Rotten Point House, Johanna review: Minimal movement

Read our writer's views on this property below

Michelle Potts basks in the modern elegance of a Cape Otway hideaway.

After a few Top Gear-style twists and turns along the spectacular Great Ocean Road, the red Porsche screams ahead as Captain Slow turns up a suspension-challenging track curving deep into the rainforest. But slow is the way to go sans four-wheel-drive, and it's not too long before bush track becomes bluestone gravel outside the low-rise walls of a fairly unobtrusive flat-roofed pavilion nestled among eucalypts.

Inside, a rammed-earth hallway draws you into a light-filled open-plan kitchen, dining and living area. Walls of glass frame a dramatic sweep of rugged Otways coastline from Rotten Point to Cape Volney. We slide back the walls, step out to the verandah, and take in the soothing sounds of the wild Southern Ocean surf.

Looking back into the living room, there's a sense of balance and minimalist understatement. Vintage butterfly chairs, Saarinen Womb chairs with matching ottomans, and a classic Eames leather chaise longue - all perfect for weather-watching - mix with contemporary Italian dining furniture, adding richness, texture and sculptural form to a neutral palette.

Behind the free-standing double-sided fireplace separating lounge and dining space, another glass wall opens to an elevated courtyard flanked by sleeping quarters.

Each bedroom wing is cleverly set back to afford 180-degree views in the main living area, and has two king bedrooms and large shower-only bathroom. Here at the back of the house, vertical floor-to-ceiling window panels frame coastal gums like an art series. The real beauty of Rotten Point House is its isolation.

He sorts out the satellite TV, hooks up the iPhone to surround-sound and starts streaming Sonoma Valley jazz, then gets the fire going while I unpack.

For the rest of the weekend, much like the wildlife, we hibernate.

Hiccups? We find condiments, tea bags and coffee grounds, but no welcome hamper. After a quick phone call, the concierge angel soon arrives with a bottle of 2008 Brown Magpie Geelong shiraz, a dozen Johanna free-range eggs, sweet local strawberries, Lindt chocolates and the papers. Redemption.


And then we ate Moorish-inspired mezze en route at Torquay's Scorched is eminently memorable. Think salt cod fritters, juicy fig and feta salad and little cinnamon-spiced duck pies. Post pit stop it's DIY all the way. After converting the car boot to a small travelling cellar packed with pantry provisions, charcuterie, curry and coq au vin, we unload and take over the kitchen.

The deal maker From rainbows arching through tempestuous storm cloud to cerulean skies, verdant pasture and burnt orange sunsets, it's hard not to be hypnotised by nature's ever-changing panorama. And whether you're rising early, cooking, dining or lounging in a vintage Saarinen womb chair, thanks to the genius of designer Nicholas Burns, the views are unobstructed.

Stepping out No need. Paradise found.

Inside info Not fond of tank water? Bring your own, along with all your favourite pantry goods, because it's a long way to the shop for a Chiko Roll. Don't arrive after dark - 2½ kilometres of bush track is difficult to negotiate. And leave the place as you find it to avoid any surprise cleaning fees.


Rotten Point House

Address Evans Track, Johanna.

The verdict A secluded, modernist, eco-friendly retreat with mesmerising views of majestic coastal landscape.

Cost $2025 includes the $20 service fee for a three-night pay-before-you-stay weekend.

Bookings Phone 5237 1098, see

Getting there Johanna is a three-hour drive from Melbourne off the Great Ocean Road.

Perfect for Romance and relaxation.

Wheelchair access No.

While you're there Just enjoy the house. Try tai chi, meditation or yoga alfresco. Have a private chef cook for you or a massage therapist call by. Feeling more energetic? When there's no swell at Bells Beach the world titles move to Johanna — it's surfers' paradise. Go fishing. Explore rock pools at low tide. Hike the Great Ocean Walk, trek the Otway Fly through rainforest treetops or tour the Twelve Apostles. On the home trail, book lunch at Gladioli in Inverleigh for some of the region's best dining.