Get us in your inbox

A couple sitting on a fold-out bed of tiny home Stella the Stargazer.
Photograph: Brook James

Looking to go off-grid? Here are two one-of-a-kind Victorian stays to try

Choose between a luxurious eco-pod with floor-to-ceiling glass walls or a cosy stargazing shack with a roll-out bed

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier

If you're looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, then the answer may lie in unplugging from the digital world and going off-grid for some peace and quiet. And these days, off-grid doesn't necessarily mean going without creature comforts like indoor plumbing, electricity and soft linens. In truth, all off-grid really means is self-sufficiency and not being dependent on the 'grid' for gas, electricity, sewerage and water. Off-grid getaways can look an awful lot like first-rate accommodation, and we've rounded up two of our top picks to help get you started: Sky Pods and Stella the Stargazer

Here for the motel revival? We've rounded up five road trip-worthy motels in Victoria.

After hotels instead? Here are five hotels in Victoria worth travelling for.

No car? No problem – here are Victoria's top five carless day trips.

Two one-of-a-kind Victorian off-grid stays to try

  • Hotels

In late 2022, a tiny home reminiscent of a tin shed rolled up and parked by Fed Square out the front of Victoria by Farmer's Daughters. Passers-by likely had no idea what this arrival meant, but it marked a special occasion: the completion of Stella the Stargazer, a limited-edition off-grid accommodation experience that pays homage to the great Aussie shed. 

Created by Port Fairy-based design and manufacturing business Ample, in partnership with Visit Victoria, Stella is a one-of-a-kind portable shack designed for the perfect regional stargazing experience. The frame, which is made from salvaged steel and timber, houses a remarkable feature: a cloud-like queen-sized bed on a roll-out stargazing platform. When you unhook it and roll it out, the glass windows rise with it so you can sleep under cover but still see the sky above, alongside 180-degree views of the surroundings. 

Stella also comes fitted out with a full kitchen and some dry goods like spices, oil, tea, coffee and even garlic bulbs knotted and hung from the rafters. With your stay, you'll also receive a 'heat and eat' welcome pack and breakfast provisions curated by Alejandro Saravia (Victoria, Farmer's Daughters). The menu highlights local and seasonal produce and you can expect the likes of local cheeses, slow-braised lamb shoulder with gnocchi and gremolata, the fixings for a ham, cheese, tomato and basil sanga and desserts. 

There's a fire pit out front, as well as supplied firewood, kindling, firestarter and a utility lighter. Get a fire going and then kick back and relax; there are heaps of books nestled within Stella's nooks and crannies, as well as tic-tac-toe and adult colouring books. And before you go, don't forget to sign the leather-bound guestbook and read about all the other experiences people have had inside this special space. 

Thanks to her mobile nature, Stella will have stints in different areas of regional Victoria. She started off in the rolling hills of Central Gippsland before making her way to the Bay of Islands along Great Ocean Road. She'll remain there from February 3 to April 6, 2023, before heading to the Grampians for autumn from April 17 to June 18, 2023.

  • Hotels

When you think of off-grid living, do you think of cosy cabins that lack creature comforts like indoor plumbing and electricity? If so, it's time to welcome you to the 21st century, where off-grid living can have pretty much all of the luxuries of modern-day living – and a prime example are these Sky Pods and Sky Ships in Cape Otway. 

Housed on an 80-hectare private wildlife refuge that hugs Victoria's western coast, these four bookable and self-contained eco-pods are best known for a particular feature: floor-to-ceiling glass walls that blur the lines between outdoor and indoor. Those staying the night get to enjoy the best of the bush and luxury accommodation, with amenities like Nespresso machines, a fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. 

Choose between the two Sky Pods (priced at $415 and $435 per night) or the Sky Ships (priced at $355 per night) and book for a minimum of two nights. Make sure to pack provisions or stop on the way to pick up ingredients for dinner, as the property is fairly remote and Apollo Bay is the nearest town to you at a half-hour's drive away. 

When you roll up to the gate at the end of Manna Gum Drive, you'll likely be greeted by a smiling Maxwell Vella, ready to tell you the story behind his little slice of paradise. Max and his wife Lisa (who are musicians that formerly owned the Night Cat in Fitzroy) own and live in a house on this sprawling space where they've tasked themselves with leading lives – and building living spaces – that cause the least environmental damage possible. All of the properties here are completely off-grid, and solar panels power your experience. The Vellas have also planted more than 65,000 trees on the property to help regenerate the land. 

After you've arrived, settle in and make yourself at home then prepare for the incoming sunset. While you can watch it from your pod, you'll also have access to a private walking trail down to Station Beach and Rainbow Falls – at least once during your stay, you should embark on the short trek (20 minutes downhill there, 30 minutes uphill back) down to the water. When you get back, rug up and set up the 100-inch projector screen for an immersive movie night experience. When you wake up and roll up the screen, you just might be lucky enough to catch sight of some roos enjoying breakfast. 

    You may also like
    You may also like

    The best things in life are free.

    Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

    Loading animation
    Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

    🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

    Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!