Paul Kalina finds it's possible to live in comfort while truly getting away from it all.
The small hand is about to hit seven. In anyone's language, it's too early to be awake on an out-of-town Sunday morning. Yet I'm oblivious to the commotion at the kitchen table, where a three-year-old insists several engines have just suffered a massive pile-up on an imaginary railway track. Instead, I'm under the spell of the forest of pencil-thin eucalypts outside, where the dappled light of the sun is cutting through a light fog and making its way down to the fern-covered forest floor.
Bunker is a classy weekender about four kilometres from Daylesford. And while the modern cabin, which is clad in somewhat severe-looking brown-grey corrugated iron and from a distance could be mistaken for a shipping container, looks as though it has been plonked arbitrarily in a clearing in the bush, it's soon apparent that it has been cleverly sited to make best use of the light and natural surrounds.
A long wall of east-facing glass doors opens to a timber verandah and a gravel-covered area for parking cars. The open-plan living area has a fully functioning kitchen at one end, a dining table with stylish replica Eames chairs, a fat, L-shaped leather couch, and a wood-burning oven that would be treat in the winter.
The wall opposite the glass doors has low-slung horizontal windows so that the bush can be seen when you're seated on the couch or at the dining table. Beyond this is a tiled bathroom with decent-size bath and shower and a compact bedroom, which opens to a timber deck with outdoor lounges (though no much-needed shade cover). Separate from the main building is another double room with en suite, which allows Bunker to be shared by couples in privacy.
It's a cleverly designed and meticulously finished house (by modular, prefab housing company Modscape) complete with low-energy electric devices that makes the most of its compact space, recessed shelves, a concealed laundry that creates a nook for the fireplace, and wardrobes that surround a queen-size bed.
Several pieces of repurposed industrial furniture give the Bunker a distinctive look and charm. The kitchen has a dishwasher, microwave, gas stove and ample crockery, cutlery and cutting knives.
The tariff includes a take-home hamper of teas, ground coffee, drinking chocolate, and a selection of sweet and savoury snacks, most of which are locally sourced.
The tourism boom that has transformed once-sleepy Daylesford into a thriving weekend mecca has well and truly spilt into neighbouring towns.
The Glenlyon General Store is a contemporary twist on the old corner shop, serving an unpretentious breakfast and lunchtime menu (eggs, toasties, hamburgers, salads, and a selection of craft beers and ciders). Basic provisions, a decent selection of prepared frozen meals, and a fridge full of local smallgoods and cheeses make bunkering down at Bunker an even more appealing option. Nearby Trentham is home to a new cafe by Kyneton fixture Annie Smithers, and the quality Redbeard Bakery.
Ah, the serenity. Despite its relative proximity to the road, the house is an oasis of solitude with forest at the doorstep. If that's your benchmark for "getting away from it all", this is hard to beat.
Address About four kilometres from Daylesford on the Daylesford-Trentham Road.
Phone (03) 5348 4422, see dayget.com.au.
Price From $410 for two-night stays midweek; $520 for two nights at the weekend.
The verdict A showcase of contemporary modular housing in the bush.
Perfect for Couples seeking seclusion and fastidious comfort.
Wheelchair access No.
While you're there Enjoy the spas at nearby Hepburn Springs; cafes, antiques and boutique shopping at Daylesford; nature walks, and leisurely drives to Castlemaine and Trentham.