Europe might be gearing up for winter but things are heating up Down Under. With summer approaching, Australians are taking off from cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for road trips to the bush – or ocean.
From weekend getaways to longer spells under the sun, these Australian holiday homes are all ensconced within nature and designed for slow living…
Shackpalace in Noosaville Hill, Queensland
Sleeps 2; from $350 per night via Plans Matter
Designer Frank Macchia built this timber ‘shack’ as an experiment in slow living. Borrowing principles from Japanese design, the Queensland holiday home is divided into three pavilions that separate the ‘daily rituals’ of living, sleeping and bathing. Interiors are decked out in natural woods and moody colours, including the bedroom, designed for deep sleeping.
JR’s eco-hut on the Kimo Estate, Gundagai, New South Wales
Sleeps 2; via Airbnb from £200 per night
The humble hut is given an update by architects Anthony Hunt and Luke Stanley who’ve drawn on the agricultural structures dotting the region to fashion their sustainable off-grid retreat. The A-frame is built using locally sourced ash and capped by a corrugated roof. Its glass front peeks out onto 6,000 acres of rolling hills and river flats.
Byron Beach villa in Northern Rivers, New South Wales
Sleeps 2-4; from $795 per night via Byron Beach Abodes
If you prefer your cabin to have a flushing toilet – or a heated mineral pool – this Byron Bay compound might take your fancy… Set against a backdrop of lush coastal rainforest, the New South Wales villa unfurls around a series of private internal courtyards, complete with a waterfall, spa and pools. Interiors offer soaring pitched roofs, white wall minimalism and natural textures. Guests can indulge in pamper packages and chef-prepared candle-lit dinners at home or hit the beach for surfing and sailing.
Dangar Island House near Brooklyn, New South Wales
3 bedrooms; from $400 per night via BoutiqueHomes
Aussie practice Robertson & Hindmarsh Architects designed this island holiday home, which evokes a bird watcher’s hut. Though completely secluded by bushland, it is only an hour drive from downtown Sydney. The blackened timber structure hugs a steep, wooded slope and its windows peek out onto the tree canopy. Interiors are an exercise in white-wall minimalism and are furnished with design pieces by the likes of Alvar Aalto and Carl Hansen & Søn.
Fisherman’s shack in Pittwater, New South Wales
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Sleeps 4; from $500 per night BoutiqueHomes
Sample a by-gone era at this fisherman’s shack in Pittwater, Sydney. It was originally built in the 1930s using timber and sandstone found in the local area and was rescued from ruin by its current owner. The rural respite will help you reconnect with nature: there are no towns, roads or cars nearby, just miles of bushland and the open sea.
Walkerville Shack in South Gippsland, Victoria
4 bedrooms; from $500 per night via Welcome Beyond
‘Rustic, basic and charming’ – that is how Walkerville Shack’s owners describe the simple hideaway, which sits on Prom Coast in South Gippsland around 2.5 hours from Melbourne. Its original owner built the shack by hand, living in a tent until he’d completed its saw-tooth frame, and crafting every element from the ladders to the bathroom. The cabin sits on five acres of farmland and is surrounded by trees – home to wombats, koalas and a cacophony of parrots – and sandy beaches, including Walkerville, Waratah Bay, Sandy Point and Venus Bay.
Micah cabin, north of Melbourne, Victoria
Sleeps 2; from $199 per night via Unyoked
Studio Fresh Prince designed this off-grid cabin with sustainability in mind to offer a taste of the quiet life. Micah is secreted in bushland 1.5 hours north of Melbourne and is one of a crop of tiny homes available via Unyoked. (There are more in New South Wales.) The pared-back dwelling is a launchpad for exploring the surrounding terrain or enjoying the views from its huge picture windows. It’s also got an air of mystery about it too: the exact location of the Victoria hut is only revealed two days before guests check in…
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