It’s been a long road. A lot of research. A huge amount of unbelievable photographs, of searching high and low among the ultra-bling and the . . . not so bling . . . to present AT readers with a stunning collection of genuinely great Holiday Homes. But the finish line is in sight. The next issue of the mag is due on stands in the last week of September, but I thought I’d get in early and share with you my Five Absolute Favourites so far. Enjoy . . .
Great Australian Holiday Home No.1
Multi award-winning architect Sharon Fraser calls it a “sunken lounge”, but we know a good old-fashioned conversation pit when we see one. But even that “purely for fun” element of Fraser’s astonishing never-before-rented über-property in the Byron Bay Hinterland isn’t the home’s standout feature. It’s competing for cool-and-quirky status with an outdoor fire pit, a synthetic Stick fence that ripples in the breeze like wind through grass, absurdly large swimming pool and of course that giant signature rouge rabbit sculpture – an original in steel by Melbourne’s Peter McLisky. Fraser’s otherworldly, one-of-a-kind, inside-out house is a modern marvel on close-cropped lawns just 10min from Bangalow, and will take you on such a multi-coloured architectural rollercoaster that you’ll need the full week just to take in all its facets. Amileka won Best House in Australia status at the 2009 CNBC International Asia Pacific Property Awards, and no wonder. We may never see its like again.
Details // Federal, Byron Bay Hinterland, NSW. From $7000 per week, available from Jan 2010. www.sharonfraserarchitects.com.au, 0414 365 749.
Great Australian Holiday Home No. 2
While only built in 2003, you’d swear this cattlemen’s hut on the banks of the Moonbah River near Jindabyne has stood for a century or more. In fact, owner Brett Smith modelled his dream hut on one that DID exist for easily that long. When mountain man Norman McGufficke, who once owned the entire Moonbah Valley, passed away in his nineties in 1987, the valley was subdivided, with Smith securing a 250-acre share. Sadly, he wasn’t able to nab the block on which the original hut sat, and having to watch it deteriorate only made him all the more determined to build another. Inside this authentic gem you’ll find an 80-year-old wood stove, 100-year-old wrought iron beds, 70-year-old fly fishing rods and an 80-year-old fully functioning candlestick telephone. And on the doorstep you’ll also find your very own lake stocked with brown, rainbow and brook trout, as well as around 15 breeds of chirruping frogs. For a holiday that predates TV and traffic, Moonbah Hut is utterly perfect.
Details // Big Yard Rd, Jindabyne, NSW. From $195 per night. www.takeabreak.com.au, (02) 6457 8311.
Great Australian Holiday Home No.3
Mulberry Mansion is most succinctly described as a four-star, five-bedroom resort-style holiday home set within suburban Fremantle. But in many ways it defies that description, because it’s utterly unique. Eclectic, baffling, a living piece of artwork; all of these cover it, but not quite. It’s a residence built by artists, for artists, and will totally blow your mind. Crafted from limestone, tin and recycled bricks and timber over six sprawling, maze-like levels, it’s a dreamy descent down the rabbit hole from which you might return – but possibly not as the same person. Kids are welcome, in fact, they love its eccentricities, but beware: there are staircases and water features everywhere (magical wardrobes too, no doubt), so be vigilant. The Mansion is also very proactive with local partners, so you can rustle up anything from a limo to a private DJ to a Swedish chef if the mood takes you. Every room unique. Around ever corner, a surprise. See for yourself.
Details // White Gum Valley, Fremantle, WA. From $290 per night. www.mulberrymansion.com, 0413 815 300.
Great Australian Holiday Home No.4
The Rock Retreat
Some holiday homes you just want to run away to and hide in until forever comes and goes. We’d put The Rock Retreat firmly in that category. Overlooking the Tweed Valley in far northern NSW and perched on such a high plateau that you’ll occasionally look down at eagles flying past its massive wraparound balconies, this eyrie-cum-holiday home leaves the stresses of the city far below. The beaches of Byron are about 45mins away. On a clear day you can see to Queensland. With panoramic views to Mt Warning, you’ll be one of the first in Australia to see the sun rise each morning. It’s set on just over two acres of tropical garden, and it’s difficult to imagine a more warmly and fashionably furnished holiday home. A series of large draw-up screens turns much of the interior into extensions of the wide timber decking, with nothing between you and the crisp mountain air but hammocks, a thin railing and your own sense of self-preservation.
Details // Upper Duroby Creek Rd, Bilambil, NSW. From $795 per weekend. www.therockretreat.com, 0419 600 044.
Great Australian Holiday Home No.5
Ever wanted to travel back in time? Now’s your chance. For a holiday at Snapper Lodge in Newport, you’d be better off packing a poodle skirt, white ankle socks and hair curlers than your bikini; it’s an utterly kitsch, perfectly preserved 1950s beach house, complete with lime-washed doors, candy pink painted walls, striped sunlounges, awnings and gingham checked beds. It’s not hard to understand why Snapper Lodge – originally a boathouse – is so admired by design and fashion gurus. The house is awash with colour, and characterised by a million darling little details, making it more a work of art than a holiday home. There’s retro furniture, a stripy miniature lighthouse on the deck, embroidered cushions, flags, picture frames and pieces of antique crockery. But besides its artistic finesse, two-bedroom Snapper Lodge has all the luxuries of a first-class holiday home, including its own private jetty and stretch of sandy beach overlooking Pittwater.
Details // Newport, NSW. From $550 per night. www.contemporaryhotels.com.au, (02) 9331 2881.
HAVE YOUR SAY: So what do you reckon? Have you seen a home out there to rival any of these? Sign in and have your say by leaving a comment, or email me directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. And get ready for the full 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes special issue, on stands Wednesday September 23.
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply