Montague Island lighthouse, Narooma, New South Wales © Destination NSW
‘Switch Off’ at these Aussie Escapes
When you need a real recharge, leave behind the bright lights of the city and find a place where you can breathe deep, sleep soundly and get away from it all.
By Ute Junker
There comes a time when we all need to step back, remove ourselves from the everyday routine and just unwind. The best place to do so? With one of these stress-free escapes. From low-impact accommodation to an old-school country getaway where the entire clan can gather at the kitchen table, these retreats offer a total reset – and prove that you don’t always have to travel far to get away from it all.
Think small in Tasmania
If you love the idea of living more sustainably, in tune with the seasons and touching the earth lightly, Compass Hut on the north coast of Tasmania offers the ultimate opportunity to give the low-impact lifestyle a test drive.
Set on an organic farm, this stylish tiny house is designed to have a similarly tiny environmental impact, harvesting its own power, collecting its own water and recycling its waste. The clever design squeezes a bathroom, double bed and kitchenette into just 11.5 square metres (124 square feet), but the best thing about this compact accommodation is that nature is literally all around you. Explore the nearby bays and bush, forage for dinner in the on-site herb, fruit and vegetable gardens, or simply sit on the deck and enjoy the sunset.
How to experience it: Book in for a few nights at Compass Hut and spend your days immersed in your surrounds. The tiny house is located close to natural attractions, bushwalks, wildlife sanctuaries and wineries.
Come together in a Victorian country kitchen
The best place to reconnect with family and friends is around the kitchen table, and there is more than enough room in Dairy Flat Farm’s kitchen for the whole tribe to pull up a seat. This six-room lodge, just outside the Victorian spa town of Daylesford, is run by the team from the acclaimed Lake House restaurant and hotel, which sources much of its fresh produce from the farm’s orchards, olive groves and gardens. They will even cook up a country-style breakfast for you every morning, including fresh bread baked at the Dairy Flat Bake House. The sprawling property offers plenty of room to spread out; catch up on each other’s lives and share news as you stroll through the extensive gardens or warm yourselves by the fire pit.
How to experience it: Spend your days exploring the grounds or head further afield with one of their electric bikes. Daylesford is known for its abundance of spas and fantastic wineries. You can also book in for a workshop and leave an expert beekeeper or sourdough baker.
Enjoy the remote feeling of an island getaway
When you want to be lulled to sleep, few sounds are more soothing than the murmur of the ocean. On Montague Island, the ever-shifting waves provide a mesmerising backdrop to this untamed slice of nature where you can stay at one of two heritage lighthouse keeper’s cottages.
Just sit quietly by the shore and, depending on the time of year, you may see fur seals basking on the rocks, migrating humpback whales, playful dolphins, or even penguins waddling up the beach after a day’s fishing. Birdwatchers will want to keep an eye out for the 90-odd species that have been spotted here.
How to experience it: Managed by the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service, cottage stays include boat transfers from Narooma.