Top 5 Remote Cabins in Australia and New Zealand

Words by Jackson Hides
Architecture by Branch Studio Architects, Taylor and Hinds Architects, JAWS Architects, Fearon Hay & Crosson Architects
Photography by Peter Clarke, Adam Gibson, Simon Wilson & Jackie Meiring

In the wake of the current social climate, it is entirely prudent for people to question the way in which we have collectively approached 21st century living, particularly in our densely populated capital cities. There is, however, an alternative to the hustle and bustle and relatively crammed living arrangements.

Both Australia and New Zealand are fortunate to enjoy some of the most breathtaking and unique landscapes on Earth, and this fact has not been lost on the local architecture and design community, nor its clients. Slowly but surely, an impressive series of remote cabins has emerged across the more remote parts of our states, territories and provinces, proving that the size of a building matters little when there are such vast natural resources on its doorstep.

These are our Top 5 remote cabins, where we would comfortably and gladly wait out any isolation period:

Balnarring Retreat by Branch Studio Architects offers an inherently adaptable space with hidden joinery and folding elements throughout its interior. The pragmatics of the remote cabin are pale, however, in comparison to the sense of immersion enjoyed by sitting outside and relaxing to the sound of frogs croaking in the lake as the sun sets.

A series of humble, timber-clad remote cabins, Denison Rivulet by Taylor and Hinds Architects is a response to the nature of interiority in architecture, and questions how a building sits in the context of a wider landscape. It is at once a purposeful and sophisticated approach to the traditional Tasmanian shack, encouraging room making whilst all the while enjoying beautiful coastal views.

Set atop the picturesque Lake St Clair, Pumphouse Point by JAWS Architects is perhaps one of the better-known examples of a destination remote cabin built in recent years. Resting on a World Heritage Listed site in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, it features expansive views of the Pumphouse and lake beyond, with immersive bathing experiences also available through either indoor or outdoor tubs.

Alpine Terrace by Fearon Hay is a series of simple structures that form one abode or remote cabin, set against a backdrop that is staggeringly beautiful and wild in equal parts. Overlooking the majestic mountain ranges of the Wakatipu Basin, a palette of timber, steel, metal and stone is entrusted with protecting this humble building from the extremes of the landscape. It is, however, a house that encourages rest and sanctuary against the most sculptural of terrains.

Perhaps the most pragmatic of remote cabins, Crosson Architects’ Hut on Sleds is a moveable structure that can be relocated inland or across the beach, as needed. A series of sleeping and living zones across dual levels ensures it comfortably houses a family of five, whilst inspiration for the design was taken from a traditional surf lifesaving tower.