From lockdowns and protests to an earthquake, Melbournites have had a tough couple of years, but the good news is that a) ‘normal’ life appears to be on the horizon, and that b) the city has plenty of quirky stays in the form of Riparide properties a short drive away that’ll help you wash away all your recent stresses. From cabins and cottages to a converted van, here are 10 of our favourites.
Flowerdale, High Country, VIC
This two-person, dog-friendly cottage is made for couples or even solo travellers looking to escape the city and enjoy nature’s serenity. Take in its hilltop surroundings from a private hot tub. Or spend the day exploring the local area by car, heading to Yea to sample the various baked goods or stopping for a walk around the rivers and parklands. Afterwards, back at the cottage, wind down your day playing with the property’s resident lambs, chooks and ducks.
Mount Toolebewong, Yarra Valley, VIC
The dream getaway for those who take comfort in the idea of ‘less is more’. The two-person Simple Life Cabin provides an intimate and luxurious atmosphere with its mood lighting, elegant decor and hidden position deep in the forest. Enjoy a long morning walk in nature — take your pick from Rainforest Gallery, Redwood Forest, or Steavenson Falls — before a well-deserved long lunch at the local cellar door, Innocent Bystander.
Walkerville, Gippsland, VIC
Grab three friends or some family members for a stay at this four-person rustic getaway, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne. Unplug and unwind from the daily grind here, with the property free of WiFi and phone reception. Enjoy sweeping views of the country landscape and sheep grazing in the neighbour’s pasture. As the sun sets, you just might want to treat yourself to a glass of red.
Apollo Bay, Great Ocean Road, VIC
Located above the Great Ocean Road in the Otways, Plenty is a 1980s Franklin Hunter van renovated to accentuate the forest, ocean and land around it. Wind down here with one other, overlooking rolling hills (it’s positioned at the top of a hill) or soaking in its outdoor bath after a long day of exploring.
Dean Marsh, Great Ocean Road, VIC
This breathtaking, four-person property sits at one of the highest points in the region. Its bed offers views across to the You Yangs, Ballarat to Mt Elephant and beyond. In the evening, sit on its deck with a glass of chilled wine and enjoy the soothing countryside sounds, keeping an eye out for kangaroos, echidnas and kookaburras.
Gapsted, High Country, VIC
A renovated farm that sleeps two, La Casa Cortes estate can be found between rolling hills and walnut orchards. Bathe in the morning light that streams through its skylights in its cathedral ceilings. After lazing in bed, reconnect with nature — and one another — with an outdoor bath overlooking the orchards or enjoy the private access to the Ovens River where you can go for an afternoon dip or take out a kayak.
Warburton Big Pats Creek, Yarra Valley, VIC
A tiny home two-person nestled among mountains, the (appropriately-named) Great Forest Tiny Retreat feels much further than its 90km from Melbourne distance would suggest. It’s a short cycle or drive into the town of Warburton, which is full of cafes, restaurants and quirky shops. And when it comes to outdoor activities, you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with everything from nature walks to picnics on the summit offered.
Deans Marsh, Great Ocean Road, VIC
A restored, nine-person home set on a 300-acre property, Lalwinya Cottage offers a beautiful setting for friends and family to take time to reconnect with another. Enjoy long walks around the property, stroll down to the nearby jetty for an afternoon by the water and stargaze on the home’s deck with a well-deserved glass of wine.
Mount Beauty, High Country, VIC
Spring Sur is a 100-acre, family-owned working horse farm in Keiwa Valley with accommodation sleeping two. Explore its farm, horse stables and quirky sheds. Or, if you’re looking for a true farm experience, be sure to organise a horse riding adventure across the High Plains and through the National Park. In the evening, share stories of the day with the farm’s owners at its long table.
Mt Martha, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
This couples retreat located in Mount Martha, only a three-minute stroll to the beach, is the perfect base for exploring the Mornington Peninsula. Spend your days here going for a surf or walking its coastal treks or pine tree-filled Red Hill Rail Trail. For an afternoon treat, head to Pt. Leo Estate for a wine tasting and meal.