The most unique stays in the Hunter Valley
Whether you want to doze off in a tiny house surrounded by the sounds of native bushland or wake in a train carriage surrounded by alpacas, the Hunter Valley doesn’t disappoint when it comes to unique accommodation options.
Soak up the tranquillity beside a billabong
One of six private escapes at Billabong Moon, Billabong Cottage is the crowning jewel of the estate, perched on the edge of the property’s stunning natural billabong. Surrounded by casuarina woodlands, it would be easy to while away the hours simply basking in this idyllic location – birdwatching from the sundeck, throwing in a line or taking the property’s boat out for a leisurely row. However, with some of the region’s most acclaimed cellar doors on your doorstep, be sure to set aside some time for a wine tasting or two.
Get back to nature in a wilderness cabin
If you’re looking for complete seclusion amid nature, you’ve come to the right place. The four eco-luxe cabins at Carawirry Forest Escape are all about disconnecting from the daily grind – to reconnect with nature. Each is individual in design and sleeps between six and 14 people, ideal for families and groups of friends. Check in to Gum Leaf Cabin and you’re treated to an outdoor bath and double rainfall shower; The Treehouse comes with a fire pit, fireplace and rainforest views; The Cottage has forest views from the bathroom, with the option to add space in a self-contained Nook; and Tathra House beckons with a private plunge pool and space for extra occupants in the adjoining Humpy.
Overnight in a rustic 1950s train carriage
We challenge you to find an animal cuter than an alpaca. At off-grid Little Valley Farm, these wide-eyed creatures roam the grounds on which you sleep. The farmstay offers two overnight options: the T4615 Red Rattler and The Shearer’s Studio. The former, as its name suggests, is a repurposed train carriage, replete with a queen-sized bed and kitchen, and perks like an outdoor pizza oven and hammocks perfectly strung to offer views over manicured meadows. The studio is crafted from reclaimed river red gums, set on stilts above a dam – the Finnish-style sauna and rain shower are luxe additions.
Embrace the finer things with Spicers
Australian-owned Spicers Retreats has a portfolio of unique properties across Queensland and New South Wales. Regardless of location, all come with style to spare. The trio of retreats in the Hunter Valley include Spicers Tower Lodge – with a striking design that resembles a Basque Country village – Spicers Vineyards Estate, surrounded by neat rows of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon grapes, and Spicers Guesthouse, a modern farmhouse replete with sandstone walls and cosy fireplaces. Whichever you choose you’re guaranteed a culinary adventure, with the Spicers team dedicated to creating seasonal menus that reflect the harvest of their destination.
Enjoy a design-driven stay
Set on a private 10-hectare vineyard near Polkolbin, The Longhouse is modelled on a traditional Aussie woolshed, but inside you’ll find spectacular modern design. Three two-bedroom, self-contained suites with stylish living areas and well-equipped kitchens offer sweeping views of chardonnay grape vines and the mountains beyond. Make the most of the vistas with the floor-to-ceiling glass walls and sliding walls that open up onto a massive deck, where you can sit and watch kangaroos hop past.
Go back to basics in a tiny house
In2thewild’s portfolio of fully kitted tiny homes proves that good things really do come in small packages. In the Hunter, there are multiple locations to choose from. Perched between Wollemi and Yengo National Park, pick Clancy and you’ll be enveloped by woodland and meadows, with wildlife your closest neighbours. Opt for Elizabeth and you’re under a canopy of deciduous trees on rolling farmland – pets are welcome to join you on your escapade. And at Christopher, you wake to bucolic countryside views, with room enough for four people.
Hit the fairways at a French-inspired chateau
For a luxe stay overlooking the greens of The Vintage, a Greg Norman-designed championship golf course 10 minutes’ drive north of Pokolbin, Château Élan offers elegant, spacious private villas perfect for relaxing in between rounds. Not a golfer? Fear not. The resort is also home to a day spa boasting 17 treatment rooms, and a hydro lounge and deck area, where you can soak, sip something bubbly, and gaze at the mountains.
Unwind in a private boathouse (with an onsite restaurant)
Designed with peace and privacy front of mind, The Boathouse accommodation at Leaves & Fishes caters to only six couples at one time. Overlooking a tranquil lily-filled pond, each of the secluded villas feature their own viewing deck (a perfect perch for some wine and cheese tasting), as well king-sized beds, marble tiling, opulent timber furnishings and stone baths. The onsite restaurant is less than a two-minute walk away – as well as a boutique homewares store – meaning guests can settle in for a relaxing evening.
Be transported to New Mexico
Inspired by the Adobe (or ‘Pueblo’) style of home found in Sante Fe and Albuquerque, one could easily imagine they are enjoying a holiday in New Mexico when they step inside the romantic Casa La Vina. With exposed timber ceilings, rendered walls, southwestern décor, gas log fireplaces, expansive courtyards and outdoor Jacuzzi spas, the property is often featured in advertisements and Instagram shoots due to its unique architecture. Couples can book one of the three exclusive adults-only villas, or bring a group and hire the entire estate.