in life where it was time for change from the trappings of our inner-city lifestyle.  I had already made the transition to self-employment some 8 years earlier, so another step into the unknown wasn’t as daunting as it was for Steve, fortunately he trusted my judgement!  Steve had corporate roles in the fuel industry throughout Queensland.  My experience was 21 years as a recruitment consultant.

We purchased a general store, post office, laundromat and residence in a small village in the Tweed Valley for a simpler life.   9 Years later, our property had become heritage listed, we had undertaken extensive renovations, re-positioned the post office as a ‘stand-alone’ business, created a gallery and a second hand book store.  Life experiences were diverse:  Our store featured in a TV series; we experienced floods; welcomed politicians (one who became Prime Minister) and we lived in an emerging destination and yet a controversial community.  Although working 7 days a week we had a great life, great friends and a successful business …. But it was time to move on.

The throw away comment “let’s pack up and move to Tasmania” took us down a new path of no return.  After re-assessing our wants and needs, to include spending more time at home, find a new project and a quieter life, the goal was clear.

We visited Tasmania 11 times, stayed in 18 ‘hosted’ Bed & Breakfasts across the state spending 31 bed nights as B&B guests.  We  followed the sales cycle of numerous B&B businesses, originally dismissing Penghana Bed & Breakfast  because it was leasehold from National Trust Tasmania, not freehold.

Upon attaining a successful property/business contract in northern NSW, – we processed the thought that perhaps Penghana Bed & Breakfast in Queenstown was worth considering. To sell, in the future, a continuously operated Bed & Breakfast business (some 30 years old) with a unique history, became an attractive option. The prospect of this property’s untapped potential, to embark upon a new project and challenge and leave the heat and humidity of northern NSW, ticked all our boxes.

We are now in year 8 of business ownership and although we regularly work 12-15 hours a day, we lead a rich and fulfilled life with the people we meet from all corners of the world and the new friends we’ve made.  Our combined skill base has been an ideal combination to position Penghana Bed & Breakfast to offer much more than just staying in a hosted B&B, but the unique opportunity to stay in a National Trust home with a great story to impart.  We’ve converted the Penghana Bed & Breakfast to be suitable for family/friends privately hosted getaways, a venue ideal for small conferences, launches, AGM’s, workshops, weddings, high teas and more.  We feel privileged to host Governors, a Prime Minister, politicians, actors, seasoned travellers and ‘virgin’ B&B guests. 

We never get sick of sharing the now 125-year-old “Penghana” story and sending our guests home with memories far exceeding their expectations. 

Penghana Bed & Breakfast is also proudly one of eleven, like-minded, fully accredited, locally owned and hosted accommodation businesses across the state and a ‘founding’ member of Tasmania’s Best Bed & Breakfast trail. Our combined local knowledge can be extremely helpful to streamline the planning phase of guests proposed “Tassie” holiday.

At this point in our lives, retirement is in our medium-term future plans.  However not before we see this ‘grand old lady’ have her deserved property and garden restoration made a reality to preserve her ongoing future at which point ……… mission accomplished!  Yes of course there is another project on the table – but a personal one next time.