Say goodbye to your iso pad and hello to freedom – it’s time to explore way beyond the border lines of your LGA (as soon as that 80% double vaxxed benchmark is reached!).
To help you get out and explore somewhere new, we’ve gathered the very best Slow Stays for regional NSW travel. So, fill up the tank, load the centre console with your favourite snacks and queue that freedom playlist as you rediscover the feeling of adventure.
AFRAME KANGAROO VALLEY
Kangaroo Valley, NSW
Before you even arrive at the architecturally designed Aframe Kangaroo Valley, the drive past a patchwork of farms and the majestic escarpment will usher you into a state of relaxation. Cocooned by Morton and Budaroo National Parks, this sustainable cabin is perched on 16 acres of unspoilt paradise, where you’ll find a private creek to swim in, hiking trails and a picture-perfect wood-fired hot tub. It might feel like you’re in the wild, but in under 10 minutes you can be drinking a cold one in the beer garden at the town’s local pub, The Friendly Inn.
What to see: For captivating scenic views of the region, the mostly flat Three Views walking track will take you to three cliff-edge viewing points. It’s a 9.5 return trek but is worth every single step.
What to do: Flex those arm muscles and canoe through the stunning Shoalhaven Gorge with Kangaroo Valley Safaris.
What to eat + drink: Skip breakfast to save room for a mouth-watering pie from Kangaroo Valley Bakery. (Get there mid-morning, they sell out quick!) And for the wine lovers, book a tasting at Yarrawa Estate Winery.
BLACK BARN BOWRAL
Live like one of Australia’s best interior designers at Black Barn Bowral. This luxury holiday home belongs to none other than Collette Dinnigan and is the ultimate country escape for anyone who needs a short break from the constant buzz of city life. Grand but also comfortable, this renovated three-bedroom barn bestows luxury linen and bath products, an open fireplace for chilly nights and sweeping views of the Southern Highlands to all its guests. Bookmark this charming NSW Slow Stay for an upcoming girls’ weekend and you’ll be showered with thanks, and hopefully lots of local wine, too!
KESTREL NEST ECOHUT
Mount Adrah, NSW
Pounded every trail in your local government area? It’s time to head to Kestrel Nest EcoHut and discover 14km of walking tracks a few steps from your bed. This stunning cabin is found amongst Highfield Farm & Woodland’s 332 hectares of regenerative farmland and is home to a conservation area that would make any nature-lover proud. Pull your sneakers on and if you’re visiting in spring, you’ll come face-to-face with blooming wildflowers and most likely some spiky but friendly echidnas.
What to see: Take the route only locals know to Tumbarumba and beyond, until you arrive at the mesmerising Paddy’s River Falls. Your hosts will fill you in on the secret details – don’t forget your camera.
What to do: Brush up on your twitching skills with a bird watching tour across the property with owner David. About 140 species have been spotted here, so keep your eyes peeled!
What to eat + drink: Don’t leave without the trying the ultimate paddock-to-plate experience. Order Highfield Farm’s award-winning lamb and cook it in your self-contained kitchen.
FARMHOUSE ON OXLEY
Oxley Island, NSW
There are not many holiday homes that can accommodate 16 people comfortably. Let alone, somewhere stylish enough that you’ll want to start hassling your nearest and dearest to lock in dates for a memorable getaway asap. But, Farmhouse on Oxley, on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales, is a one-of-a-kind rural retreat that will have you doing just that. Spread over two wings with a huge communal area at the heart, this riverfront property looks as if it’s been plucked straight from the pages of Vogue Living. Exposed beams, vintage furnishings, wrap around verandah, outdoor bathroom and a private jetty are just part of its charm, alongside incredible sunsets and over 50 acres of lush land to discover.
THE OLD DAIRY
Cudgera Creek, NSW
An old milking shed might not be what you had in mind for your next NSW getaway, but wait until you set eyes on The Old Dairy. Transformed after nearly 40 years of abandonment, this charming retreat at Cudgera Creek has everything a family could want in a low-key holiday—farm animals and games to keep the kids entertained, an oversized bathtub and a fire pit. When you’re ready to head out, there’s plenty of bush trails to explore or the crystal waters of Pottsville are a short five-minute drive away.
TILBA LAKE CAMP
Anyone who’s visited the south coast of NSW knows it is hands down one of the most beautiful parts of Australia. And Tilba is no exception. Nestled in coastal countryside, book a stay at Tilba Lake Camp and you’ll land an eco-friendly base from which you can explore. Choose between luxury bell tents or one of the self-contained pods, then enjoy a long sleep in while your hosts whip up breakfast and deliver it straight to your door. Now that’s something we could get used to!
SILVERMERE COASTAL RETREAT
Culburra Beach, NSW
Get your beach bag ready, because a stay at Silvermere Coastal Retreat is all about salty and sandy days by or in the water, and quiet nights peppered with the sound of crashing waves, the scent of sizzling snags and lit with a golden fire pit glow. If it sounds like the definition of a beach holiday, that’s because it pretty much is. Pile the fam into this three-bedroom holiday house and don’t forget the pup—this place has got to be one of the best dog-friendly Slow Stays in NSW.
What to see: Hunt down Tilbury Cove. Cocooned by cliffs, it’s a small beach off the main beach and has a grassy patch that begs to be picnicked on.
What to do: The beaches around Culburra are stunning, so throwing a towel down on the sand somewhere is a necessity. To go further afield, a 30-minute jaunt can take you to Huskisson, Kangaroo Valley or beautiful Berry.
What to eat + drink: Anything from Loco Lane Mexican Cantina & Cocktail Bar—a new joint, located in the old dentistry. With a solid following, you’ll want to book this place to ensure a seat.
Pass on your usual trip to the crowded streets of Byron Bay for the warm, silent embrace of Heartwood Farm. Found on the banks of Wilson River in the cute hinterland town of Federal, this light-filled cottage has been renovated and filled with buttery linen, artisanal Australian products and one of the most beautiful country bathrooms you’ve ever come across. Whilst you may be tempted to save this hideaway for a honeymoon or babymoon, we think you deserve to celebrate the everyday with a Slow Stay here.
It’s official—tiny homes are having a big moment, and one glorious night at the sustainable Wildernest and you’ll understand why. Hidden in the countryside of the Southern Highlands, these two meticulously designed tiny homes will leave you questioning why you need that 3rd bathroom and double garage. With a soft colour palette setting the tone for a calming stay and 100-year-old gums as your nearest neighbour, tuning out to stress and into nature is a seamless transition here.
What to see: Without even leaving Wildernest, you’ll be bestowed with views of a rolling rural landscape, starry nights, and a tonne of local wildlife—think: lyrebirds, wombats, and kangaroos.
What to do: Explore the adjoining Wingello State Forest, which has some of the best mountain bike trails in the region.
What to eat + drink: Drop into Exeter General Store for brunch and then stock up on gourmet supplies for the rest of your stay. When wine o’clock hits, a visit to St Maur’s winery in Exeter will hit the spot.
Whisk your lover away on a romance-reviving weekend to the quaint little town of Billinudgel and its very sweet farm stay, Rosalita’s Rest. Complete with gorgeous outdoor baths, these boutique cabins are packed with character—you won’t find neutrals here—and are perfect for couples who care about nature, as well as each other. Surrounded by regenerative farmland, you’ll also be invited to plant a tree in the peoples’ forest during your stay.
No doubt you’ve missed a lot of celebrations with friends lately, so rally your besties and spend some quality time catching up at Blackbird Byron. With its clutch of cliff top pavilions, it’s possible to have this entire property to yourselves if you plan wisely. Bask in the sun alongside the magnesium pool, sip on a cocktail while soaking in the ocean and hinterland vista, or go all out and indulge in a tastebud-exploding meal prepared by the onsite chef—whatever you choose, it’ll be a holiday to remember!
What to see: Step outside your pavilion once the sun goes down and be dazzled by a black night sky decorated with thousands of stars.
What to do: A bush walk and swim at Goonengerry National Park and waterfall is a must, so save this for a day trip.
What to eat + drink: Pull up a seat at Harvest in Newrybar and devour exquisite dishes made with seasonal and local produce. The pastries from the attached bakery are flaky heaven.
BELLINGEN FARM HOUSE
After months of being stuck in your own home, the expansive space on offer at Bellingen Farm House will be a tonic to any leftover isolation wounds. Not only does this Slow Stay offer access to an eight-acre working farm and organic orchard, but perhaps even more impressive is the rambling farmhouse you’ll get to call you own, albeit temporarily. Perfect as a gathering spot when you’ve got people coming from all around NSW, this heartfelt abode sleeps eight and is designed around an open living and dining space for all that entertaining. Got more troops coming in? Be sure to check out the property’s two additional farm stays that are available to book.
Like what you see? Find more slow and sustainable accommodation in our Slow Stays directory.