Your JUCY guide to the quirkiest accommodation in NSW!
You’re cool enough to rent a JUCY vehicle, so it’s unlikely you’re the kind of person that enjoys a bland hotel after a day of exploring. No thanks to a room where you could be anywhere in the world, right?
We thought so. That’s why we’ve pulled together our favourite quirky accommodation options for your road trip adventures out of Sydney. It’s irrelevant why you might want to experience these distinct lodging options – whether you’re travelling by car or you are simply willing to give up a night in your JUCY camper to experience them. The end result is the same. These eight places have to be seen to be believed! Or snoozed in to be believed? Whatever! Check them out below:
Boo! The Monte Cristo Historic Homestead
Legend has it that New South Wales is Australia’s most haunted state, so as an adventurer, you’ll probably want to check that out for yourself. Well, we have just the place!
If you’re in the most haunted state, obvs you need to sleep in the most haunted house! Monte Cristo Historic Homestead was built in 1876, and its grand mansion exterior seems to tap into your expectations of a haunted home automatically. Alongside the stately building, the antique décor and chilling vibes support this sensation of spookiness. As too, do the ghost tours that reveal the horrors that went down here. These ghosts have stories, and they’re certainly talking!
If you’re not brave enough to spend the night here, you can attend a ghost tour only and find a more relaxing place to stay nearby. The Monte Cristo Historic Homestead is four hours out of Sydney, close to Wagga Wagga.
If you’re a sucker for punishment, detour to Monte Cristo via Picton, an hour out of Sydney. The whole town is said to be haunted. Pass the Mushroom Tunnel here for a chance to see a faceless ghost. Yup!
Are you game?
Really Down Under: the White Cliffs Underground Motel
There’s Down Under, and there’s down under Down Under when you sleep at the White Cliffs Underground Motel. Built almost entirely by hand, the 30 dugouts (aka rooms) at the White Cliffs offer a unique opportunity to experience a different kind of stay.
The White Cliffs Underground Motel is literally and figuratively cool. Well, in summer anyway when the caves keep out the harsh outback sun. In winter, the warmth is kept in, too. While the pleasure in a stay here is experiencing a night or two in your own personal cave, above-ground, the stargazing is phenomenal.
While staying at the White Cliffs Underground Motel, you’ll follow a compulsory digital detox, as mobile reception is non-existent underground. The break will be good for your brain, so they say!
A stay here is a reminder of the size of NSW; it’s not quick day trip location as its 12 hours from central Sydney. However, as part of an outback NSW roadie, or along the drive to Uluru, it’s a worthy itinerary add-on.
Add some sparkle: the Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat
For a romantic nature-based getaway, the Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat provides the perfect balance of charm, luxury, and privacy. If you’re looking to surprise that special someone (hint, hint), then this is a stunning spot to do that in.
Formerly a banana plantation, Crystal Creek is in the Tweed Valley, with three sides of the property enveloped by the Numibah Nature Reserve and Springbrook National Park. A stay here is an outstanding way to connect with yourself, your plus one, and Mother Nature.
At Crystal Creek, you have a choice of five accommodation types for your (minimum) 2-night stay. Within the property, you can also experience self-guided walking tracks, bike rides, couples massage, and – our fave – glowworms! Naturally occurring at Crystal Creek, we think the glowworms hang out here, knowing the property is a super-duper spot for some wooing! And what better way to be romanced than with nature providing the sparkles!
Given that the resort capitalises on its natural surroundings, it’s heart-warming to note their commitment to sustainability and protecting the habitat around them. You’ll certainly see the rewards as you indulge at this spectacular resort.
A brief history: 1830s barn with sauna
For a little snippet of history, we love this 1830s barn studio with sauna found on Airbnb. Halfway between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, this unique barn stay is in one of Windsor’s oldest buildings. It’s been modernised for comfort, of course, and even includes a private sauna. It’s compact and tasteful; it’s kinda like the original tiny home!
Rates for the barn are very affordable, so you can immerse yourself in historic Windsor, no matter your budget. Only an hour from Sydney, Windsor is famous for being Australia’s third-oldest colonial settlement. The town boasts heritage walks, river cruises, and a buzzing arts scene.
As the barn is close to Windsor’s centre, you get to park up your JUCY vehicle for the night and enjoy a cold one at Australia’s oldest pub, or a meal in a converted church. Your evening entertainment is relaxing in the private sauna or shared hot tub (perfect if you’re visiting in the cooler months)!
Follow the light: Montague Island Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage
You know it’s a room with a view when you’re staying in a former lighthouse keeper’s cottage on a remote island! Thankfully, your visit to the Montague Island Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage is without the toil and sacrifice the keeper would have experienced back in 1881.
Grab your buddies as you take your choice of two cottages in this national park-run accommodation. Stay in the head lighthouse keeper’s 5-bedroom former abode, or go for the smaller 3-bedroom assistant lighthouse keeper’s digs. Either way, the prime location, where whales passing are not uncommon and the diligently restored cottages make for an incredible night or two off from the ‘real world’.
You also get a guide who gives you the low-down on the island – and it’s awesome penguin breeding efforts – on a 2.5 hours tour. If you visit in winter, you can watch the penguins and seals in action. Whales are usually spotted between May and November.
Rates here include the entire cottage, along with boat transfers from Narooma Wharf (parking available) and your island tour. Optional extras once on Montague Island include seal diving trips and fishing charters. Or walk the island trail. Other than that, BYO provisions; we recommend you take advantage of the barbecue at the cottages.
A pocket full of bliss: the Treepod
If you’re heading on a northbound adventure from Sydney, a little detour to a treehouse might be in order, no? Close to the Byron Bay Hinterland, Airbnb hosts Robin and Jacqueline offer three très cool – nay, trees cool – properties.
Located in the Pocket (the coolest name for a village we’ve heard in a while), the Treepod, Kyoto Mountain Lodge and The Den all offer the tranquillity of an off-grid stay without having to rough it. If you’re not into calming views of national park rainforests and showering from a giant tree trunk, this may not be the stay for you! If you are down for valley and ocean views, plus plenty of moments that are highly Instagrammable (and often romantic), then consider this a pocket full of sunshine on your JUCY roadie adventure.
Your Pocket stay commences before you even reach these rustic charmers, with your hosts meeting you at a nearby car park and transporting you by 4WD. The transfer is included, as is breakfast, plus high-speed WiFi. While that means you’re only off-grid if you choose to switch your devices off, we highly recommend you give it a go here.
If you’re travelling with a crew in one of our 8 Seater vans, book the Kyoto Mountain Lodge (sleeps 5) and either The Den or Treepod (both sleep 3).
In the red: Carriage Way
You’ve chosen to travel by car around Australia -that’s why you rented a JUCY - but how about mixing it up a little by sleeping on a historic train? In rural Dungog Shire, three hours north of Sydney, Carriage Way offers renovated rooms aboard a restored ‘Red Rattler’ train.
For over six decades, the brick-red carriages of these New South Wales trains were renowned for their rackety-clattering as they transported passengers around the state. Hence the nickname.
Now restored with an art-deco décor, it’s possible to rent one of two ‘Red Rattlers’. Choose from either a six- or four-bed carriage to get a sense of history, without the bone-shaking rattle-and-roll of a night aboard these famously noisy trains. Ideal, if you ask us!
A kitchenette means you can cook up a meal more inspiring than many train buffets, and there is a lounge and screened private verandah to dine at.
If you feel you’d like something more important, be the boss when you book the station master’s old cottage. Carriage Way is in Dungog, 3-hours north of Sydney towards the idyllic Barrington Tops National Park. Around the area, there are hiking trails, heritage buildings, and a thriving arts scene.
Wild for the night: Jamala Wildlife Lodge
For animal lovers and wanderers alike, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge is an exciting and unique accommodation option. Why? Because you get to sleep in the zoo, that’s why! Your inner child is screaming ‘let’s go’!
It’s not that you’re simply in the zoo, though. The 18 deluxe suites all overlook varying enclosures, giving you unrivalled insight into the creature that calls Jamala home. Watch lemurs at uShaka Lodge or feed a giraffe from the Giraffe Treehouse. Or – the ultimate – be separated in your room from lions, cheetahs, or tigers by only a glass wall. Imagine being woken by a lion roaring in his habitat next door! Much better than the usual snoring!
The price for an overnight stay includes a snooze with your zoo-mates (like flatmates, only waaaaay better) in your stylish room. Plus, all delectable meals and beverages are included, as well as two exclusive zoo tours.
While not in NSW itself, Jamala is only three hours out of Sydney into ACT, making it an ideal roadie destination and one we can’t miss because of a state border! C’mon, where else do you get to sleep in a zoo?
If you decide to head to these amazingly cool and distinctly quirky properties, tag us #jucyworld. We’d love to double tap your adventurousness (especially if you’re staying at the Monte Cristo!)