A romantic escape with room for just two is always a treat. But nothing beats gathering a group of friends and family to chill out for a few days.
Well-equipped kitchens, ample space to relax and plenty of activities to partake in. These are the ingredients that make for the ultimate weekend away with a crowd. Add in a fireplace, hot tub and access to some of the east coast’s best beaches and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Thankfully no one will have to sleep on a sad foldout couch at these seven spectacular houses.
Crane Lodge, Palm Beach NSW
Nestled among rainforest-like gardens in Palm Beach, Crane Lodge will make you feel like you’re much further than an hour from Sydney’s CBD. Sleeping up to 15 people across five rooms, including a self-contained studio that’s slightly removed from the rest of the house, this stay is the perfect choice for group gatherings. There’s a chef’s kitchen that lives up to its name (the team can also arrange for a private chef during your stay); multiple indoor and outdoor living spaces, including three fireplaces and a fire pit for maximum cosiness; a heated magnesium swimming pool and cedar hot tub. You’ll find plenty of board games in the cupboard and a soaking tub in the master suite. And the owner’s speedboat is available for hire on Pittwater. Wild Luxury has a second property on stunning Berowra Waters, Calabash Bay Lodge, which has room for eight guests if your crew is slightly smaller.
Chippewa Cottage, Mermaid Beach QLD
A quintessential beach house with retro flair, Chippewa Cottage is perfectly positioned to enjoy the spoils of Mermaid Beach. Six guests can stay at the property with three bedrooms and three bathrooms kitted out with homey appeal. A chequered tiled pool is the star of the backyard and two al fresco entertaining areas offer ample opportunity to (safely) soak up the sunshine. There’s a full laundry for stashing sandy items after a day at the beach, which is only a short walk away. You’re also on the doorstep of the Gold Coast’s thriving dining scene if you want to avoid the argument about who has to clean the barbeque.
Sagres, Queenscliff VIC
A luxury retreat on the Bellarine Peninsula, Sagres has personal space aplenty. Set over three storeys, there’s five bedrooms and five bathrooms that comfortably accommodate 10 people. Beds, a mix of king and queen sizes, are dressed in luxe linens from Quoin the Label and the bathrooms are kitted out with Leif products. The kitchen is equipped for feeding a crowd thanks to additions like a Thermomix and warming drawer. A bar corner complete with colourful glassware is sure to inspire the mixologists among you, and an outdoor bath and shower, two decks and a barbeque dining area mean there’s no reason to stay cooped up inside the four beautifully designed walls. If you run out of conversation starters, the views are heavenly enough to sit in silence for a while.
The Joint, Byron Bay NSW
Find your bliss on Bangalow Road with The Joint, a contemporary home kitted out with Mediterranean appeal. Cabinetry is made from recycled timber and most of the earthenware was hand thrown by friends of the host. Sleeping six, the house comprises three bedrooms and three and a half baths. The light-filled kitchen features an oversized island bench, meaning many cooks can fit. There’s a record player, furniture from Australian designers like Sarah Ellison and Worn, and access to the communal courtyard, fire pit and veggie garden. One of the best parts of the property is that there’s two adjacent guesthouses available to book if you’re coming with a crowd. Check out Saint Helena and Friday Hut.
Elsewhere, Red Hill VIC
Food-lovers would be silly to book anywhere but Elsewhere. Set on four hectares in the hinterland of Mornington Peninsula, the Red Hill property sleeps six in a refurbished Victorian cottage. Yes, there’s access to a stunning pool, a clawfoot tub in the bathroom and two roaring fireplaces to keep you cosy. But the biggest drawcard is that owner Patrice Repellin (who helmed the kitchen of now-closed hatted French restaurant Koots Salle à Manger for 15 years) offers private dining alongside stays. Take up his offer to host a dinner party for you and your guests – you’ll be too tired to cook after exploring Merricks Trail and the wealth of wineries nearby.
The Homestead, Bega NSW
If you’re looking for country charm with a side order of coastal chill, The Homestead is for you. The Bega property is set on the rolling hills of dairy country, a six-hour drive from Sydney and a seven-and-a-half-hour journey from Melbourne – but it’s only 20 minutes from the sands of Tathra Beach. The house sleeps six guests across three rooms. The beds (two queens, one double) are dressed in French linens from Cultiver and layered with wool blankets in the cooler months. The open-plan living space is dominated by an oversized blackbutt window and centred around a slow-combustion fireplace. There’s antique furnishings and a kitchen designed for gourmet cooking. It features two ovens, an induction cooktop with a pot tap, a big double sink, and access to a veggie patch that is yours for picking. A bit further down the coast you’ll find sister property, Lotte’s Hjem.
Camillo House, Blairgowrie VIC
Just 50 paces from Blairgowrie’s back beach, Camillo House is the stuff of daydreams. Six guests can enjoy the property with three bedrooms (one king, two queen) and three bathrooms offering ample privacy – and no one having to worry about getting stuck on a pull-out sofa. Expect ready-to-pour, all-inclusive Negronis on arrival; an almost gallery-like feel, with mostly vintage furniture and 25 original artworks throughout; and views for days – every window is a picture window here. There’s also two custom-made bathtubs: one indoor, made of spotted gum; and the other outdoor, a circular concrete slab where you can have a secluded post-beach soak.
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