The Castlereagh Valley, near Dickoya, stands out for its absorbing scenery – an arresting panorama of rich greens and blues. At its heart is a mirror-still reservoir dotted with islands that floods seven kilometers of a long, deep valley. Flanking Castlereagh Reservoir on either side are steeply rising hills sporting acres of neatly manicured tea estates topped by thick manes of trees. Whether the sun is shining in a cornflower blue sky or the clouds are descending into the mountains en masse, the views from the bungalow are always dramatic.
The closest town to Camellia Hills is Dickoya, home to tea estate bungalows, colonial-era clubhouse, the Castlereagh and Dickoya Cricket Club (formerly the Daramulla Club) whose ageing timber-panelled interiors take you back in time. Enroute to Dickoya is Warleigh Church, a bijou British-era lake-facing chapel whose graveyard is littered with tombstones engraved with European names – testament to the region’s colonial history where European planters crossed oceans to carve out a future in Ceylon Tea.
One of the best ways to travel into and within the Hill Country is by train, and the closest railway station to Camellia Hills is Hatton, a busy provincial town with a lively local market. Alternatively, swoop in on a seaplane, landing in Castlereagh Reservoir, and transported up to the bungalow along the tea lined estate roads.