Vineyards, deserted beaches, world-class food and wine, rolling farmlands… the list of reasons to visit Western Australia reads like a wish list for the dream life.
With so much to see and do, finding a place to stay that showcases the local region while welcoming days of retreat and relaxation is the key to planning a balanced getaway. To help narrow down the search, we’ve discovered the best of the west with this hit list of Slow Stays in WA.
Toying with the idea of a tree change? One night at Upland Farm in Western Australia’s Great Southern region and you’ll be scheming how to make the serene country life your reality. Everything about its sustainable two-bedroom cabins, Dune and Vine, celebrates the rural location — from the warm, iron ash exterior and the oversized windows that welcome panoramic views, to the cosy furnishings that were chosen for their tonal relationship to the outdoors. This year has also seen the addition of two divine one-bedroom cabins, Wren and Forest, complete with stunning concrete baths. If time permits, stick around on a Sunday to visit the nearby Kwoorabup Community Markets for a local produce haul that will beg to be whipped into a comforting meal in the self-contained kitchens. When stomachs grow full and the sky turns dark, head out to the firepit for a nightcap under the stars.
BINA MAYA YALLINGUP RETREAT
The light hits differently at Bina Maya Yallingup Escape, a sustainably built set of Slow Stays, veiled by native bushland, that pairs the unlikely bedfellows of luxury and rugged outdoors. So tranquil is this forest retreat, whose name means “light of the morning”, it’s hard to believe the hubbub of sheltered bay Busselton is just a 30-minute drive away. But there they sit, three minimalist, self-catering villas with the feel of an all-inclusive hotel. Wake slowly to the property’s namesake: sunlight filtering through forest canopy, throwing dappled light from break of dawn until the symphony of crickets signals the sun’s descent. There’s almost zero reason to leave – a starlit stone bathtub (in the most recent villa), expansive decks, outdoor firepits, private chef service and a whole host of zen-inducing activities make worthy contenders to Margaret River’s plentiful attractions.
Outside of Perth, WA
Herman Melville writes in Moby Dick, “it is not down in any map; true places never are”. This quote couldn’t be more fitting for our next Slow Stay in WA. Tucked away in two secret locations, outside of Perth, you’ll find Henry and Florence, a pair of off-grid tiny homes with the ability to turn stressed-out city folk into Zen-like beings. Full of little luxuries, like a king-size bed, hot water rain shower, a ‘bush mini bar’ and a wood-burning fire for chilly winter nights, you can take your pick between waking up in a vineyard (Henry) or the blissful Australian bush (Florence). With nature in abundance and to-do lists non-existent, this is your chance to soak in the surrounding beauty, test your board game skills and do not much else.
ST JOANS COTTAGE
Drummond Cove, WA
Finding a beach shack with enough character to distract from the oceanic playground upon which it sits is a rare gem indeed. But St Joans Cottage – with its native bloom-filled garden and vintage interiors – will make you think long and hard about endless beach days. Nestled into Drummond Cove, it feels like a nostalgic holiday house because that’s exactly what it is. Loved by the owner’s family for over 30 years, every nook and cranny of the heritage cottage holds a treasure of mid-century individuality. And lucky for you, laidback is best in these parts. Recline in one of the many secret-garden spots with a fresh cuppa to watch the wind rustle the leaves after a good dose of vitamin sea. Or, if you’re craving a spot of social interaction, Geraldton, where cafes and shops abound, is just 12 minutes by car.
It’s the little things that count for the considerate folk behind Whalebone Quindalup. Treaties in the pantry, the finest linens to rest your head on, handmade soaps in the soothing shower and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s like a stay in your most hospitable and thoughtful friend’s house and where you feel completely at ease. Then there’s the fact that these digs are elevated with a capital E. Design-forward and consciously styled, its little surprise since the creator of this exceptional stay is the detail-obsessed eye behind local boutique Milc Homewares, Nicole Cartledge. Simply luxuriate in all this lush beauty, soaking up the sun from the light-bathed deck or cast your net wider. Head north to Dunsborough for frolicking with whales and south for getting lost in the vines of Margaret River wine country.
PETIT ECO CABIN
There’s so much to love about Petit Eco Cabin, but if you have a soft spot for sustainability, architecturally designed pads and wine, then this Margaret River Slow Stay is your WA soulmate. Sharing a property with a certified organic winery, Windows Estate, this north-facing timber pavilion basks in sunlight and is filled with local goods, and features daybeds that make prime reading nooks and a 1940s bathtub that you’ll find perched on a wooden platform among the trees. And it goes without saying; if you’re going to stay on a vineyard, a visit to the cellar door is a must.
INJIDUP SPA RETREAT
It will be virtually impossible to leave Injidup Spa Retreat in the Margaret River region feeling anything but relaxed, refreshed and completely rejuvenated. Secluded and private with uninterrupted views of Injidup Beach, there are 10 oceanfront, adults-only villas that make up this eco-luxe sanctuary. Whilst your very own plunge pool and optional in-villa dining may make it difficult to want to explore beyond the property, it’s worth meandering for a little while along the captivating 130km Cape to Cape track.
It’s not always easy to find a Slow Stay for groups that is as spacious as it is captivating; but there is a bushland retreat, about 30 minutes from Margaret River, that succeeds at both. Spread over two levels, you’ll find an open-living space with high vaulted ceilings, four comfy bedrooms, fireplace and a freestanding bath on the five-acre property that makes up Cape Rendezvous. There’s so much to explore close by—Busselton is only a five-minute drive—but before heading out, jump on the coffee machine and get a buzz going using the locally roasted beans supplied from the owners’ café.