We’re calling it: the boat house is the new beach house. These secluded waterfront stays are cool in summer, cosy in winter, and offer private ocean access all year round. By nature, they’re warm and humble – a shed or shack tacked onto the back of a magnificent harbour property. But don’t be fooled – today’s boat houses are luxurious getaways in their own right, ranging from romantic oases for two to full-scale holiday homes. Unintentionally, the accommodation in this list is concentrated in New South Wales and Tasmania (not surprising given the former is famed for its harbour, and the latter is an island), but well worth a visit from anywhere in Australia…
The Ventnor Boathouse
Set amongst the gumtrees on the edge of the Ku Ring Gai National Park less than an hour north of Sydney, this cute little cottage scores points for its rustic-chic styling and sublime riverfront deck.
Another piece of paradise on Pittwater, Tides Reach is a light-filled, nautical retreat, only accessible via boat.
This Hawkesbury River retreat puts the bougie in bungalow. Check out the adjoining restaurant for a degustation dinner by a Michelin-starred chef.
Little Black Shack
More of a cabin than a boat house, this lovingly restored fisherman’s cottage on Mackerel Beach in Pittwater made the list for its inviting style and warmth: the stuff weekend dreams are made of.
Morning Bay Boatshed
Get back to nature at this beautifully crafted boat house; it’s built from scratch, only accessible via boat and utterly secluded (yet only 40km from the Sydney CBD).
Rent this private island in southern Tasmania and you’re granted exclusive access to a three-bedroom summer house and two-bedroom boat house – plus everything you’ll need to spend your days swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and shucking oysters.
Copper-clad, architecturally designed cottages meet the water’s edge on this private island, located off the Freycinet Peninsula.
Soak up panoramic views across d’Entrecasteaux Channel at this coastal sanctuary on Bruny Island, south of Hobart.
This lush oasis sits on the banks of the Tamar River in north-west Tasmania. It’s a dreamy escape from the everyday with design cred too, and was previously crowned home of the year by the Tasmanian HIA.