Tired of staring at the same four walls? Us too. And right now, travel experts are dubbing the “bubble” holiday the safest, smartest way to enjoy a change of scenery. Namely, you get the gang together – a group of extended family or friends – transport yourselves to a private home or estate with all the mod cons, and stay put.
With that in mind, we’ve curated the country’s most covetable holiday homes using some pretty rigorous selection criteria. Note: while we love unashamed luxury (this sprawling, sustainable Spanish-inspired villa, anyone?), these aren’t just homes to pore over. These are places where you’d actually stay.
Each boasts high design and styling – but you won’t be afraid to sink into the couch. They’re all located one-to-three hours’ drive from a major city with plenty of space and, in some cases, sprawling grounds. And importantly, the price point won’t set your best friend’s stingy husband over the edge, with each home coming in at $40-$100 per person per night.
Set on 80 acres of land in Victoria’s Surf Coast hinterland (90 minutes from Melbourne), The Wensley makes a case for slow travel. Cook up a storm in the country-style kitchen, go for brisk walks in the fresh country air, or fight over who gets first bath under the stars. Built from recycled oregon and ironbark, the architecturally designed home sleeps 10, with rates starting at $550/night (and $770/night on weekends and holidays).
Visit thewensley.com to book.
Coastal-cool interiors define this light and breezy weekender, tucked into a quieter pocket of the Sunshine Coast. The four-bedroom home is so close to the beach you can hear the waves lapping at night, though you could easily forgo the ocean for the petite-but-private pool. Mudjimba Hangout is a 90-minute drive from Brisbane and at $295/night (that’s $37 each for 8 guests), it’s a steal.
Visit Airbnb to book.
The Shed, Gerroa
This is truly a house for all seasons: take a dip in the plunge pool in summer, huddle around the outdoor fire pit in winter and watch the neighbouring cows all year round on the acres of glorious farmland. The design is on point – jet-black cladding, exposed beams and soaring ceilings – while the interior styling is chic but never fussy. Not surprisingly this South Coast getaway books up months in advance (rates sit around $839/night for eight guests, and it’s a 90-minute drive from Sydney).
Visit South Coast Holidays to book.
All polished concrete floors and floor-to-ceiling glass, this Kangaroo Island beach house is a 3.5 hour drive from Adelaide, but the panoramic ocean views and white-sand beaches just outside your door will make it more than worth the trip. It’s been a tough year for the island, hit by devastating bushfires then COVID-19 travel restrictions, so consider a stay in this serene sanctuary a small act of giving back (for a larger act, donate to one of these funds).
From $750/night, sleeps 8.
Visit copperstoneki.com to book.
Find this charming weatherboard and sandstone cottage in Oatlands, a tiny historical village just an hour from Hobart. The 1840s property has been transformed into a haven of comfort and style, and it’s the little things that make it feel like a home away from home: The pantry is (partially) stocked, the linen is luxe, and the planter boxes outside brim with seasonal veggies for guests to pick and cook. The home sleeps six, with rates starting from $246/night.
Visit Airbnb to book.
Get back to nature at this Margaret River retreat, set on eight acres of blissful bushland. The holiday house (a 3-hour drive from Perth) has countless credentials: room for 10, a tennis court, plus easy access to the region’s best beaches and wineries – though we’d be content sitting amongst the treetops on that wraparound deck, watching the kangaroos and birdlife. From $482/night.
Visit Stayz to book.