We’ve been spending a lot of time lately roving around regional Victoria. With so much out there to see, do, eat and drink along the way, it’s important to find yourself an ideal base for adventures. Here’s some of our discoveries for a road trip away, along with our detailed Out of Town guides to get you going as soon as you roll out of bed.
The Sundrenched Beach Shack
Built in 2006, this part-futuristic, part early-1970s, part modern-day beach shack in Cape Schanck was built in league with sunlight’s movement across the site, wind frequency, speed and direction. The resulting award-winning design by Paul Morgan Architects is both environmentally conscious and aesthetically intriguing, with walls and windows taking on uncommon angles, and the striking sci-fi-esque internal water tank (aka living room “blob”) acting as a natural cooling system in warmer months.
This otherworldly residence can accommodate up to eight guests across its three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There’s a fully equipped kitchen, including pantry staples such as olive oil, salt and spices. Except for the dishwasher, all kitchen appliances can be found in the laundry – hidden away for the sake of aesthetics, perhaps.
There’s also a fireplace in the lounge and a barbeque and small herb garden outdoors. The rear glass doors open onto the sprawling back lawn, perfect for hosting balmy summer dinners or enjoying a quiet cup of coffee while soaking up the first rays of the day.
The Charming Restored Tram
Camp Kulning is a peaceful forest retreat in Kyneton with novel sleeping options for up to four guests.
Along with an idyllic cottage and a 1952 Globetrotter caravan, this one-acre property houses a 90-year old Melbourne tram affectionately named Jean Claude Van Tram. The converted tram is self-sufficient, with its own kitchen and bathroom, and its two bedrooms are divided by a cosy lounge replete with pot-belly fireplace. The space drips ramshackle charm, with retro furniture and kitsch treasures throughout.
Guests of all three sleeping options can make use of the shared veggie patch, campfire, hammocks, barbeque area and a tiki bar complete with bamboo decor and pineapple paraphernalia.
Chirpy groundskeeper Angela Henley is very much a part of the Camp Kulning experience. Ange is hands on with the upkeep of the lodgings and veggie patch, and will ensure your welcome is warm with the campfire ablaze in preparation.
The Floating Luxury Hotel
If you like your accommodation decadent, and have up to 11 friends ready for an adventure, Echuca’s Executive Houseboats and sister company Magic Murray have you covered.
These two-storey houseboats sleep up to 12 people and let you explore the Murray River from the captain’s seat. The lower floor features four bedrooms (each with an en suite), a lounge room, dining table and a fully equipped kitchen. Upstairs, there’s another kitchen with a barbeque and heated spa.
Technically these are boats, but they're more like floating luxury hotels. There’s no sense of roughing it on the river, with mod cons including a TV, dishwasher, washing machine, ice maker, Nespresso machine and ducted air-conditioning and heating at the ready.
You can travel downstream to Torrumbarry Weir where the river gets wider, or simply moor at your favourite quiet spot and alternate between swimming, sight-seeing and lazing on the rooftop sun lounges.
The Country Cottage Farm Life
This charming weatherboard cottage is set on one of Australia’s oldest operating walnut farms, Valley Nut Groves. It offers a secluded farmstay, perfect for slow mornings and cosy evenings that bookend King Valley winery adventures.
When owner Ronaldo Cortes renovated Cortes Cottage, he made sure to preserve the heritage exterior, while adding some smart joinery and modern comforts inside. It’s a two-bedroom residence – one room has a queen-size bed; the other, two singles. The sole bathroom features a rainfall showerhead and a claw-foot tub for a deep soak.
A record player in the lounge room sets the quiet country mood, and there’s a fireplace to keep toasty in cooler months. In warmer weather, you can fold the rear doors away, so the kitchen opens up on to the deck and flows straight out to the sheep paddock.
Time your visit right and you could be plucking ripe walnuts from the tree and eating them straight from the shell. There’s also a small herb garden to season your meals, and an outdoor compost bin so no kitchen scraps go to waste.
Take your morning cuppa for a 15-minute stroll through the orchard to reach the Ovens River, where you can enjoy a spot of fishing or swim in this private oasis.
The Natural Guest House
Riversdale Retreat is set in Chewtown, a 10-minute drive from Castlemaine, and is a part-modern shed, part-Japanese guest house surrounded by native bushland.
The timber and concrete interior features aspects of Japanese living: a raised tatami (matted) seating area dominates the lounge, and you can slide back the door between the tatami room and front porch to let a little more of the outdoors in. There’s a deep tub in the bathroom, an open shower and a stool and oke (bucket) for splashing water on yourself. The kitchen has all the mod cons as well as a pot-belly fireplace to keep warm.
The house sleeps up to three people, with a queen-size bed in the main bedroom, and a single bunk encased in a wooden nook. A daybed on the porch makes a perfect spot for reading and watching the wildlife. Stay there long enough and you’ll see kangaroos bouncing by.
Riversdale Retreat is off-grid and makes a perfect spot to put the phone and laptop away and decompress from digital life for a while.
Embrace the High Country’s Bounty
Set on 150 acres of Bright farmland, Cavedon’s Kilnhouse depicts the shape of the region’s old kiln houses when tobacco was the primary harvest.
Melding ideas of both rural and modernist architecture, this private residence is an idyllic base for exploring northeast Victoria. Set in Porepunkah, a 15-minute drive to Bright, it’s well positioned for a daytrip to the snow at Mt Buffalo. Fifteen acres of semillon and verdehlo grapevines (and the odd grazing cow) can be found just past the house’s back deck, which is also cloaked in vines that change colour with the seasons.
The interior is shaped by natural materials. Wood-panelled walls meet cow-hide rugs; stools and lamps are carved from tree trunks, and there’s a wood fireplace to keep the space toasty in the cooler months. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms provide ample space for either the whole family or a bunch of friends.
The Kilnhouse has several nooks perfect for lazing with a book or eyeballing your leafy surrounds. When suitably relaxed, you can draw yourself a bath fragrant with Australian botanicals from provided Leif products and relax with a glass of local wine.