Planning a girls’ reunion, lavish birthday celebration or, you just want some downtime with your people?
It’s not always easy to find accommodation where you can all bunker down together, let alone somewhere that is stylish, environmentally-friendly, packed with little luxuries and in an area you really want to visit.
To cut through the noise and help you switch from daydreaming to planning, read on for our pick of the best Slow Stays for group holidays.
TASSIE WRITERS SHACK
Slowing down at the Tassie Writers Shack is inevitable. With no TV, no microwave, and no washing machine, this back-to-basics getaway makes room for the big things, like watching the sun dance across the waters of Little Norfolk Bay or a game of cards on the oversized deck. With three bedrooms, large living spaces and a very relaxed no-frills vibe, this 1940s seaside abode is one of the best Slow Stays for group holidays in Tasmania. Hop in the car and explore nearby White Beach or the charming little Doo Town, keeping your eyes peeled for roadside vendors along the way—fresh oysters, fish and cray rolls are local favourites. When you arrive back, grab a page turner from the book nook and climb into the garden hammock for a few hours—surrounded by nothing but lush ferns and a sea breeze, you’d be forgiven for falling asleep. That is, until some calls “wine o’clock”.
BLACK BARN BOWRAL
Looking for a stylish pad to host your next girls’ weekend away? We’ve found just the spot! Escape the city and head to the country, or more specifically, Black Barn Bowral in the Southern Highlands. This charming retreat has been lovingly renovated by one of Australia’s most celebrated interior designers, Collette Dinnigan, so expect to be wowed at every turn. With enough room to sleep six, a game of paper-scissors-rock may be the only way to settle who gets the master suite with the freestanding bath. When you’re not out exploring Bowral’s antique emporiums and bookstores, a glass of vino and a cheeseboard by the fire in the cosy sitting room is a must.
Coasting along the winding roads through the Royal National Park, you’ll feel a world away from the bustling hubs of Sydney by time you arrive at Simpson Cottage. This historic beachfront home sits above the sea in the quiet town of Bundeena and is easily one of the best Slow Stays for group holidays. Packed with meaningful second-hand finds (including a vintage pinball machine!) and bed and kitchen linen handmade by the owner, it’s the little details here that make a big impact. Dish up a feast in the cook’s kitchen and then round up the crew for a long lunch on the outdoor picnic table—the views from here are something else. If switching off is a priority for your next getaway, a stay here could be the gateway to a more relaxed you.
Photo: Good Thanks Media
BLACK BARNS AT THE SIR GEORGE
Grab you phone and send out a group text, it’s time to lock in a couples’ trip to the stunning Black Barns at The Sir George in Jugiong. A cosy pub stay that’ll have you hunting down more of its kind, you’ll find this all-in-one Slow Stay about one and a half hours out of Canberra. Stay in one of the eight Shao Sugi Ban cladded barns and you’ll be sleeping in a modern, minimalist, environmentally-sound take on the original19th century out-buildings that once sat on this property. When you’re not exploring the rolling countryside, wander down through the established gardens to the restored 1852 Stone Pub, complete with a bar and restaurant. A few rounds of cold beers and mouth-watering dishes made from locally-grown produce, will taste that much better when your pillow is mere steps away.
THE RIDGE HOUSE
Yarragon South, VIC
Whether you want to get out of town with a large brood or a circle of close friends, The Ridge House, 90 minutes from Melbourne, is a luxurious bushland retreat made for group stays of up to eight people. Nestled in the country, this renovated retreat sits on a 50-acre property in West Gippsland and will take your breath away. Base yourself here and spend the days discovering private walking trials, the local farmer’s market or stocking up on local vino at a nearby winery. If you’d rather do nothing at all, the spacious lounge and dining areas, along with the verandah, provide the perfect settings for long-winded conversations with some of your favourite people.
Photo: Marnie Hawson
THE COTTAGE AT DUNMORE
If weathered tin roofs, original wood stoves and rustic furnishings are on the essentials list when hunting for a country getaway, then look no further than The Cottage at Dunmore. Built in the late 1800s, this humble sanctuary has been carefully restored with little modern luxuries added along the way—like wall heaters, a Victorian bath and stunning chandeliers. With two queen beds draped in linen and King-single designer bunk beds, we could imagine a young family or two small families shacking up here for the week—the kids will love spotting the roaming cows and the freedom that comes with all that outdoor space.
Photo: Marnie Hawson
Mullumbimby Creek, NSW
Perched on the side of a mountain, with mesmerising views stretching from the Byron Bay hinterland to the Pacific Ocean, Blackbird offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience where nothing has been left to chance. Featuring three detached pavilions decked out with King beds and star-gazing manuals, a magnesium pool to laze around and a detoxifying infrared sauna, this adults-only hideaway provides a stunning backdrop to celebrate a special birthday or life occasion. Go all out and lock in massages and a decadent degustation dinner, beginning with poolside cocktails and ending with a feast created by a private chef and served on the communal table. It doesn’t get much better than this.