Jane Reddy finds the beach house of her dreams at Inverloch.
Just under 140 kilometres from the big smoke, the seaside town of Inverloch is quite the place for a weekender, reflected in the healthy median house price and the population that quadruples from about 5000 over the Christmas period. It is a town for all ages. Andersons Inlet is ideal for little paddlers, while the surf beach, magnificent during our grey weekend stay, has paddle boarders and swimmers aplenty. A walking and bike trail snakes along the coastline shared by cyclists and the occasional gopher.
Arrival at Casilla calls for champagne. The beach house of my dreams does exist. It is one street back from Surf Parade in Lohr Avenue. The exterior of cypress pine and corten steel is a lovely fit among the craggy gums and scrubby natives. I can hear the waves at night. Designed by Neil Architecture, the bright and breezy interior is punctuated by textured walls, nest-like wooden shades and an overarching lamp. There is an open-plan kitchen with concrete and stainless-steel benches, wide and comfortable stools, plus a dining table for eight. The floors are of spotted gum and the big couch invites an afternoon of wine and books when bad weather sets in. Floor-to-ceiling windows lead to a wraparound deck overlooking the outdoor barbecue, where vines provide shade on a sunny day.
The four bedrooms are carpeted and cosy, with built-in wardrobes. The main has a separate, shmick en suite with a lime splashback, frameless shower and bath. Two bedrooms are packed with trundle beds and make a cool kids' sleeping zone. A media room next door has a flat-screen television and DVD player. We don't see our young gang for hours at a stretch. The body-length bean bags and a movie are preferred over time with the parents at the front end of the house. The split-system airconditioning and gas log fire (no wood chopping here) has us stumped, but a call to the property manager, followed soon after by a visit, and we are soon warm again. A "how-to" instruction sheet for guests might have saved the callout. With myriad places of retreat, I can envision a larger group of friends staying without tripping over each other.
Casilla gives the chief cook and bottle washer of any family a fighting chance at a holiday. Mundane essentials, such as a dishwasher, colander, salad bowls and cutlery are here, as is a decent number of champagne and wine glasses. The laundry has a front-loading washing machine and dryer. The policy is BYO linen, but that is probably a fair trade-off when you can count on everything else, board games and new magazines included.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
Rain or shine, the 12-kilometre Bunurong Coastal Drive from Inverloch to Cape Paterson is a must, with caves to explore and stunning rocky lookouts, such as Eagles Nest. Budding sailors can explore Anderson Inlet and the waterbirds that appear at low tide. On Casilla's doorstep, surf lessons are on offer, if you are so inclined.
For this beach-house-owning wannabe, it is the stuff of dreams: an all-season, fun-yet-functional weekender, with the right ingredients for a beach break, ideal for a stay with a group of friends or a family.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Melbourne, take the South Gippsland Highway, turning on to Bass Highway to follow the road through Bass, Kilcunda and Wonthaggi, before reaching Inverloch.
From $335 a night, minimum two nights. Sleeps up to 12, with a surcharge of $20 a person a night for more than eight guests. From $2000 a week. See inverlochaccommodation.com.au.
The writer paid for her own accommodation.