It’s currently the long Easter weekend in Australia, so we were lucky enough to squeeze in a mini-break travelling from Melbourne to Wattle Hill before the crowds descended. The first of two nights away was spent on private bush land, tucked up in a lovely Eco Lodge and surrounded by the sounds and sights of native wildlife. This place is true rural bliss and I only wish we could have stayed longer.
// THE BASICS
Nestled discreetly in to the hillside behind the town of Lorne, on the Great Ocean Road, Australia, is the charming accommodation Lorne Bush House Cottages and Eco Retreats. This is a family business where you’ll be very warmly welcomed by owners Chris and Carol, who purchased the land back in the mid 1970s and then built the Lodges as recently as 2013. We arrived mid-week in the early evening and were greeted by Chris, who is from Lorne and was able to share interesting information about the area, what was on and where to eat, as well as details about the accommodation.
I’m so thrilled we found this accommodation through doing a quick search on eco-focused businesses in the area. We stayed for 1 night in an Eco Lodge, which are basically safari-style tents that had been shipped in from South Africa and Chris himself built with the help of local tradies. The owners have done an excellent job of landscaping and installing the five lodges to ensure that you get really up-close-and-personal with nature and experience the Aussie bush at its finest. This is posh camping for the uninitiated or non-inclined, with the familiarities and reassurance of back-to-basics self-catering. Each lodge sleeps 4 (double plus bunks) and has everything you could possibly need (fridge/ freezer, microwave, heating, fan, TV, toaster, sofa, utensils and cutlery), all contained in the spacious tented section. Then there’s an adjoining bathroom with shower and toilet, constructed in the style of a simple outhouse.
Whilst Lorne Bush House Cottages are set-up to accommodate individuals or couples to larger groups as well, the venue is perfect for a family holiday. Kids would totally love all of the wildlife plus the thrill of camping AND bunkbeds. It’s very safe so they could be left to go exploring, or check out the on-site Yabby Dam: there are nets for catching the crawfish-like crustaceans, although I’m not sure I’d actually want to BBQ them!
// WHAT I LOVED
That evening as the sun set behind the eucalyptus trees, the sound of silence was broken only by the occasional bird chirp and there wasn’t a car to be heard. Despite it being a little chilly, we slept with the main tent doors open (there’s a sturdy fly net; the whole thing is made from very robust materials) so that the light crept in the next morning to rouse us from what was one of the best night’s sleep ever! The bed linen has three layers deep for extra coziness. After reluctantly getting out of bed to crack on with the day, it was a treat to enjoy breakfast on the wrap-around lodge balcony accompanied by cheeky cockatoos and surrounded by more timid kangaroos and a kookaburra.
Impressively Lorne Bush House Cottages have held an Eco Nature Tourism certification since 2012, however they had been practising many of the requirements long before this time. All of the cottages and lodges are included in this accreditation, and their Environmental Management Plan includes, but is not limited to:
- Externally: composting, recycling, water saving measures
- Internally: low energy use appliances and light bulbs, bulk dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and body wash, thus minimising packaging
- Always re-using where possible for other purposes
- A nature walk with signage explaining about the local environment, fauna and flora
// GET TO KNOW
Chris and Carol are very involved members of the Lorne community, and have family living up and down the Victoria coastline from Geelong, to Torquay and Port Campbell. They receive a real mix of guests who book accommodation at Lorne Bush House Cottages: some are environmentally aware and choose to stay because of the certification. Others simply love the nature aspect, then never fail to be impressed by the comfort features of the Eco Lodges and a business that operates with the environment at its core. In short, it’s all about the experience – I couldn’t agree more.
Describe in 3 words how you feel about your business // Passionate, enjoyable, rewarding
What would you love to do if you weren’t running Lorne Bush House Cottages? // Chris would probably do something with the land. Carol would work with children in the sports and/ or outdoor adventure activities area.
Dream guest? // David Attenborough
// ADDRESS BOOK
Phone Number: +61 3 5289 2477 or 0411 471 939
Address: 1860 Deans Marsh Road, Lorne VIC 3232 Australia