Is the cold weather crushing your spirit? Need a break filled with sunrooms, stunning scenery, bottles of red and crackling fires? They say a change is as good as a holiday, but a change and a holiday is the best. So pull yourself together, drag whoever you can from hibernation, and get on the road to somewhere new. From wine country to High Country, these cosy cabins, cottages and lodges are made for winter escapes.
In the rolling countryside of Kyneton lies The Stables at Highbank, a beautifully refurbished bluestone stable with all the essentials for a cosy escape: long driveway, walled gardens, wood fire and deep clawfoot tub. A gorgeous space with high-ceilings and loads of light, the interiors are the work of owner Tonia Todman, featuring fresh cut roses on tabletops, plump cushions on lounges, and select artworks on the walls. Collapse into bed knowing you can keep your PJs on for a gourmet breakfast when you wake – the pantry here is full of delicious regional produce.
The Lodge, Adventure Bay Retreat, TAS
Bruny Island’s wine, cheese and spectacular beauty – all enjoyed from a lodge inspired by the landscape – is our idea of wintertime bliss. Adventure Bay Retreat has the kind of rustic charm you’d expect of a cabin in the woods plus all of the luxury. Tasmanian hardwood floors, exposed timber beams and a fireplace made from natural rock are just some of the accents indoors. Nibble on produce platters at the artisan dining table; relax on the leather lounge in front of some crackling logs; soak in the freestanding stone bath with the bushland in full view, and then sink into a luxuriously soft bed with a sigh.
Arriving to a bottle of wine and chocolates waiting ticks the first box on our winter wish list. A double spa on the covered balcony facing the peaceful gully beyond ticks another. The in-house pamper packages – exclusive to guests of Briars Cottage – weren’t even on our list, but we certainly won’t say no. And the five-minute drive to hot springs, cosy cafes and cute shops in Daylesford caps off the perfection. Cold weather breaks don’t get much better than this.
With its beautiful rivers and rambling bushland, this part of the world is made for unwinding. Little Pig Creek is a cosy cabin tucked away near the Kangaroo Valley, and within its walls you’ll find warm colours and exotic treasures (many of which were lugged back from trips to India, Morocco, France and Portugal). This low-tech, earth-loving getaway will bring out the free-spirited bohemian in you. And to top-off the carefree feeling your welcome pack includes a bottle of gin, tonic and snacks. We don’t know about you, but we’re ready for a winter escape to the woods.
A luxe lodge... a steaming hot tub under a star-filled night sky... a cosy wood-fire and panoramic water views… all on your own private peninsula with over 200 acres of walks, wildlife and coastline to explore. At the base of the Huon Valley and fronted by the D’Entrecasteux Channel and Port Esperance Bay, The Peninsula is a stunning turn-of-the-century farmhouse that combines old and new for a one-of-a-kind experience with incredible views. Stock up on local food and wine and get settled in, because once you’ve arrived you won’t want to leave.
When it comes to lavish winter escapes, The Buckland Luxury Retreat ranks highly. Everything about these five architect-designed villas is perfect for bunkering down and cosying up – there’s wine in the fridge, a sumptuous bed, three pillow types to choose from (your head will rest JUST right, guaranteed), coffee in the espresso machine, and floor-to-ceiling windows capturing the Buckland Valley and Buffalo Range. If we had to choose just one, we’d choose ‘Number 5’, where a deep bath allows L’Occitane lathered soaking with a view of Bright’s alpine forests.
South Australia is known for its beautiful churches, and this is your opportunity to sleep in one. The Kirche, German for ‘The Church’, delivers all that you would expect in grand, high-ceilinged comfort. With an attic bedroom, a deep soaking bath, and sprawling vineyard views, there’s plenty of incentive to stay indoors. And when you eventually tear yourself away, a stroll to the winery will reward you with a long lunch and cellar door samplings. Charles Melton is famous for its red wines, and a taster or few will be just what you need to warm-up.
Forage from the kitchen garden’s winter harvest. Burn calming Sri Lankan cinnamon incense. Add local 'Chum Creek Coffee Co Chia' to your breakfasts. Tune in with a meditation session, connect with nature and snuggle up next to some of the Yarra Valley’s best open fires, thanks to guides provided at your stay. Indulge in the area’s wine, chocolate and cheese. Be pampered at a day-spa, or book a hot-stone therapy and Indian head massage in-house. It's in the interest of your wellbeing to take a break at Botanica Editions this winter.
Shetland Rest is the perfect spot to, well, rest. This cosy barn-like cottage is set right on the shores of Glazier Bay in Southern Tasmania, and both the views and the countryside are ridiculously beautiful. Before holing up at this über peaceful retreat, be sure to gather up enough Bruny Island cheese and buttery chardonnay to last you. You could venture out, but we’d recommend making the most of having this riverside haven to yourself.
For us, warming meals are essential to a winter escape. And at Harts Farm indulging is made all too easy. Surrounded by vines and olive groves, this villa includes luxurious linens, a freestanding bath and a plush daybed complemented by a stack of books and mags. ‘Harts Farm Kitchen’ produces cakes, preserves, cordials and olive oils, and its head chef Penny runs cooking classes throughout the year. Learn to make wood-fired pizza from scratch, and if you can find room (we’re sure you can), top it off with one of the kitchen’s mouth-watering desserts.
Eco-luxe, Mount Avoca, VIC
In the breathtaking Pyrenees wine region, relax in minimalist, modern style at the Eco-Luxe lodges at Mount Avoca Estate. The architecture is inspired by the landscape, and the interiors both complement and draw in the stunning surrounds. Full walls of glass allow you to soak in the winter sun while lounging with a book, and you can view day breaking over the countryside from bed. And in the evenings, you’ll love reclining in the spa bath and curling up in front of the fire with a bottle of Mount Avoca’s best.
In a land of valleys filled with ancient trees and ferns, and night skies filled with stars, these secluded cottages at Barrington Topsare a magical place to escape. Constructed from local timber and stone, here, you’re connected to your surrounds in every sense. Pull on your layers, prepare mugs of mulled wine, and get the campfire blazing to spend time outside. And when the chill settles in, head back to a fire-lit lounge, cosy throws and a comfy bed. When you’re nestled within a 57-hectare wildlife refuge, there’ll be nothing to disturb your sleep bar the birds.
While Victoria’s High Country is attractive at any time of year, the snow-capped peaks in winter make it an especially hot ticket. And with its cathedral-style ceilings, exposed timber beams, mud brick walls and custom furnishings, Feathertop Retreat is everything a cosy escape should be. Huge windows frame the surrounding ranges, and it wouldn’t be surprising if you got too comfortable taking in the views to venture outside. Because when you’ve got crackling wood fires, a deep soaking bath and plush perches everywhere, who could blame you? Just add red wine.
Set at the foothills of the Bogong ranges, Falls Creek and the Alpine National Park, this Mount Beauty stunner is spread across five-acres framed by high plains. Dreamers Mountain Village is the brainchild of creative power couple Mal and Wendy Lee – bring together an eco-architect and a talented designer, and the result is one totally luxurious, entirely green retreat. These cosily romantic chalets each have their own individual flair. For the ultimate indulgence book ‘The Penthouse’, which comes with a stonewalled outdoor spa for you to soak the cold away.