The Times Australia

The Times

Holidays & Travel

NSW Escapes

  • Written by Madeleine Clark

When you need to get away from it all, nothing beats an off-grid wilderness getaway. These cosy cabins, glamping retreats and eco cottages powered by renewable energy don't just offer a splendid sense of isolation, but also an opportunity to tread lightly on the planet. So relax, turn off your phone, and be at peace with nature.  

Bubbletent Australia, Capertee, Blue Mountains  

Stargazers and romantics will fall in love with these magical clear domes in Capertee, less than three hours' drive northwest of Sydney in the western reaches of the Blue Mountains. Bubbletent Australia's three transparent spheres are named after zodiac constellations — Leo, Virgo and Cancer. They sit atop raised wooden decks and give guests a spectacular view of the stars at night and the Capertee Valley during the day. The tents are constructed with fireproof, commercial-grade PVC, and renew, filter and dehumidify the air inside the tent up to nine times an hour.  

Turon Gates Country Resort, Capertee, Blue Mountains  

Less than 30 minutes' drive west of Bubbletent Australia, a collection of luxe cottages, rustic cabins and glamping tents make up the accommodation at Turon Gates Mountain Retreat, another idyllic off-grid option in the Capertee region of the Blue Mountains. Go bush and explore the rocky outcrops hugging the crystal-clear creek, try horse riding and spotting wildlife such as kangaroos, wombats and platypus during your stay.  

Unyoked, various locations 

Environmental warriors and twin brothers Cam and Chris Grant have set up more than 20 eco-friendly cabins across Australia where nature-loving visitors can experience minimalist stays in the wilderness. NSW has 14 Unyoked cabins hidden in secluded locations from the Hunter Valley to the Northern Rivers, the South Coast to the Central Coast hinterland. You'll be given exact location details upon booking, and all you need to bring is your own food and a sense of adventure — each cabin has an adventure level rating to help you make the right choice.  

Avalon River Retreat, Toms Creek 

The blissfully secluded Avalon River Retreat on the banks of the Ellenborough River, 80 minutes' drive west of Port Macquarie on the NSW North Coast, is perfect for an off-grid family holiday. Choose from tipis, a tiny house or a cedar cabin to sleep in and spend your stay exploring 162 hectares of rolling pastures and pristine rainforest on this totally solar powered property tended by owners Sophie and Ged. Look out for wildlife including koalas, goannas, water dragons, wallabies, turtles and parrots on your adventures. 

Hernani Wilderness Hut, Hernani 

Hide from the world in this rustic eco-hut high on an escarpment in the New England region of country NSW, a 1.5-hour drive west of Coffs Harbour on the mid-North Coast. The open-plan Hernani Wilderness Hut is crafted with recycled timber and sleeps up to nine people. Inside you'll discover a slow-combustion fireplace, colourful crochet blankets and a quirky tree-branch balustrade winding up to a loft bedroom. Run onto green lawns from your doorstep and see laden fruit trees — from late spring until early autumn you can pick peaches, pears and plums.  

Loggers Cabin, Dorroughby 

On the edge of Nightcap National Park, part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, Loggers Cabin is the ultimate off-grid rainforest escape. Just 45 minutes west of Byron Bay, the cosy solar-powered studio cabin in the small hinterland community of Dorroughby makes the perfect base for exploring the national park, with the 100m-high Minyon Falls just 5km down the road. Bring your own food to cook or pre-order a hearty meal to heat over the fire pit. Travelling in a group? There's also a two-bedroom Queenslander-style cottage on the property.  

Pindari Tiny Home, Kangaroo Valley 

Nestled in natural Kangaroo Valley bushland two hours south of Sydney, Pindari Tiny Home offers a totally off-the-grid and eco-friendly experience with all the luxuries of home. Relish in comfy queen beds, a fully equipped kitchen and hot shower. Switch off your phone and enjoy the outside log fire and surrounding wildlife, with soaring views of Mount Scanzi. Keep an eye out for wallabies, possums, kangaroos, and wombats in the evening, and listen to the amazing chorus of birds at dawn. You will never want to leave this tiny, tranquil oasis.  

Kimo Estate, Gundagai 

The three architecturally designed eco huts at Kimo Estate are perched high on a 2833-hectare farm just outside Gundagai, four hours' drive southwest of Sydney. JR's is the original eco hut and provides an Australian country experience for the style conscious. Fergo's is nestled into a hillside with a fire pit and Sweeney's is at the highest vantage point of all overlooking the Murrumbidgee River. For an extra touch of luxury, all three huts boast a wood-fired hot tub. 

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