Top 6 strangest (and strangely good) stays in Australia

In a world of increasing franchised flops and cookie-cutter hotels there are interesting and infinitely Instagrammable accommodation alternatives out there. Here are the strangest, yet strangely good places to stay In Australia. Ever considered staying…

1. ON A POLE  

The Pole House has been one of the most photographed holiday homes in Australia since it was built back in 1978. Since then, the sleek Great Ocean Road one-bedder has had an extensive makeover with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a glass balcony balustrade added ensuring a view down at least Lorne on a clear day. Life on top of the great pole, 40 metres above Fairhaven Beach, is warm all year round, thanks to a floating fireplace, the star of its seriously sexy.


When summer temperatures reach 50 degrees in the Opal-mining, Wild-West town Coober Pedy, don’t dare touch that air-con. There’s a broad range of partially or fully underground dug-outs (old/extended mines or custom dug) on offer that hover around 23 degrees all year around. The town’s ‘shotel’, The Desert Cave, has 4-star Underground Rooms that aren’t as close-in-around-you as you might think, thanks to effective ventilation.


You’d be surprised just how many people want to live out a lighthouse-keeper fantasy. Meeting this demand are an unexpected number of revamped lighthouses that have popped up as coastal accommodation options. Perhaps the most delightfully remote of all is Cape Borda lighthouse on Kangaroo Island’s south-west coast. The charming self-contained stone cabin offers solitude and unparalleled wild Southern Ocean vistas. Plenty of exposed wood and rough-hewn floor boards and rafters totally add to the ‘living in a tree’ vibe. Also on the 600-acre property, are the mysteriously named ‘enchanted cave’ and ‘love tee-pee’se’ won’t necessarily tally with your childhood.


This interpretation of the word ‘tree house’ won’t necessarily tally with your childhood memories of a few pieces of wood nailed to a backyard tree. We love the luxe Love Cabin treehouse above Wollemi in the New South Wales Hunter Valley for its fireplace, its kitchen and wall-to floor windows that reveal a beautifully bushy valley view below. Plenty of exposed wood and rough-hewn floor boards and rafters totally add to the ‘living in a tree’ vibe. Also on the 600-acre property, are the mysteriously named ‘enchanted cave’ and ‘love tee-pee’.


Not to be out-Melbourned, Notel sees five sexy, sleek, super-shiny silver Airstreams in a kitschy trailer park that started life as a car park. Each 31-foot caravan is surrounded by its own recycled pallet deck, with obligatory single cactus, overlooking abstract art splashed across high walls. The interior’s ultra-clean white and coral pink lines are interrupted only for a queen-sized bed (with Aura linen) and minimalist but cool accoutrements like well-stocked bar fridge and spacious, Malin-and-Goetz stocked ensuite. You may appreciate the open-air spa after a night out in nearby Flinders Lane too.


If archetypal Australian experiences are your thing, then a wood-fired paddle steamer trip down the Murray River will get your wheels turning. The proud PS Emmylou cruises down river from Echuca with overnight space for 18 guests. While she looks very 19th century, Emmylou was actually built in the 1980s with most of the creature comforts you’d expect in a retro-steamer. Disembarking for a Murray-side campfire among the redgums is a highlight.

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