Trams, barns and kombis: Converted Aussie stays

In Short Breaks by The H4C Team

Here at H4C, we’re all about amazing accommodation. Give us a romantic place to stay in a sensational destination and we’re happy campers (especially if it’s a glamping site!). So when we come across crazy-cool hotels that once were something entirely different, we get pretty excited to share them with you. From converted trams to renovated breweries, these special stays will add a little adventure to your next getaway…

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Camp Kulning – sourced via

A nostalgic converted tram – Camp Kulning, VIC

It doesn’t exactly scream modern and luxurious, but we’re so in love with this rustic hideaway. Tucked away in Victoria’s Lauriston forest (just over an hour’s drive northwest of Melbourne), Camp Kulning (feature image) is a converted 1920s tram with enchanting nostalgic style. 

Decked out with vintage furniture, an indoor wood fireplace, air conditioning, a veggie patch, hammocks, campfire and barbecue area, and all the essentials, this Insta-ready retreat has plenty to fall in love with. There’s even a super-cute retro tiki bar for cocktails and relaxing. Expect the old-school camp experience here – light a bonfire and snuggle up, surrounded by tranquil forest. Sigh. 

The Old Clare Hotel – sourced via

A sleek renovated brewery – The Old Clare Hotel, NSW

If you’re fans of a cheeky pint (like us) and you’re dreaming of a luxury escape, book yourselves a stay at Sydney’s Old Clare Hotel. Located right in the city’s centre, this sleek 62-room boutique hotel stretches across two heritage-listed buildings – The Clare Hotel pub and the Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building. 

Now home to chic rooms and suites, a glamorous rooftop pool, gym and a range of fabulous dining options, The Old Clare Hotel is perfect for an exciting city escape.  

The Barn at Hill House – sourced via

A trendy transformed barn – The Barn at Hillhouse, QLD

In Noosa’s picture-perfect hinterland (just 10 minutes west of Eumundi), you’ll find a true labour of love. A restored 110-year-old dairy, The Barn at Hillhouse is just oh-so cool. A fantastic mix of rustic barn architecture (think open spaces and exposed beams) and contemporary design, this eclectic hideaway is blessed with sigh-inducing views of the Eerwah Valley and its rolling green hills. 

It’s all about barefoot luxury here. There’s a fully-equipped kitchen, breezy living area with comfy leather couches and slow-burning wood heater, a grand dining area, separate Bath House with semi-outdoor bath, a veggie garden that you’re welcome to help yourselves to, a sun-bathed courtyard, a luxe daybed and an outdoor bonfire area, plus a spacious separate bedroom with Queen-sized canopy bed. Yes, The Barn at Hillhouse was basically made for laid-back getaways.

The Old Bank Hotel – sourced via

A converted old-school bank – The Old Bank Hotel, NSW

Going to the bank sounds like a mind-dulling task, but we’d happily spend days at this one. Located in New South Wales’s breathtaking Southern Highlands (just under two hours southwest of Sydney), The Old Bank Hotel is – as the name suggests – a converted 19th-century bank turned luxury boutique escape. With just five suites and two self-contained cottages, the hotel great for those seeking a little peace and quiet in the countyside. 

Foodies will also be impressed here – the hotel’s Vault dining room serves delicious cuisine made from the freshest local produce. Definitely fit in time, though, for exploring the highlands. You’ll stumble across vineyards, national parks, charming little townships and cafés. How lovely. 

Merino Station at Hedge Farm – sourced via

A renovated railway station – Merino Station at Hedge Farm, VIC

Dating back to the mid 1800s, Hedge Farm in the tiny country town of Carlsruhe (an hour northwest of Melbourne) has plenty to be charmed by. Pack a bag, jump in the car and make your way here for gorgeous scenery, a tranquil vibe and cosy accommodation. 

One stand-out option at Hedge Farm is its Merino Station. An 134-year-old converted railway station, the delightful hideaway boasts conveniences like a designer handmade bath, a large veranda with postcard-perfect country views, a fully-equipped kitchen, a luxe queen-sized bed, blossom-filled gardens and open fires. Hello, romantic getaway…

Coastal Pods Wynyard – sourced via

A retreat made from upcycled shipping containers – Coastal Pods Wynyard, TAS

We’ve seen shipping containers transformed into pop-up bars and market stalls, but they’ve been turned into something completely different and seriously amazing in northwest Tasmania. Upcycled from decommissioned containers, Coastal Pods Wynyard (two hours northwest of Launceston) is a self-contained haven on the banks of the beautiful Inglis River. 

Each pod here has been architecturally designed and lovingly constructed, and feature king-sized beds, a comfortable lounge/dining area, gallery kitchen and reading nook. After a day of roaming around the sleepy coastal town, curl up with a glass (or two) of wine together at the outdoor open fire.

Fire Station Inn – courtesy of Stephanie Horlin-Smith, sourced via

A converted fire station – Fire Station Inn, SA

You wouldn’t think it from the outside, but inside this old-school fire station you’ll find a wonderful place to stay. Home to spa suites and apartment-style accommodation, Fire Station Inn is actually Adelaide’s first fire station.

Dating back to 1866, this eclectic hotel has all the conveniences you’d expect, plus quirky touches like a fireman’s pole and a 1942 fire truck for decoration. A stay here is a little bit like stepping back in time, with some of the city’s most beautiful historic houses also lining the street. 

Berti the Kombi – sourced via

A renovated retro kombi – Berti the Kombi, QLD

If you’re not content to spend your stay in one place, book yourselves Berti the Kombi.Restored in its full retro glory, this eye-catching five-seater camper van is great for couples wanting to get out and see Queensland. 

Though humble in size, Berti is completely self-sufficient – well, she is a (now) modern lady. Equipped with a kitchen, fridge/freezer, television with DVD player and a comfortable lounge/bed, the super-cute kombi has also been decked out with solar panels, a safety camera and reversing mirrors. Pick her up in scenic Tamborine Mountain (45 minutes northwest of the Gold Coast) and head for nearby Brisbane or the Gold Coast for an amazing self-drive holiday. Or, keep things close to Bertie’s home and discover Tamborine Mountain’s sensational national parks and nature reserves. 

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