Shake off the hustle and bustle (and many lockdowns) of Melbourne and steer the car towards freedom, bucolic farmlands, deserted beaches and the charming towns of regional Victoria.
From Daylesford to Gippsland and the Great Ocean Road, here are 10 of the very best Slow Stays to escape to outside of Melbourne.
Yank out the cricket set, huddle around a board game or let the wildlings explore the cubby house, however you decide to spend your days at Shellback, one thing is certain—this place is made for families. Situated in south Gipplsland at Cape Liptrap, a ruggedly beautiful peninsula that juts out into the moody Bass Strait, this renovated holiday home has incredible views of Wilson’s Promontory across the ocean and over 75 lively acres to explore, so bring your adventure gear.
Acre of Roses
It’s all in the details at Acre of Roses, a magical 1860s miner’s cottage in Trentham, about an hour’s drive outside of Melbourne. From the region’s only rainwater-filled cedar hot tub to the insulated open-air theatre room and fully stocked coffee bar, everything you could possible want can be found within this stunning Slow Stay’s restored walls. Leave your perfume and aftershave at home this trip—the captivating scent of 1500 organically and sustainably grown heritage rose bushes deserves to take centre stage.
The Ridge House
Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, The Ridge House in West Gippsland, is the bushland retreat you’ll want to escape to on your next free weekend. With stunning timber ceilings, a brand-new kitchen, gorgeous fireplace and beds heaving with beautiful linen, you’ll feel your worries dissipate as soon as you step inside. As tempting as it will be to stay put the whole time, there’s so much to see both on and off the property, with walking trails, paddock-to-plate restaurants and The Ridge House’s very own private viewing platform, Loggers Lookout, waiting to discovered.
Built by Birregurra’s local bootmaker in 1864, this charming cottage sits right in the heart of town in the foothills of the Otways Ranges. Steeped in history and renovated with a careful hand, a weekend at Bootmakers Cottage is guaranteed to be a serene experience. Inside is cosy and can sleep up to six, but peer through the colonial windows and you’ll find an expansive courtyard, complete with an iron bathtub, hammock and firepit.
Vintage House Daylesford
Lovers of antiques and second-hand treasures from around the world will fall fast for Vintage House Daylesford and its impeccably styled rooms. When you’re not taking in the views over Wombat State Forest and Doctors Gully, pour a wine and fill up the claw foot bath for a soak, or lounge on the leather chesterfields alongside the roaring fire. If the weather turns sour during your stay, there’s nothing better than buttering up the popcorn and digging into the huge movie library.
The Cottage at Dunmore
If Australian history piques your interest when looking for one of the best Slow Stays near Melbourne, then the Cottage at Dunmore should move straight to your shortlist. Built in 1860 from red gum, this farmhouse was once visited by none other than Ned Kelly himself. Today, the renovated home has been filled with all the modern-day comforts, while still retaining intentional ties to the old world, like the original wood stove in the kitchen. Surrounded by farmland and herds of Angus Cattle, if you do decide to venture off the property, the picturesque King Valley dishes up a bounty of wineries and tasty local nosh.
A sophisticated getaway for two on the Mornington Peninsula, Hart’s Farm is a sustainable Slow Stay for those who love the good things in life, like traditional apple cider, housemade olive oil and stress-relieving country views. Stay for a few days and you’ll get to really sink into the luxury accommodation, as well as discovering the galleries, wineries, fine-dining restaurants, beaches and walks, all found nearby.
Surfers will want to snap up this mid-century-infused bungalow, thanks to its proximity to the firing Bells Beach. Wander through the native garden to this backyard studio, unpack your suitcase and then use Sea Joy as your base for all the Great Ocean Road and Surf Coast explorations you can muster. Start the day with yoga on the mats provided or lose yourself in the library of page-turners. And, if you find your fingers start twitching at the sight of the old piano, lift the lid and let those tunes roll on out. Brought to life by the owners of Tasmania’s captivating Whale Song, every detail here has its purpose.
A hideaway in every sense of the word, Larnook is a repurposed shipping container cuddled by hills in the Yarra Ranges. Thoughtfully designed to embrace nature, rather than encroach on it, a stay at this small self-sufficient cabin will have you sharing your attention between the high-end finishes, beckoning nooks and mind-blowing views reaching all the way to Port Phillip Bay.
This 1930’s home divided into two separate units, has been beautifully restored back to its Art Moderne roots. Sunlit and oh so lovely, the two abodes name Henna and Merri are an ideal place for lovers and friends. Enjoy cocktails from the tipple trolley, play a tune on the resident record player, or have some fun in the courtyard fitted out with festoon party lights. Central to favourite local spots such as the Deep Blue Hot Springs and the Pavilion Cafe & Bar and set amongst Norfolk Pines on the Great Ocean Road.