Miguel is the name of a cabin located in the Southern highlands of New South Wales. It’s tiny, architecturally designed, and can only be accessed via a 200-metre walk through a rainforest and dirt roads.
It’s exactly the kind of secluded location that twin brothers Cameron and Chris Grant envisioned when they came up with Unyoked, a start-up that puts tiny houses on private land in the country or wilderness only a couple of hours from Sydney and soon Melbourne. The cabins can be rented for up to three days at a time.
“We both worked in high-pace jobs in the city and were finding that life balance disappearing,” Cameron Grant says. “You save up all year for that one trip overseas, but it doesn’t help you relax and let go for the rest of the year.”
While camping can provide that sense of space and get you away from the city, Grant says it’s not a hassle-free activity, and it requires a lot of preparation.
“We wanted to bring that experience to people without having to go on a three-day trek, or go overseas,” he says.
Their own desire for this kind of remote weekend getaway, coupled with an obsession with cabin porn and the tiny house movement, led them to start Unyoked. In December last year the start-up launched quietly with its first cabin, Miguel, which was built and designed by Sydney-based firm Fresh Prince.
“Our cabins are built with nature in mind,” Grant says. Using sustainable materials, the “cabins are made to make you feel part of the landscape, to [help you] slow down and appreciate what's around you and really feel at home in the wilderness.”
The tiny house booked out for eight weeks within two days. A night in Miguel or Heike (a second cabin) is $190, with a minimum two-night stay. Bedding, towels, a picnic table, a fire pit and a fan are provided. There’s also a gas stove, a composting toilet, a bar fridge and a hot shower powered by solar.
Unyoked is currently going through a seed-funding round, and Victorian locations are scheduled to be available by the end of the year as part of an expansion involving six new locations. Roughly 250 landowners have expressed interest in hosting an Unyoked cabin on their land, Grant says, including some in Lorne and the Grampians.
"The plan is to launch at least two houses in Victoria this year,” he says. They’re also looking into establishing longer-term stay options later this year.
The Grants began the start-up with an idea to find locations no more than two hours from the city, which would make it easier for people to “disappear after work”, but some new locations will be further away.
You can already sign-up for the Melbourne waitlist – it’s probably a wise move since both Heike and Miguel are booked every weekend until early next year.
In fact, even Unyoked’s founders are technically on a waitlist.
“The only problem,” Grant says, “is we’ve lost the ability to go ourselves.”
Sign up for the Melbourne waitlist here.
This article was updated on July 7, 2017.