Tiny homes have caused something of a revolution in Instagram travel porn. Cosy yet wild, compact but open to the elements, each small cabin in the countryside sparks a sense of adventure with just enough comfort for your average Joe City Mouse – and hundreds of people are booking into the remote getaways across the country.
We stayed at one of Unyoked’s three wilderness hideouts in NSW to see what #cabinporn is all about (and to see if we could hack the ‘spiciness’ of this off-the-grid style of aspirational travel).
Coralie, the name of our weatherboard cabin in the Kangaroo Valley region, is rated ‘mild level of spice’ on the Unyoked website – a grading system that cofounders Cam and Chris Grant use to prepare their guests for the level of adventure they will encounter during their stay: dirt roads, possible wildlife sightings, distance from the nearest town, for example. And we admit the first time we felt outside our comfort zone was when we set out on foot, car parked between a vineyard and a creek, across two fields with a loose sense of direction.
We’ve followed GPS coordinates to get here, a two-hour drive from home, but with hills of dense bush surrounding us, it starts to feel like we’re very far from Sydney. We spot the tiny house in the distance, and there’s no other sign of human life – it’s idyllic, peaceful, and a little unnerving.
Inside the cabin is cosy AF. Coralie’s plywood walls, cute pot plants, and elevated, plump bed, framed by two large glass windows, make the small space feel bright, snug and secure. There’s a little rocking from side to side as you move about the room (it’s mounted on a trailer), but the space feels like a tiny, smartly home: there’s a small fridge, indoor burners, a shelf stocked with condiments, camping bowls and coffee beans from Single O.
If you forgot to pack snacks, they’ve left a canvas tote of ‘Provisions’, which we immediately dig into for sealed packets of granola, longlife milk and campfire s’mores. Beers are stocked in the fridge, there are mini bottles of premixed Negronis – and they’ve even chopped up the firewood. Every little detail makes you feel settled, and gives you even more time to do… nothing at all.
They’ve got a stack of Penguin Classics (Picnic at Hanging Rock, On the Road and The Harp in the South) and there are USB ports if you feel like streaming podcasts but worry about the battery life. Endless scrolling is an unlikely weekend activity when your phone signal is stretched to its limits, but there are other ways to entertain yourself, including a yoga mat stacked by one of the camping chairs.
Once you’re settled down, there really is no need to leave. Sure, you could venture out to find the hidden creek, or climb the nearest mountain after sunrise, but what we loved most about our stay at Coralie was the opportunity to crawl under the blanket on the bed and watch noisy rosellas swooping between the trees, or the early morning fog roll over the hills.
There were a couple of spicy moments in the middle of the night – rustling and nibbling noises from a kangaroo? Wombat? But if you’re comfortable going without a mirror and using a composting toilet for the weekend, these are the kind of camping thrills you came for – just with the added comforts of high grade bed linen, freshly ground coffee beans and a steaming hot shower at your disposal.