Where to stay indoors and keep warm this winter
As the temperature drops, it’s easy to see why many people put away the camping gear and choose accommodation that keeps you warm and dry in winter. But that doesn’t mean you have to cross-off national parks and miss out on some truly unique places to stay. Below are some of our highlights across Victoria to suit a variety of budgets this winter. You could be relaxing indoors and enjoying the benefits of nature right on your doorstep.
Caves House; Buchan Caves Reserve
Discover a honeycomb of spectacular limestone formations carved by an underground river almost 400 million years ago at Buchan Caves. Tour the largest cave system in Victoria, enjoy a picnic in the scenic heritage-listed landscape and enjoy a variety of walks from easy to moderate within the park.
Caves House is fully self-contained house that sleeps up to eight people. There are three bedrooms with a Queen bed in each room and an ante room with two single beds. Features include: kitchen, dining area, lounge room, toilets, shower, heating and cooling and TV. All linen provided. Minimum two-night stay applies. Prices from $265.60 per night.
Alternatively, there are two cabins at Buchan Caves that can sleep two adults and three children. Features include: kitchen and living area, toilet, shower, heating & cooling. Prices from $96.30 per night.
Gabo Island Lighthouse Reserve
Just off the pristine coast of Croajingolong National Park, you'll discover Gabo Island. This island feels like nature untouched and offers a truly unique accommodation experience. Originally built in 1858 to 1862 using the distinctive pink granite found on the island, it is the only operating island lighthouse in Victoria. Explore the island’s unique cultural heritage, wildlife and stunning landscapes.
Stay at the Assistant Lightkeeper's residence, featuring three bedrooms (sleeps 8 people), a fully equipped kitchen, laundry and bathroom with all linen provided. Minimum two-night stay applies. Prices from $352.50 per night.
Shearer’s Quarters; Murray Sunset National Park
The Shearers Quarters is an historic self-contained cottage nestled in the remote heart of Murray-Sunset National Park. It is a great place to get away from it all and enjoy the serenity of the bush. Go bushwalking and birdwatching in the wide, open landscape and visit the truly spectacular Pink Lakes.
The four-bedroom cottage sleeps up to 10 people with kitchen facilities include a gas fridge and basic cooking utensils. Visitors should bring their own cooking equipment, linen, firewood and drinking water. There is a tank that holds non-potable water for showering, however supply is limited. Access to the site is via unsealed four wheel drive only tracks. Rooms from $106.60 per night. Or you can book the whole cottage from $418.50 per night.
Cape Conran National Park
Surrounded by banksia woodland brimming with colourful birds and only metres from the wild ocean, consider yourself set for your next East Gippsland escape. Enjoy excellent fishing opportunities at West Cape and the Cape Conran Nature Trail highlights the unique coastal environment.
The Cape Conran Cabins overlook the pristine beaches of Cape Conran Coastal Park. The solid timber cabins have been constructed from locally-sourced timber and offer family and group accommodation designed for a comfortable stay. Each cabin can accommodate a maximum of eight people, with one designed specifically for people with disabilities. All cabins are fully self-contained with a wood fire for heating, toilets, a hot shower and outdoor barbecue. And a communal laundry nearby allows for easy washing. Prices from $182.00 per night.
For larger groups, Oliveberry Group Lodge is a large three-bedroom cottage (sleeps up to 17) with lounge and kitchen. Popular with family groups, and special events, it includes a commercial sized kitchen with a large open area, wood heater and lots of large timber table and chairs.
Point Hicks Lighthouse; Croajingolong National Park
Experience the pristine beauty of Croajingolong National Park and immerse yourself in the unique history of the area with a visit to Point Hicks Lightstation. According to European history, the granite headlands of Point Hicks are said to be Captain James Cooks first sighting of mainland Australia.
Open to the public and with tours running daily from Friday through Sunday, join in to learn the secrets of the tallest lightstation on mainland Australia – from life in this secluded part of the world to the unique landscapes that surround the lightstation. During winter, it’s the perfect spot for whale watching as Humpback and Southern Right whales migrate to their calving grounds off the Queensland coast.
Book an overnight stay at the Lighthouse Keeper’s cottages. Built from Oregon collected from local shipwrecks, the cottages are an excellent example of a nineteenth century lighthouse residence. There are two self-contained cottages and one bungalow. Enjoy a truly tech-free getaway as there is limited mobile phone reception and no television. It’s best to bring all your food and drink (other than water) as the nearest shop is one-hour drive to Cann River. Prices from $128 per night for the Bungalow. And from $326.80 for the cottages (assuming six people).
Wilsons Promontory National Park
There are a range of roofed accommodation options at Tidal River in The Prom and winter is a great time to visit and avoid the crowds. Go hiking during the day and come back to a warm cabin where you can cook a lovely dinner and relax for the evening.
With sweeping views to Mount Bishop, these stylishly designed one-bedroom units accommodate two people. Adjoining units can be linked to accommodate up to four people. One of the units has been specifically designed to meet the latest accessibility standards, and is a perfect option for visitors with limited mobility. Features include: spacious living area, fully self-contained kitchen, bathroom, gas heating. sun deck, shared barbecue area. All linen and towels are provided. Prices from $190.20 per night.
These cabins sleep up to six people and feature lots of natural light and a timber deck area for relaxing outdoors. Two of the cabins are suitable for people with disabilities. Features include: spacious living area and fully equipped kitchen with microwave, fridge, one bedroom with queen sized bed and one bedroom with two bunk beds, bathroom, gas heating. Linen and towels are provided. Prices from $249.10 per night.
For a unique ‘close to nature’ experience, the Wilderness Retreats offer the perfect mix of bush camping with all the conveniences of modern cabins. Features include: luxurious queen size bed with all linen provided, gas heating, private ensuite and timber deck, small fridge and tea and coffee making facilities. Guests can also access the exclusive communal kitchen. Prices from $338.40 per night.
The Mansion Hotel; Werribee Park
Soak up the grandeur of Werribee Park, an estate set on 10 acres and built on the riches of an Australian pastoral empire (only 30min drive from Melbourne). Explore the heritage-listed Werribee Mansion, set up a picnic in the beautiful formal gardens or see a kaleidoscope of colour when the 5,000 roses bloom in the Victoria State Rose Garden. Built in the Italianate architecture style, Werribee Mansion boasts 60 rooms in several wings. Take a tour of the mansion, where following extensive restoration, many of the Chirnside family’s items, including clothing, furniture remain on display. Entry fees apply to the Mansion ($7.60 for child/concession; $10.40 for adults). Entry is free to Werribee Park Gardens and Victoria State Rose Garden.
Werribee Park is also home to the luxurious 5-star accommodation at The Mansion Hotel and Spa, one of the grandest hotels in Australia, managed by Lancemore Hotels. You’ll feel a sense of relaxed grandeur from the moment you arrive and you can indulge your senses in luxurious surrounds. Relax over a delicious meal and fine wine at the renowned Joseph’s Restaurant; bask in the attention of an expert spa therapist; or take a wander through the grounds as if they were your own. The Werribee Park precinct also has delicious wine tasting at Shadowfax winery and Werribee Open Range Zoo is also closeby. Prices from $278 per night (including breakfast).
So if your ideal winter getaway involves enjoying a glass of wine by a roaring log fire with nature on your doorstep, we have plenty of options at Parks Victoria. Find more details on camping and accommodation.