I hear the sound of the match being lit before I see the reflection of the flame in the glass window behind Lachie. His face illuminates as he lights the gas stove to boil the kettle. The crisp, white cotton sheets of the queen-sized bed I’m lying in feel warm on my skin, acting as a stark contrast to the 0-degree wintery morning we’ve woken to. The air is cold enough to create a misty cloud around my mouth as I breathe.
It’s just before dawn so we’re enveloped in darkness and, although a subtle glow from the east is beginning to light parts of the sky, when I tilt my head back on the pillow and look up I can still see the galaxy of stars we slept under last night. To my left there’s a floor-to-ceiling window with views (in daylight) of the nearby mountain peaks in the Grampians National Park. Through this same window, over the past 24 hours, we have seen kangaroos, kookaburras, an emu and even some deer roam by. The mountain range we’re cocooned in is nothing short of an Australian wildlife playground.
“Shacky fits well in nature,” Lachie says as he slides back between the sheets. He gazes through the window behind our heads to watch the canopy of eucalyptus trees above gently dance in the wind. Waking up before the rest of the world offers an opportunity to be fully present to the stillness, space and silence around and within you.
Escape, explore, experience
Shacky, the solar-powered, humble abode we’re residing in, is one of three tiny houses located across Victoria. Built in 2019, “Shacky was created by a group of likeminded friends looking to find a way to escape and reconnect with nature,” reveals Nicolas Cattle, Shacky’s managing co-founder. “The model is simple: escape the daily grind, explore beautiful parts of Australia and experience a stay in a unique cabin,” he continues.
You’re equipped with the basics at Shacky, with instant hot water for the bathroom and kitchen and a small fridge for supplies to cook up a storm. Outdoor essentials are also covered, from a generous-sized outdoor deck to a camping lantern, fire pit and woollen blanket to wrap around you while warming beside a campfire under the starry sky. And if you’re called to nest indoors, board games and a carefully curated selection of books are housed between minimalist-style cookware in the kitchen.
“Our inspiration for Shacky has always been to use popular Australian materials such as Colorbond roofing and wood cladding while giving our cabins a very unique look and style,” continues Nicolas. The Shacky crew also looked closely at Scandinavian design and Japanese minimalism to create a sleek yet earthy offering that sits nicely in the Australian landscape. Even though we’re just a stone’s throw from the centre of a popular Grampians town, we’re tucked away in a secluded location surrounded by 100 acres of picturesque bushland, beautiful rock formations and forest paths, with the backdrop of the mountains around us home to world-famous hiking trails.
Savouring the moment
A loud whistle from the kitchen drowns the sound of a cackling kookaburra outside and steam starts emanating from the stove. A few moments later I’m cradling a mug of lemongrass and ginger tea in my hands. I watch the steam float from the surface of the water and disappear into the air. I breathe deeply into the cup and smell the citrus, tangy zest of the lemongrass, which melts into the spicy warmth of the ginger. When I take my first sip, a rush of heat follows the tea, journeying from my lips down into my belly. Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh famously once said, “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
My senses begin to awaken: I admire the Zen-like space we’re nestled in, I feel stillness in the air, I taste the flavours of the invigorating tea, I listen to the soothing sounds of birdsong, I feel warmth between my hands and I connect with the serenity of simply just being in Shacky. I’m not just drinking a cup of tea; I am drinking in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch of the entire moment.
The solitude gained from a few days in this tiny house cannot be underestimated. The small fit-out has a surprising amount of breathability that’s reflective of the surrounds we’re soaking up. Feelings of lightness and ease return home with us and are reconnected with in the days and weeks to come. Shacky might be small but it sure is spacious.
The writer was a guest of Shacky. For more information, visit shacky.com.
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