New owners of Lazy River Estate Mathew and Kristen Smith have revealed their vision for the prominent property on the banks of the Macquarie River.
The Dubbo couple took over the reins of the renowned functions and event centre one month ago.
It was built from scratch by Peter and Pam Scott, who operated it for more than 25 years before making the decision to sell.
Mr and Mrs Smith say their core business at Lazy River Estate is "weddings and functions, as it was before", and it has already been the venue for three weddings since the ownership change.
But the duo want to expand the estate's offering, and are drawing on their experience in agriculture, retail and operating Talbragar Street airbnb Loft 33.
Two more accommodation spaces are planned for Lazy River, in addition to the existing villa.
Mr Smith said the two airbnbs would have glass ceilings and would be "luxury stargazing accommodation".
They also have in the works a sculpture garden, with six big sculptures heading their way by the end of the year.
"So hopefully by Christmas we'll have them standing, and that people go 'I feel like a wine or a beer or a coffee', they can just walk around, cup of tea, and just enjoy the surroundings and look at the sculptures," Mrs Smith said.
On Mother's Day they are hosting an event, which will be the first of their endeavours to be "more open to the public" and provide different options for what they call "milestone days".
Lazy River's long-held pop-up markets will return on June 27, and then from Father's Day onwards they are looking to open up one Sunday a month for something like a "Sunday session".
"We want to open it to the community, and let people come in to enjoy it," Mrs Smith said.
We want to open it to the community, and let people come in to enjoy it.Lazy River Estate owner Kristen Smith
"People can come out from brunch to four o'clock and there will be live music, they can have a drink, coffee, just sit out here and enjoy the grounds, and they can pre-book and come out."
Mr Smith said they'd like to reinvigorate the concert venue idea, and were talking to promoters at the moment.
"Obviously in the current climate, it's a little hard to get things organised quickly, but hopefully a couple of concerts a year as well," he said.
Wine and cider production is also on the radar, making use of the vines on the property, and it's a new challenge they're enthusiastic about turning their hands to.
"Well, we're farmers, so I reckon we can pick it up pretty quickly," Mr Smith said.
"It's either going to be some beautiful wine or some vinegar for the kitchen."
They're planning to do both a red and a white and anticipate it will take "two or three years to get it perfected".
Drought helped prompt their journey towards diversification, rather than having "all [their] eggs in agriculture", Mrs Smith said.
Then Loft 33, located above her store The Gift Closet, had exceeded their expectations, with occupancy sitting at 70 to 80 per cent, she said.
COVID resulted in an influx of metro visitors to the city and region.
The Smiths see no reason why Dubbo can't emulate Orange and Mudgee, where vineyards are a feature.
"You keep hearing, having the airbnb in town, 'what is there to do in Dubbo'," Mr Smith said.
So we thought this was an opportunity that we can start offering a few different things out here at Lazy through the day as well, which is where the sculpture garden started.Mathew Smith
"So we thought this was an opportunity that we can start offering a few different things out here at Lazy through the day as well, which is where the sculpture garden started.
"Make the grounds a bit more accessible, a bit more tourist-friendly, and drive that tourism business through here as well.
"As well as, obviously, encompassing the local support that Lazy already has, but find a niche market in that tourism sector as well, because we have the big four in Dubbo, we'd like to think it's the big five if we can make Lazy a part of that."
Mrs Smith said they welcomed people to come and talk to them about their functions needs.
"It doesn't cost anything to come and chat, to say 'hello, this is what I'm thinking', whether it's 20 people or 500 people, we want to open the doors to the community, central west, anyone who's looking for something different to host a wedding, a function, a birthday, you name it, just come and see us.
"We're open to all things."
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