About an hour’s drive from Melbourne, five minutes from the centre of Healesville, is a tiny blue house surrounded by rolling hills and bushland.
When Ben Stanton and his sister Aimee decided to start Tiny Stays last year, their aim was to get people close to nature with a few of the luxuries of a boutique hotel. So, drawing on Aimee’s background as a plumber – and with some help from their builder father – they started chalking out a plan for the perfect tiny house.
The house is completely off-grid, using solar power and a rainwater tank. It has a bathroom with hot water, a kitchenette with a fridge, gas stove and cooking utensils, plus thoughtful touches such as board games and an outdoor fire pit (with marshmallows). The big comfortable queen bed is surrounded by three giant windows that allow you to look out at the 30 acres of land that’s all yours for the night.
“You can look straight out the window and see all the stars, the moon, the milky way,” says Ben. “It feels like even though you’re indoors you’re outdoors at the same time. Then when you’re lying in bed in the morning you’re nice and snug, you’ve got all the mist outside and there’s a few kangaroos jumping around – it all seems pretty perfect.”
The house is completely private. The only residents on the property are six cows, and Ben and Aimee live in nearby Lilydale (the house code is sent to guests the day before check-in). You might also spot kangaroos and the odd wild deer.
“The deer are rare, but kangaroos you’re pretty much guaranteed to spot every day,” Ben says. If you’d rather head out, pop into one of the many local wineries, book into TarraWarra or Graceburn Wine Room for dinner, visit Four Pillars gin distillery or venture a bit further out to hiking trails in the Yarra Ranges National Park.
Ben and Aimee have their eye on a few other locations, with plans to construct two more houses by the end of the year.
Prices start at $197 per night for two people, plus a $25 cleaning fee per stay.