Built way back in 1884, this cool-as-all-get-out restored church has been given new life as one of the most original stays in the Hepburn Shire. Only 15 minutes from the charming town of Daylesford – famous for its healing mineral springs – this award-winning conversion has everything needed for a heavenly stay: reverse-cycle air-con, nifty wood fire heater, oak floors, and a triple-grill gas barbecue out on the deck. Luxe furnishings, original works of art, vaulted ceilings and striking Gothic windows make this former place of worship one you’ll never want to leave. There are three bedrooms, which means it’s perfect for your family, your whole crew or a luxe romantic getaway.
A short ferry ride from Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula, secluded French Island National Park – the state’s largest coastal island – is where you go when you need to recharge in nature, far from the madding crowd. Since there’s just one grocery store on the entire island, guests are advised to pack their own food to cook in the communal kitchen, barbecue and fire pit area. Offering towels, toiletries and all the other essentials, French Island Glamping takes care of the rest, leaving visitors free to explore the island, learn about its fascinating history or go on a wildlife spotting tour with Naturaliste Tours.
Just an hour away from Melbourne, this cute property in the bucolic Macedon Ranges ticks all the cool getaway boxes. Home to a converted train carriage and a historic van once used to house railway workers, a stay at Hedge Farm will please trainspotters, history buffs and design fans who get off on seeing what can be done in small, upcycled spaces. Wineries, farm gates and old school country pubs are all within striking distance too.
North East Victoria knows how to roll out the red carpet for visitors and there’s no better hosts than the folk at Pickled Sisters. Located right among grapevines in a winery near the border of New South Wales, this deluxe glamping experience offers a bell tent kitted out with a king bed, mini-bar, board games, magazines, fishing gear, local maps and a welcome bottle of Cofield Wine. Breakfast, dinner and grazing hampers and platters filled with local gourmet goodies (hello there Milawa cheese) seal the deal on what is already a very enticing getaway prospect.
Want to enjoy a taste of #vanlife without the commitment of van ownership? Wanderlings offer kitsch van accommodation options in your choice of four different Mornington Peninsula locations including the serene Balnarring Beach. The newest addition to the Wanderlings van family is Skye the 1962 Airstream Flying Cloud, complete with queen bed, retro fringed awning and air-conditioning for those hot summer nights.
Only ten minutes from the hamlet of Trentham (a small town in Hepburn Shire), this classic retreat will convert visitors to churchgoers in no time. Originally built in the 1920s, a weekend at this restored timber church is just the ticket if a slow-paced country escape is on the agenda. Featuring original stained glass windows, high ceilings, a fireplace, spa, deck and extensive gardens to swoon over, a stay here is truly a religious experience. There’s enough space here for six guests in this three-bedroom house.
Located 20 minutes from Geelong, Bannockburn is responsible for some of the state’s best food and wine yet remains blissfully crowd-free. A stay in the three-bedroom guest house at Sage Farm puts visitors smack bang in the middle of a rural idyll with the power to lower blood pressure upon sight. Guests can go for long walks along the Moorabool River or around the farm to say hi to the free range chooks or friendly farm dog, Bach. Bringing true meaning to ‘paddock-to-plate dining’, visitors can cook their own meals using hand-picked produce from the farm’s garden and meat from the onsite artisan butchery
Nothing beats a fresh blast of alpine air. A visit to Porepunkah’s Kiln Houses – located at the base of Mount Buffalo – feels like stepping back into an older, simpler world, blended with the freshness of contemporary design. Modelled on the tobacco kiln houses that once dotted the High Country, these architecturally designed retreats offer incredible views of vineyards, cattle and surrounding mountain ranges. Kitted out with a spa, wood fire and even a sauna, this property also offers a set of Chappelli bikes for guests to take for a spin to the local pub or further afield to Bright Brewery. You can choose between one of three houses depending on how much space you’re after.
Whoa there – there’s no need to fly to Mongolia to enjoy a yurt stay. Set on 82 hectares of eucalypt-scented bushland, Talo Retreat yurts (think circular rooms with canvas walls with wool lining) are located in Moama, only a stone’s throw from the mighty Murray River. Surrounded by bushland alive with native wildlife, guests can expect to see kangaroos hop by as they laze in their hammock, sipping a cool beer. Complimentary bike and canoe hire makes local exploration a breeze.
Not enough annual leave to get to Dollywood in Tennessee? Luckily, you can get your dose of southern charm only an hour from Melbourne. Like the country singer herself, Dollywood in Daylesford is bursting with personality. What this four-bedroom home lacks in theme park rides it makes up in vintage bikes, Netflix, cacti, a record player a bath perfect for belting out ‘Jolene’. This thoroughly contemporary (and almost achingly hip) home features artworks by the likes of Spencer Shakespeare and Jennifer Stenglein, with fun kitsch touches like pink neon signage.
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