Sure, going on a holiday can feel a little indulgent, especially when the world is a little crazy right now. But the importance of switching off, slowing down, and taking a moment to reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones has never been more important.
Still, if you’re struggling with the idea of “taking” a holiday, then scroll through our list of Slow Stays that will help you “give” back. Whether it be through regeneration, wildlife conservation or community initiatives, these getaways will help you make a difference and douse you in feel-good vibes.
Kestrel Nest EcoHut
Mount Adrah, NSW
Book a Slow Stay at Kestrel Nest Ecohut on Highfield Farm and Woodland, and you’ll be supporting the protection of over 200 hectares of critically endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland. Sitting on the boundary of farmland (also being restored with native grasses and wildlife corridors) and the sprawling conservation area, this retreat is the perfect perch to spot rare and endangered bird species, wedgetails, tiny kestrels, echidnas, swamp wallabies and Eastern Grey kangaroos. Or, if you’re feeling active and are eager to work off last night’s cheeseboard, then throw on your sneakers, jump off the deck and hit the woodland trails to experience the beauty in the flesh.
Lamington National Park, QLD
Tucked on the edge of the world heritage listed Lamington National Park, Nightfall is, in one word, magic. Come for the luxurious eco glamping tents, complete with wood-burning fires and freestanding baths, and you’ll stay for the lush, wilderness setting, in part, thanks to the decision to utilise only five of 257 acres for the accommodation grounds. In addition to reserving most of the property for wild flora and fauna, the team here also contribute to the Land for Wildlife program, planting over 100 native plants for habitat each year. With so much good happening, you can sleep, bathe and rest easy, knowing a stay at Nightfall is having a positive impact.
A-Frame Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley, NSW
You may not be able to see the good you’re doing, while staying at A-Frame Kangaroo Valley, but we promise that this top-secret mission is happening behind the scenes. Intrigued? Thought so! The owners of A-Frame are trying to regenerate one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants, the Wollemi Pine, on the property—buying and planting one pine for every month they host guests. But, with less than 100 adult trees known to exist today, the importance of isolating the fragile baby pines until they’re more robust, is paramount to their growth and survival. So, while you may stumble upon one during your stay, the exact location will never be divulged to guests. But don’t worry, you can also give back in another, more direct way, when you stay at this rustic retreat. Go to the loo and wipe your tuches with the How We Roll toilet paper supplied, and you’ll be helping to plant trees in bush-fire ravaged areas of NSW. Who knew you could do so much good from the dunny?!
Cedar Cottage Meander
A guiding principle of regenerative tourism is to leave a place better than you found it, and the folks at the bespoke Cedar Cottage Meander have done just that. Sitting an hour’s drive from both Launceston and Devonport in Tasmania, the area around the self-catering cottage had been selectively logged in the past, stripping all the big mature hardwoods. Fast forward to now, and 22 of the 24 hectares surrounding the cottage is dedicated to regeneration of the forest. Sip a glass of wine in the outdoor hot tub and you can play eye-spy with the likes of Tasmanian Oak and Blackwood that are repopulating the property.
Bellingen Farm House
Giving back doesn’t just come in the form of regeneration and restoration, it can also come by way of contributing to the community. One Slow Stay that really knows how to support and provide for those in need, is the rambling Bellingen Farm House. In the past, they’ve offered free accommodation to bushfire victims and single parents who have been under hardship thanks to Covid-19, and they have opened their farm to schools for tours, lessons about biodynamics and to feed the animals. To top it all off, there’s always the roadside stall, decked out with fresh fruit and produce, where anyone who is struggling financially is welcome to take what they need, free of charge. After-all, kindness is what makes the world go round.
Paradise Road Farm
Taking the idea of a “farm stay” to new heights, Paradise Road Farm features 100 acres of lush rolling countryside in Northwest Tasmania, not far from Cradle Mountain. Stake your claim on one of two cosy cabins and $25 of your booking will be put towards instilling regenerative farming principles to the property, as well as restoring the remnant natural bush and platypus habitats in the dams and creek. It’s an easy trade-off when you’re bestowed incredible views of Mount Rowland for your contribution. Want to give back and have muddy boots to show for it? Get in touch and line up your getaway with the inaugural planting day.
Kangaroo Island, SA
If you have a soft spot for Kangaroo Island and glossy black cockatoos, escape to the stunning Ecopia Retreat for an off-the-grid Slow Stay that gives back in bucketloads. While the rammed earth villas and striking vistas of the 60-hectare registered wildlife sanctuary would be enough to lure any sustainable-savvy traveller, it’s the work that goes on behind-the-scenes that will really seal the deal. Over 10 years, the owners of Ecopia have planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs to extend the habitat for Glossy Black Cockatoos and provide more homes for the growing number of resident koalas. And, after the black summer bush fires, this mission went into overdrive. Now, with every booking made, another native tree is planted, so you’ll be doing your bit before you even arrive.
“Care for the Earth, care for people and share our abundance” is the guiding permaculture ethos at Rosalita’s Rest, a farm just outside of Billinudgel in northern NSW. Leading the way are owners Angela and Vince, who assist with sustainability and food growing classes at the local primary school, take part in community fundraisers and endeavour to regenerate their farm and surrounding areas—last year they celebrated 2020 by planting 2020 trees! If you want to make a difference first-hand during your stay here, pick up a shovel and plant a tree, in what’s lovingly been named The People’s Forest.