Oh Buoy isn’t your average cabin or cottage. Inspired by their time living on a sailboat for three months, husband and wife Laurie and Jess Rissman bought a dilapidated ’70s houseboat at auction and spent a year transforming it into a charming, retro-cool stay moored in Berowra Waters, an hour from the Sydney CBD.

The interior is fitted with second-hand vintage furniture including a copper dining table, orange gingham loveseat, Verzelloni leather bean bags from Italy and a cabinet that handily converts into a bar for sundowners. Vintage treasures and knick-knacks personally collected from around the world adorn spare surfaces, such as Sharkie, a hand-carved teak bottle opener with brass teeth.

Each morning you’ll wake up to the cackle of kookaburras and gaze at the morning mist from a queen-size bed overlooking the tranquil river. Filtered through the windows, the morning sunlight casts a warm orange glow on the timber-panelled walls. Then it could be time for an energising swim in the river, right off the spotted gum deck.

As the days wear on, read a book in the lounge or put on your captain and first mate’s bathrobes and snuggle up in the double hammock overlooking the water and eucalyptus trees. Or get out and explore the surrounding wilderness – the houseboat is equipped with a kayak, stand-up paddleboard and a small ’70s motorboat named Ginger. Find waterfalls and mangroves, soak in hidden swimming holes, and marvel at the fancy homes and boat shacks on the riverbanks along the way.

If you’re up for the challenge, catch your dinner with the fishing rods and bait provided, then cook it in the boat’s restored kitchen. Oh Buoy runs entirely on solar energy and rainwater is conserved in the hull. Cooking is far from a necessity, though. Pleasant Italian cafe A Chef’s Secret is nearby for lunch, as is fine-diner the Berowra Waters Inn, which will pick you up and drop you off if you ask nicely.

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Updated: April 26th, 2023

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