Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Weekends away can cost heaps, so a good local choice are Airbnbs. The company Airbnb changes the way you look at travel. It is not just about places, but about people and the costs are way down.
For those not in the know Airbnb is a way of staying cheaply all over the globe.You might be renting a room in someone's house but more generally you are renting an apartment they own or a closed off section of their house with its own entrance.
All options generally bring you into contact with the owners and they are often people who also enjoy travel and meeting fellow travellers. They love their homes (so they tend to be into interior decorating). If they love cooking, they will generally cook you a nice breakfast. It is all about what your hosts feel most passionate about.
Airbnb is based on a review system. You review them a bit like Tripadvisor but they also put a short comment up about you as a guest on the Airbnb system. So the review system works both ways.
One thing valued in the system is clear communications. Generally it is okay to be late in arriving as long as you let them know. This is because they are generally staying home to greet you on arrival. When you book an Airbnb there is a small charge incorporated added onto the top of the cheap cost for cleaning. It means you don't have to do the grand clean-sweeping-Sadie-act when you leave but it is thoughtful to put away anything you have used such as dishes or an extra blanket.
Many owners also supplement your supplies. Perhaps a bottle of local beer, fresh flowers or some bread from the local bakery or some vegetables from their garden. It is of course always polite to acknowledge such kindnesses.
The beauty about Airbnb hosts is that they generally like a chat. This is to your benefit as a traveller as they will tell you the best walks, how to use the local transport, what neighbourhoods to avoid, the best place for coffee and for meals. This saves you heaps of time on research and is a lot more reliable than a hotel concierge who often wants you to eat at the hotel or to get you to take expensive day trips where the hotel gets a cut.
I am about to set off on an overseas trip and with our present exchange rates mean it's a good idea to use Airbnb accommodation. I thought I would get some practice on home turf first. So here were my last two local experiences.
Trentham is a gorgeous country town in country Victoria, not far from Woodend. I stayed at Dianne's. While billed as a room, it was in fact the whole A-frame building as I was sleeping above Dianne's printmaking studio, which had its own kitchen and bathroom. A talented printmaker, Dianne does not use the studio when there are guests staying in the building. It is all yours.
I love Trentham because of the great coffee shops and relaxed local atmosphere. But I went away this time, less as a tourist and more as someone intent on doing to some concentrated writing work. The environment could not have been more conducive. It was lovely, quiet and relaxing.
Dianne is a wonderful homemaker. The huge bed was so comfy with Egyptian cotton sheets and a soft plumped up doona and the studio had a glorious log fire that Dianne kindly lit for me each night.
Circular staircase leading up to the bedrooms (there are two double rooms here)
How nice to come home, when it was getting dark, to find a roaring fire. One night she even left me a warming, nourishing bowl of soup made with vegetables from her garden. She also left me sourdough bread, fresh eggs, milk and butter so I certainly didn't starve. I really appreciated the "real" coffee, for the morning plunger and the great selection of Twinings teas.
The A-frame space is just gorgeous. The bedroom is enormous and there is this amazing internal circular staircase leading up to your refuge. Because this special building is an artist's space there are so many interesting objects to feast your eyes on. The allure is in the colour scheme and the rich fabrics used for the cushions and rugs and the many interesting objects, books and artwork that adorn the space. Even the soaps looked and smelt divine.
Great possie in the sun to read a book. Fabulous colours and textures.
While your space is private, Dianne is just across the courtyard, so it is nice to feel you also have company close at hand if needed.
Dianne also has a character of a dog called "Lottie" who loves a pat and looks at you with large winsome eyes. For the Airbnb link to this property click here. For the $50 off introductory offer off for new Airbnb users, click here.
As for things to do in town. Trentham is increasingly closed Monday to Thursday, especially in winter, so if you wish to visit the quaint vintage shops and foodie haunts it is better to go later in the week. Although, that said, earlier in the week there are some good "locals nights'" at pubs/restaurants for cheap meals. This also occurs in other towns in the region such as Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Take time out for coffee an cake at The Collective.
On the weekends make sure to go to the Radio Springs Hotel (you can walk there along the disused railway line from Trentham) for the vintage vibe and live music The Cosmopolitan Hotel is another fine place to unwind with roaring fires or a gorgeous chilled out courtyard for hot days under canopies of foliage.
View of the Cosmpolitian outside eating area. Lovely in summer.
The whole town is friendly but Dianne and Lottie perhaps the friendliest of all. For more information click here.
McCrae - Annie's Place.
Annie describes her place on the Mornington Peninsula as hippie-chic. Intrigued I went along. The inside is as beautiful as the photos but amazingly this great decorating has all been done on a shoestring. Annie is a talented op shopper and avid collector with a wonderful eye for decorating. The room is large with a comfortable queen size bed. There are polished wooden floors, fabulous rugs and velvet retro couches as well as a country style kitchen. The walls are decorated with unique prints and old maps. There is a cute bathroom with shades of Art Deco about it. As well as your room, you also have the run of the sunroom where there is a small lounge and a table with fresh flowers. I used it as a desk and it was a lovely place to work looking out at the garden. Outside there is a wide verandah where you can sit on sunny days.
Annie leaves a great selection of DVDs and books for you to read as well as provisions such as tea and toast. You can walk to the beach and the supermarket is also walkable. One of the advantages of staying at Annie's is that it is only 15 minute drive from the famous Hot Springs. I got up early a couple of mornings (well, early for me) and went to the hot water exercise classes which I loved and wrote about here.
As an Airbnb host, Annie is friendly and loves a chat. She has a great dog, Rocket, who loves a pat. I think all these Airbnbs are turning me into an avid dog lover. To find out more about Annie's click here. . For the $50 discount link (available to those new to Airbnb), click here.
Most tourist attractions on the Peninsula are well known but two new ones for me this time around were Made in Japan, a Japanese goods outlet in a light industrial estate in Mornington. There you can buy beautiful kimonos and ceramic bowls quite cheaply. Take a look at some of the gorgeous offerings below.
Johnny Ripes (purveyors of fine apple pies) has sadly closed down as a restaurant (not because of lack of customers but because of too many) but thankfully they still have a shop front and you can stock up on fantastic meals to fill the freezer with when you get back home.
Another unusual outing is to the tip shop. Yes, that's right. A huge shop that sells stuff destined for the tip and there are some great finds. Annie, if you ever read this article, the decorator in you is going to love it.
You never know what you will find at the Tip Shop
Do you have some suggestions for staying in Airbnbs either home or overseas? Use the comment box below for your suggestions.
Available in the little framing shop in McCrae across from the beach.
A Great Airbnb in Milan is â€śOpen Space Corso Comoâ€ť an artists studio right on the Corso Como , 10 minutes walk from Garibaldi Station.
Great host , a fridge full of lovely supplies & surprises . You can walk to the Duomo .
Thank you for your info on Trenthem which had snow when I was there in 2016.