A few years ago, an organisation called Unyoked were starting out and they gave away some overnight stays in some of the cabins they owned. The idea is that people go to these cabins – all located in the middle of nowhere, but still relatively accessible – to get away from technology and regular life and have a bit of a break. (It reminds me of the Japanese concept of forest bathing, though here it’s naturally a bit more scrubby.)
Anyway, I wrote about the stay at the time, and while I enjoyed it there were a couple of things that detracted from the stay. Fast-forward to this year: I received a message from Unyoked asking if I wanted to try another stay to see how things had changed in the intervening period. Being a sucker for the middle of nowhere, I agreed. I figure it’s only fair that I record my thoughts on the stay here as well, as a bunch of people still stumble across this site by searching for cabin details.
First things first: the cabin we stayed in is called Nev, and it’s a couple of hours’ drive from home. If you decide to go to it, you should stop in Rylstone on the way and go to the dumpling place there, because it’s great, and sells chili crisp sauce. Secondly, the views of the place on the website don’t do the actual place justice: it is spectacular, with a bunch of cliffs that provide a real point of drama as the sun sets. The cabin is set on a flat area, and the unfolding view… well.
(Oh yeah, though it’s not related to the cabin itself, I must mention that we almost died on the way to the place. A truck towing a trailer full of cut sandstone blocks lost part of its load, and missing a car-flipping block provided some unexpected adrenaline surges en route. I suppose you don’t technically need a brush with death to appreciate the surrounds, but it certainly helps.)
The cabin was quite similar to the last one we stayed in, though the chemical toilet has been replaced with a sort of contained drop version, and the balcony at the front seemed a lot more solid. There’s also a wickedly effective heater attached, which was very welcome in the frosty evenings we experienced.
The cleanliness level was impeccable this time around – no grubbiness to speak of. There’s a selection of books, and a Bluetooth-enabled cassette deck to play music through. Phone coverage was, as expected, only attainable from one point (near the hammock – there’s a hammock!) but given that disconnecting is the point of the trip, this isn’t a bad thing. (It’s good to know that if you need some help, though, you can make contact with the outside world.
There’s more than enough in the way of cooking and cleaning items to facilitate a swish meal if you’ve a mind to whip up a culinary masterpiece. (We fell back on antipasto and fire-cooked sausage sandwiches for our dinners, which is honestly the A1 choice for a cheeky weekend away.) There’s also some stuff in the fridge if you discover you’ve come out without booze or the like, and you can fix it up afterwards, minibar style.
Nev is a dog-friendly cabin, so we were able to bring Jessie and Albert along for the ride. They delighted in snuffling about, and especially in curling up as we read and did, well, quite a bit of nothing.
Honestly, breaks like these are things I need to take more often. It was Eve’s birthday, so it made a great present: wandering sheep as neighbours, and the feeling that there’s not a lot of demands for your time, other than to eat and relax. This was a supremely satisfying experience, and I can’t find anything really to fault it (other than that the stovetop coffee perc was missing its basket, though that’s hardly a dealbreaker). It was a good reminder of the value of quiet, and though I live in the country and appreciate it, it was helpful to experience a more remote version of the same.
We’re already thinking about our next one. I see they offer cabins like this in both NZ and the UK now, so perhaps that’ll be a goer someday. We’ll see. But if you’re thinking about a trip away from the city, pack an esky and give this one a go: I can recommend it.