Rat from The Wind in the Willows may have said “there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”, but at this floating tiny home on the Murray River in South Australia you don’t need to cast off the bowlines or pop on a captain’s hat.
You have all the ambience, all the views, of a stay on a houseboat without having to navigate your way down river.
Moored permanently in a small harbour at Murray Bridge in the Adelaide Hills, The Cube Murray River takes everything you think you know about shipping container conversions and tiny homes and floats it – underneath the dappled light of the willows that drape themselves over the river bank.
Only a short one-hour drive from Adelaide – through the rolling green hills of Hahndorf and the township of Mount Barker, which makes the ideal spot to stock up on supplies – you can be checked out of reality and checked into this Slow Stay by the time most people are just arriving home from the office.
Owners Fiona Hunte and her partner Wayne have always loved escaping to the Murray River, to spend their weekends on the water and had been starting to look for a weekender for themselves when they first laid eyes on The Cube.
That was in April 2016 and within a week they’d signed their names on the dotted line and were the proud new owners. There were some changes ahead, however, and while they hoped they might be able to rent The Cube out for one weekend a month to help them cover costs, it quickly took on a life of its own.
Originally the deck was very small and the decor echoed of Steampunk and industrial vibes. Fiona and Wayne flipped the design, extended the deck and gave the interiors the minimalist brush.
When you arrive at The Cube, you cross the gangway straight onto the deck, which is where you’ll likely spend most of your time. With an outdoor dining setting, vertical herb garden, barbecue, sun loungers, esky, large umbrella and fire pit, it’s the perfect spot to sit with a good book and cold drink as boats, jet-skis and kayaks cruise by. But it’s the moments in between, when graceful pelicans, black swans and ducks float past, that really help you sink into the serenity.
If you’re keen on fishing, you’ll find two fishing rods ready and waiting for you. Or pop into the two-man kayak to explore the banks and see all the beautiful birds and the wildlife that call the Murray River home.
Inside, there’s a compact lounge area – and yes a TV for those who really need it – well-equipped kitchen, bathroom with rain-head shower, and queen bed. Falling asleep to the sound of water lapping underneath The Cube and waking to open the bi-fold glass doors and step out to the hanging chairs, coffee in hand, are moments when you really start to appreciate the languid rhythm of life here.
All you need to prepare a delicious cooked breakfast is also provided, with Barossa bacon, free-range eggs and fresh veggies. Bread and milk to suit your requirements is also on hand.
While Fiona and Wayne try to stay once a month, she says even though they imagine they’ll be on the jet-skis all weekend, they usually hop into the egg chairs, or pour a glass of wine near the fire pit and just stop.
Similarly, even though the spoils of the Adelaide Hills are within a short drive and you’ll find a list of things to do in the lounge room, flipping through the comments in the guest book it’s easy to see most people who arrive here don’t leave. Cocooned in a floating daydream, even if only for a weekend.