Let’s get one thing straight. Nothing will replace the joys of overseas travel: getting lost in vibrant cities; swooning over foreign accents; sampling new cuisines and cultures; relishing in the wonder of the unknown.
But if you’re craving a jaunt in the northern hemisphere, these villas and estates – which bring a slice of European living to the land down under – might be a worthy substitute. And who knew you could escape to a French chateau for the weekend?
The Range, Cooper Shoot, NSW
Step inside this vast, open villa and you might as well be on a Balearic island. Textured terracotta walls meet soaring timber beams and rustic furnishings, while outside, Canary Island palms line a sun-drenched deck and seemingly endless infinity pool.
Owners Tom and Emma Lane, founders of thriving food collective The Farm Byron Bay, wanted to create a farmhouse or Spanish finca inspired by Emma’s childhood holidays in the Canary Islands. So they bought 120 acres in the lush Byron Bay hinterland, and built a property that fuses relaxed Spanish styling with classic Australian design.
In line with the couple’s eco-conscious ethos, The Range was built sustainably and sits quietly on the land. The main farmhouse is predominantly off-the-grid, recycled materials feature throughout, and the couple has pledged to plant 50,000 trees on the property over the next 10 years.
Sold? Us too. The five-bedroom homestead sleeps 12, and comes with optional add-ons like a private chef or concierge. Of course a sanctuary this sumptuous doesn’t come cheap ($7000+ per night), so bookmark this one for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. And just think of the dollars you’ll save on international airfares. Find out more at therangebyronbay.com.au
The French House, Trentham, Victoria
Emily in Paris got you dreaming of Provence? Take a trip to The French House, less than 90 minutes from Melbourne. The country retreat nails everything we love about provincial Gallic styling: those blue shutters, that farmhouse kitchen…
The property accommodates eight guests and serves as an ideal base to explore nearby Daylesford – or you could stay home and sip Bordeaux on the tennis court instead. Book at thehousesdaylesford.com.
Guestlands, Arcadia, NSW
Cobblestone streets. Juliet balconies. Red-checked tablecloths. A red Vespa parked out front. This boutique B&B is like a little taste of Tuscany. It’s actual locale: Arcadia, 45 minutes’ drive from the Sydney CBD.
Owners Jenny and Peter Guest first shot to prominence with their sprawling landscaped gardens, and this year they took things up a notch and opened a mini Italian-style village, complete with a four-bedroom guesthouse (book either a room or the whole villa), bell tower and traditional trattoria.
Of course for all the property’s beauty and charm, there’s no getting around the fact that while it looks and feels like Italy, it’s not actually in Italy. But if your 2020 trip to Tuscany was cancelled, this could make for a fun substitute sojourn. Visit guestlands.com.au for more information.
Deux Belettes, Dalwood, NSW
Next time you’re in Byron change up the scenery with a visit to this French-inspired chateau. Set in the hinterland, it’s a popular venue for couples seeking a European wedding sans air travel, but also has two romantic suites available to holiday-makers and honeymooners year-round.
Crisp white linen, sparkling chandeliers and big French windows define the interiors, while the gardens are in bloom with rambling roses and wild lavender. And yes, the salon serves buttery, crumbly croissants for breakfast. Book at deuxbelettes.com.
Campbell Point House, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria
This multi-million dollar mansion on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula – just near Geelong – is like a mini Versailles, complete with four-poster beds, marble floors and impeccably manicured grounds. In fact, this image (above) doesn’t do justice to the property’s grandeur – nor its view looking out over cobalt blue seas. The European-style hotel accommodates 30 guests across eight suites; visit campbellpointhouse.com.au for more information.