Spending time surrounded by nature is the perfect antidote to today’s ‘always on’ society. And spending time at one of regional Victoria’s nature-based accommodation providers is a great way to unplug, decompress and regain balance. Whether it is a weekend getaway or a longer jaunt, Victoria has everything from rustic rainforest retreats to modernist eco-homes set in bushland and beachside cottages with killer ocean views.
Here are some of the state’s top stays that put nature front-and-centre on the accommodation agenda:
Set amid 82 hectares of bushland, Talo Retreat features a series of yurts perfect for people who want to escape the pressures of the daily grind. While each yurt is equipped with a barbecue, kitchenette, patio, private bathroom, electric wood fire heaters and reverse cycle air conditioning, there are no televisions. This leaves guests free to read a book, listen to bird calls, lie in a hammock or watch the sun set with a glass of red. 69A Dungula Way, Echuca-Moama, + 61 3 5480 3031.
Surrounded by Crown bushland and a re-vegetated bush garden Riversdale Retreat is an ecofriendly retreat that sits at the forefront of indoor-outdoor living. Featuring an innovative design inspired by Japanese design principles, the windows here cleverly expose the surrounding bushland and night sky – making it a top spot to stargaze in style. Chewton, +61 3 9510 6822
Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges
A prime example of sustainable modular architecture, Bunker is a bush hideaway that offers seclusion and tranquillity. Large glass sliding doors and windows throughout the property give guests direct views of the surrounding landscapes from every angle. With Daylesford a short drive away, this retreat may feel secluded from the world but is within striking distance of boutiques, art galleries, fine dining and single origin lattes. Daylesford-Trentham Road, Daylesford, +61 3 5348 4422.
Hidden in the evergreen rainforest of the Black Spur, Woodlands Cottages offer couples a secret hideaway made for relaxation and indulgence. Surrounded by fern gullies, guests can sit on the deck and listen to native birdcalls, keep watch for wallabies and take in the oxygen-rich rainforest air. A sunken spa, open fireplace and king bed ensure that guests have everything they need for a romantic, luxurious weekend in nature. 137 Manby Road, Narbethong, +61 3 5963 7150.
Parks Victoria’s Wilderness Retreats offer a tranquil break in nature with a comfortable landing. Located in Wilsons Promontory National Park, the series of earth-friendly deluxe tents feature queen-size beds, plush bedding and fresh linen. With easy access to the beach and walking tracks, guests are free to roam in search of wombats, cockatoos and other native wildlife. By night, the communal kitchen provides a space to cook meals and connect with other guests. Meeniyan-Promontory Road, Wilsons Promontory, +61 3 8427 2001.
Great Ocean Road
An exclusive retreat located a stone’s throw from the Twelve Apostles, Pebble Point’s six luxurious tents enjoy a prime position within walking distance to not one, not two, but three national parks. Whether you want to go on a bush walk, swim in the ocean, spot migrating whales from the clifftop or spend your day surfing the local breaks, Pebble Point obliges with an enviable location and all the creature comforts needed for a good night’s sleep. 20 Old Coach Road, Princetown, +61 3 52433579.
Known for being one of the best spots in Victoria to view native wildlife, Cape Otway’s Great Ocean Ecolodge is much more than a comfortable place to stay. As a social enterprise established and operated by the Conservation Ecology Centre, all profits are invested into wildlife conservation. While on the property, guests can take part in bush walks, ecology talks and other conservation activities (when not enjoying a peaceful night by the fireplace). Otway Lighthouse Road, Cape Otway, +61 3 5237 9297.
Geelong and the Bellarine
An adventure for people of all ages, Werribee Open Range Zoo’s Slumber Safari gives guests a chance to bed down in a safari camp located on the premises of the zoo. With each tented lodge featuring a purpose-built balcony overlooking the Werribee River and the Zoo’s African savannah habitat, this stay might only be 30 minutes from Melbourne but it feels a world away from the city’s skyscrapers, laneways and trams. K Road, Werribee South, 1300 966 784
Kitty Miller Bay Bed and Breakfast is the ultimate beachside bolthole perfect for summer getaways or a winter retreat down by the sea. With direct beach access and sweeping ocean views, this petite unit is a comfy spot to kick back in after a day of swimming, beach walks and fossicking in rock pools. 251 Watts Road, Ventnor +61 411 330 961
Accessible only by passenger ferry or barge, French Island may not be on everyone’s holiday radar, but that’s what makes it so special. With a permanent population of only 100 people and no road link to the mainland, French Island is custom-made for dropping out of the city scene for a while. Set on 100 acres of land, French Island Glamping allows guests to relax in a private European canvas bell tent after a day of exploring the surrounding farms, woodlands and coastal wetlands on foot. 59 Barge Access Road, French Island, +61 498 843 850
Thanks to its lakeside location, Woodman Estate combines classic country manor cool with the best of the Great Outdoors. Guests can wander the peaceful grounds of the property, take a longer walk on bush tracks or sit by the lake and watch local birdlife come and go. With the estate being home to some of the most idyllic views in the region, this is an ideal spot to bliss out in nature. 136 Graydens Road, Moorooduc, +61 3 5978 8455