Last weekend’s adventure took us to a tiny house an hour and a half inland with a drive through the picturesque Scenic Rim, looking lush and green thanks to the rain we’ve had over winter. A quick pit stop at the Canungra pub for lunch, a few dirt roads, and a wrong turn, we arrived at our destination just before the skies opened up for an afternoon shower.
I found the Unyoked cabins by accident, but after a few very busy months with work, it was exactly what we needed.
Unyoked cabins are situated on regional properties within a 1-2 hour drive from Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane – or in our case, the Gold Coast. Deliberately close to major cities, making it easy for city dwellers to escape for a night or a weekend. The tiny house off-grid experiences are designed to help us disconnect from the noise of the city and switch off from our busy lives, even if it’s just for a short stay.
The Unyoked experience
While off-grid and in what feels like the middle of nowhere, I would hardly call this experience roughing it.
The cabin was fitted with a decent size kitchen with a gas stove, fridge, enough utensils for cooking basic meals, and a cupboard full of drinks and provisions available to purchase. The small ensuite-style bathroom housed a composting toilet and a shower with hot water. Downstairs there’s a cosy nook with sweeping views over the property. Upstairs in the bedroom space, they use In Bed linen bedding, memory foam pillows, and a Koala mattress.
There’s also a tiny wood-burning stove inside for those cosy winter evenings and aircon for the warmer months. Much appreciated in Queensland. And at least at the cabin we stayed in, you’ll still have reception. Though there is no TV so, if you want to catch up on your favourite shows, it might be worth bringing a laptop or tablet.
Tiny homes, by nature, are sustainable with their smaller footprint and low-impact design. The Unyoked cabins use recycled or recyclable materials where possible for the build. They run on tank water (so be mindful when showering) and feature a composting toilet.
The soaps and cleaning sprays were in refillable bottles, and a quick peek in the cleaning supply cupboard showed they were eco-friendly. They also ask you to take your rubbish with you. We had a bag for the general waste and recyclables and a small container to take the food scraps home for composting.
Bonus points as the aforementioned In Bed is a linen and bedding brand who have a great reputation for ethical and sustainable manufacturing, as do the mattress and furniture company Koala.
For us, this stay was less about switching off and more about having an adventure close to home where we could bring Charlie. Yes, some of the Unyoked stays are pup-friendly!
Surprisingly our 50kg giant was very much at home in the small space. After border patrols to make sure we were safe, Charlie settled right in and even fit in the little space next to our bed to sleep. I loved that the cabin was rustic enough that we didn’t feel like we had to watch Charlie every second to make sure she didn’t lean on a clean white wall.
The window nook was lovely at night, we curled up and watched the sun go down. I did plan on cooking but after a bottle of wine we ended eating snacks and chocolate which in my mind is a complete meal. There is a town with a Coles and Woolies 15 minutes drive if you do need provisions.
The only downside for me was the bed upstairs, the child in me loved the cubby-house feeling but the grownup did not enjoy the lack of functionality in the space.
The roof is low so you can’t sit up in bed and the only charging port is on the right-hand side halfway down the bed so I copped a bruise to the leg when I bumped into my charger in the middle of the night. The bed was comfortable and I thoroughly enjoyed the soft linen bedding, so overall it was a restful night. It’s worth noting every cabin has its own configuration and not all have the cubby house style loft bedroom if that’s a concern.
We woke with the sun streaming through the bay window to a cacophony of kookaburras, magpies, and lorikeets chattering which was really lovely. Dave got the fire started so we could toast bread for breakfast while I made some coffee. I’m not sure if I was doing it wrong, but by the time the slow drip filled my cup, the coffee was cold so if like me you need a caffeine hit first up, maybe bring your own instant coffee.
Sadly the stay was over all too soon, just as we started relaxing it was time to leave. If it’s available (they’re pretty solidly booked but have a waitlist) stay for two days. It took the first night to start settling into the slower pace and switch off.
Would we do it again? When the new cabins open up in Queensland we’re ready.
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability expert. She started The Green Hub as a blog in 2015, which has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education sites dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable lifestyle.