Tucked away down a dirt track just off the Great Ocean Road is a two-storey cabin geared towards complete relaxation and breaking you out of your routine.
Long Tide Retreat is located in Skenes Creek North, about a two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Melbourne’s CBD. It was built out of recycled local timber in 1992, but only opened for public bookings late last year.
The retreat is surrounded by bush, and its worn wood exterior means it’s fairly unassuming from the outside. Inside, it’s lived-in, filled with nooks and crannies for reading and relaxing, such as by the fireplace, or in the claw-foot tub.
There’s a cupboard full of board games and puzzles, but if you’d rather you can simply watch the sunset from the upper levels, or gaze out at the ocean. And there’s no no wi-fi, so you can completely unplug (there is a TV though).
If you do want to venture out, there’s a barbeque, and seating where you can wait for local wildlife – such as koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, kookaburras, owls and echidnas – to visit. Or just gaze up at the stars without light pollution from the city getting in the way.
The house sleeps four people in two bedrooms, the second in an attic (accessed by a ladder) with a window set into the roof for more star-gazing. The kitchen is stocked with the basics – oil, butter, margarine, milk, coffee, tea and a few dried herbs and spices – and occasionally eggs from the owners’ 12 chickens (the owners live next door).
Long Tide Retreat is listed on Riparide, a site that specialises in properties with a “bit more isolation, with natural beauty and outdoor activities”, founder Marlon Law says. “We’re trying to encourage urbanites to not just go down and book a property and run your routine like you do in the city.”
It’s a 15-minute drive to beach, 20 minutes to the coastal town of Apollo Bay, and about 45 minutes from the hiking paths near the Californian Redwoods and Hopetown Falls, which is also a great spot for a picnic.
Long Tide Retreat is located in Skenes Creek North (the full address is provided on booking). Rates start at $180 per night on weekdays and $200 on weekends for two adults. Additional guests cost $50 each.