Fresh country air, sprawling hillsides, bloody good wine and 14 of your closest friends. Here, unique country houses perfect for group getaways. By Alissa Jenkins and Megan Arkinstall
Aghadoe Estate, Springmount, Vic
Where: About 25 kilometres southwest of Daylesford in Victoria’s central district.
What we like: This 1860s heritage-listed homestead has been stylishly revamped to blend period charm with modern luxury. Think high ceilings and chesterfield lounges, a large gourmet kitchen and a lavish home theatre system. The exterior is also beautifully designed, nestled amidst 60 acres of farmland so you can enjoy expansive gardens and a fully fenced playground for little ones. And for the foodies, a complimentary hamper full of regional treats awaits guests’ arrival.
Don’t miss: Daylesford’s renowned day spas, less than a 20-minute drive away. The kids can keep busy at nearby Tangled Maze (tangledmaze.com.au) or try horse riding at Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides (hepburnlagoonrides.com.au). Otherwise Ballarat’s boutique stores and antique finds are about 20 kilometres south.
Who for: Style mavens, girls’ getaways, families, friends
The details: Sleeps 10; five bedrooms and two bathrooms. From $1400 for a two-night stay mid-week, and $1800 for a two-night stay weekend. dayget.com.au/aghadoe
Mcananly Homestead, Beechworth, Vic
Where: Less than 60 kilometres south of Albury Wodonga in North East Victoria.
What we like: It may look like a classic farmhouse from the outside, but Mcananly Homestead isn’t so traditional. Focused on sustainability, the house was built out of recycled materials and timbers milled from the property, and uses solar power and tank water. But comfort hasn’t been sacrificed, with the newly renovated interior boasting fine linen, an open fireplace and outdoor heated spa. And being atop a hill, surrounded by 80 acres of native trees, the views aren’t bad either.
Don’t miss: The food and wine scene, particularly in nearby King Valley and Rutherglen, while Milawa is home to the renowned Brown Brothers cellar door (brownbrothers.com.au) and Milawa Cheese Factory (milawacheese.com.au).
Who for: Family reunions, wine lovers, friends cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
The details: Sleeps up to 10; four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Two-night minimum stay, $60 per person per night, or $30 per child. Continental breakfasts from $4 per person per morning, or a basket of barbecue-able delights from $8 per person per morning. mcananly.com.au
Play Shack 2 River Front, Mt Buller, Vic
Where: Sawmill Settlement, 12 kilometres west of Mt Buller in Victoria’s alpine country.
What we like: Set on a riverfront acreage regularly visited by local kangaroos, it doesn’t get much more picturesque than this. But inside this renovated log cabin is a fully self- contained home away from home, decked out with modern furnishings, an open fireplace and movie library. While kids also have a rumpus room, gaming tables and a trampoline at their disposal, big kids have a pool table and direct river access.
Don’t miss: During winter, nearby Mount Buller and Mount Stirling have popular ski runs and cross country trails for all levels (ask about discounted hire gear for guests). In summer, the area is ideal for fishing, hiking, cycling and swimming.
Who for: Nature lovers, ski-bunnies, cyclists, families with small kids, friends.
The details: Sleeps up to 15; four bedrooms and three bathrooms. Single week night from $600, or from $1800 for a weekend consisting of Friday and Saturday night (flat rate). playshack.com.au