Nothing calls for a little escape to the hinterland, forest or mountains like chilly winter days.
The days where lighting a fire to stay cosy is the highlight and wrapping warm fingers around a steaming coffee, and later, a glass of deep red wine is as expected as the morning’s thick fog.
Start planning your next getaway now with eight of the best slow stays to snuggle up in this winter.
Aframe Kangaroo Valley
Kangaroo Valley, NSW
Lush bushland, a majestic escarpment and a selection of charming country towns are all at your fingertips when you book an intimate trip to Aframe Kangaroo Valley. Perfect for a romantic weekender, this newly built, one-bedroom Aframe is a lesson in sustainability and a celebration of nature. Set on 16 acres with your own private creek, brace for the weather by packing a jacket and boots and you’ll be rewarded waterfall views and the soundtrack of calming birdsong. Warm up by the fireplace or in the clawfoot bath or, for the truly adventurous, a wood-fired hot tub awaits outside.
Whale Song Shack
It’s common for travellers to save their Tassie trip for the summer months, when the sun is shining and T-shirts begin to make a welcome appearance. But there is something truly beautiful about heading to the island come winter, especially when it includes a stay at Whale Song. This revamped fisherman’s shack in the north-east town of Falmouth has a brick fireplace enveloped by comfy couches (there’s another smaller wood burner by the kitchen) and huge windows that face the ocean, making it a prime spot to watch a symphony of the sea unfold—migrating whales, passing fishing boats and Pacific gulls are regulars. With room for four, can you imagine huddling with mates in blankets around the firepit while the waves crash below, and the stars dance above?
Rustic, charming and delicately refurbished, historic properties like Bootmakers Cottage make the perfect destination for a winter getaway. Situated in the foothills of the Otway Ranges about two hours from Melbourne, this character-filled retreat is family-friendly, sleeping six guests across three bedrooms. Perch by the fire and devour a few chapters of your current page-turner, toast marshmallows over the firepit in the spacious courtyard, dive under doonas and catch a flick in the games room or sneak away for a piping hot outdoor bath.
Stringy Bark Hut
Grounded among paddocks in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Stringy Bark Hut is part of the Wildernest Tiny group — you may have seen their two tiny homes, T1 and T2. Built in the 1890s and meticulously restored in 2017 with the addition of a few modern but essential comforts (hello running water!), this charming cottage offers a new kind of farm stay for couples and small families. Boasting lashings of old-world charm, a winter getaway to this hideout includes beds and bunks draped in luxe linen, a welcome hamper of hot chocolate and marshmallows, fireside chats and plenty of downtime in nature spotting grazing cattle and curious kangaroos.
The tonal colours of Larnook’s snug interior and furnishings will warm your bones with just one look. And if not, the gas log fireplace or the outdoor firepit should also do the trick. Tucked in the hills of the Yarra Ranges, this small and self-sufficient container home is an ideal spot for couples to take a break from the constant buzz of Melbourne and reconnect.
Taranaki, New Zealand
If gazing at a snow-capped mountain from the comfort of your bed is a dream experience you want to add to your bucket list, then Ecoescape in Taranaki, New Zealand is where you can tick it off. Powered by hydro turbines and solar panels, this off-grid cabin is all about slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life — good food, great company and jaw-dropping views. While staying rugged up by the fire is enticing, so is exploring the surrounding area, including the native forest walk that encompasses the property and is home to a plethora of glow worms. Magical is the only way to describe this winter escape.
Petit Eco Cabin
Wine and winter go together like bacon and eggs, which is why a jaunt to Petit Eco Cabin is a must when looking for the best Slow Stays to visit this winter. Situated in the verdant countryside of the Margaret River region, this stunning timber pavilion is perched on a working organic winery, Windows Estate. On arrival, head straight to the property’s cellar door, then retreat to the cabin to catch the last of the northern sunlight, before cuddling fireside and perhaps, braving a cold dash down to the outdoor 1940s vintage bathtub for an evening soak.
Secret Cabin Society
Eerwah Vale, QLD
For lovers of adventure, this hidden rainforest retreat can only be reached by foot, but we will say, it’s completely worth a little trek to reach somewhere as special as the Secret Cabin Society. Featuring a back-to-basics approach without skimping on what’s important, this wooden shack overlooks a babbling stream and an army of trees. While winter in Queensland might not be considered ‘crisp’ by interstate travellers, the indoor log fire will no doubt be flanked by local guests, so light it up then climb the ladder to the loft bedroom for a bit of R&R.