Welcome to Serenity at Our Countrywide Cottages

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In this ever changing cycle, sadly we can no longer offer accommodation to you if you are living in Melbourne Metropolitan or the Mitchell Shires until after the restrictions are lifted.  If you have a booking between now and August the 18th, but need to cancel due to the latest COVID-19 regulations, we will provide you with a voucher to the full amount of deposit payment made to be used any time in the next two years.

If you are from the restricted zones, you are most welcome to book a stay sometime after August the 19th, 2020.  Should restrictions continue, or be extended, we will offer our two year vouchers in every instance.   We are happy to take your booking directly with no deposit payment until the time of arrival.  To do this, you will need to call Di on 5288 7399.  The best place to find our live availability is here.   

Of course, if you are from an unaffected area, we have had a number of spots open up lately and we are more than happy to welcome you at any time.

Countrywide Cottages offer 4 star, pet friendly, self-contained cottages.  Choose from our 4 secluded Great Ocean Road accommodation cottages spread over 26 acres of farm and pristine bush land.  Ideally located in country Victoria only 25 minutes north of Lorne and under 2 hours from Melbourne, this is the perfect accommodation on the Great Ocean Road.  One of our cottages provides purpose built wheelchair accessible accommodation Otway Ranges.  Our guests have reviewed us into the Gold List of Australian accommodation providers – now NUMBER ONE in Australia!

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Di and Stuart at Countrywide Cottages

“We love providing a genuinely pet friendly Otways accommodation retreat here at Countrywide Cottages.”

Di Schulze and Stuart Fry, your Countrywide Cottages hosts.

“Taking pet friendly to another level
We really enjoyed staying here immediately after the Covid19 restrictions eased. It is such an easy and safe place to stay. Plenty of space to spend with your fur buddies. The cottages are so clean, private and quiet…” Craig on TripAdvisor June 2020
The Best!
This was our 5th year coming to Countrywide Cottages and it never disappoints… All in all a hassle free holiday for both humans and dog 10/10 for us.” Joanne on TripAdvisor, June 2020

Virtual tour:

FERNY REACH

One of our two bedroom self contained cottages which has a cosy eco feel.

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IGLOO

Self contained cottage with additional value of wheelchair accessibility.

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VILLA

One of our 3 bedroom self contained cottages, the Villa sleeps up to 7 people.

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CANOPY

The Canopy is a beautiful, 3 bedroom self contained cottage which sleeps up to 9.

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Dog friendly holiday accommodation Otway Ranges

Countrywide Cottages  is ideally located for taking a trip along the Great Ocean Road. The inland route takes you to the Otway Fly, Lake Elizabeth or the 12 Apostles, and Lorne is just 25 minutes drive through the beautiful Otways.  A perfect base to explore the fabulous Otway Harvest Trail showcasing the unique wine, beer and produce of the Otways region. Our large property is ideal for long bush walks or mountain biking, bordering the Otway Forest Park. We also have enough room for a campfire outside your cottage on those starry nights and many of our guests have enjoyed toasting marshmallows by the cosy fire.

Exciting Countrywide News

“There is no doubt why you have been voted the Best Pet Friendly Accommodation – I can’t put in words just what a wonderful time we all had and we have been telling all of our pet mad friends too.” Jemima and Mark

Surviving COVID in the Otways

It's been quite a ride hasn't it!  But we are not only surviving COVID in the Otways, we are planning on thriving!  Taking every precaution, we are confident that we are able to provide you with a wonderful spot for a break from the COVID madness here in the gorgeous Otways. Our little place has been a hive of activity over the past ten weeks with Stuart painting everything in…

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FIFTEEN years!

Did you say FIFTEEN years? I cannot believe it.  But yes, it's fifteen years today since I moved into my new home at Countrywide Cottages.  There I was, on the verge of leaving the Canadian Arctic after 5 wonderful years nursing in Pond Inlet when this opportunity came to my attention.  Approved by my lovely sister-in-law and insisted upon by my fabulous accountant, I bought Countrywide Cottages over the phone…

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Shoulda been the Dog Lovers Show 2020

It's a little different from what shoulda been the Dog Lovers Show 2020! It was so sad to have the Dog Lovers Show postponed this year.  We know we have the best dog friendly accommodation in Victoria and we were busting to tell you all about it.  Big call, we know!  But our past guests can't all be wrong.  They kindly gave us a total of 9.9 rating, reviewing us…

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Exclusive Offers & Packages

We are very happy to have worked on our own great specials and these further great deals below with some amazing local folk whose business can make a wonderful addition to your time with us.

Brae Restaurant’s food images here photographed by Colin Page.

Just a few clicks away from serenity

More About Us

Featuring the best of farm stay accommodation here in the fabulous Otways, each of our spacious Countrywide Cottages has 2 or 3 bedrooms sleeping anywhere between 5 – 9 people and are set among the gum trees for a truly relaxing country experience. Fully equipped with modern facilities including entertainment and a well equipped kitchen, the cottages are individually decorated and provide 100% dog friendly accommodation Otways.

Our large property is ideal for long bush walks or mountain biking, bordering the Otway Forest Park. We also have enough room for a campfire outside your cottage on those starry nights, (summer fire restrictions apply), and many of our guests have enjoyed toasting marshmallows by the cosy fire.

Kids love our animals. While staying in our pet friendly accommodation, they are welcome to come up and visit our array of critters – the alpacas, sheep and chickens. Eggs are finders’ keepers!

One of our hidden treasures is our recreation area with its pioneer buildings. Built in a rustic style, it offers a pool table and other games, and ample space for a kick of the footy. It’s also a great place for groups staying in our Countrywide Cottages to come together and have a barbeque, with a gas BBQ and undercover and outdoor seating.

Add an extra zing to your break away with one of our great new packages. “Sleep and Smile” with us and have our wonderful partners, Ragamuffin Pet Photography come and capture you and your dog on film. “Sleep and Seek” the elusive platypus at Lake Elizabeth with our partners at Otway Eco Tours.  Or try our “Dogustation menu” package – bring your dog along and use Countrywide Cottages as your base for the dining experience of a lifetime at the world renowned Brae Restuarant.

“We’ve travelled the world a number of times and have stayed at many four and five star hotels.
Your cottages were one of the cleanest and homely places we’ve had the pleasure to stay at.”

Marina

Discover Countrywide Cottages

Popular Questions

We know that these are different times!  If you or one of your party are sick or if you or one of your party has had contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, in accordance with government regulations, we ask that you DO NOT VISIT.  Please be in touch with us as soon as you are aware of the situation and we will provide you with a penalty free cancellation.  Our policy during the situation of COVID-19 is to give you a voucher for the deposit/monies paid to be used sometime over the following 2 years.

Please see our blog for more details of our COVID-19 policy.

During COVID-19, we are placing notes with key and visitor information outside on the board next to the door of Reception.  Hand sanitizer is in place there for your use.  As we live on site at our Lorne self contained cottages, we are almost always able to greet our guests personally at reception. Now that things are a little different, if we are here, we would pop our heads out to say hello and answer any questions you may have.  Don’t worry – we’ll keep our distance.

For reassurance about our COVID practices, read more here.

There are many fabulous places with restricted opening hours around the Otway Harvest Trail.  You’ll see an up to date list of businesses open on their site here.  When you arrive, we will have an Otway Harvest Trail brochure for you with an insert indicating the places open.  There are lots of places offering great takeaways and even some dine in options open during the day.  Ever more opening in time.

There are still the gorgeous wonders of the Otways themselves and just hanging here and making the best of your social space!!  You can read more here.

The IGA, butcher and bakery in Winchelsea are still our mainstays for supplies, just ten minutes away.

As we live on site at our Otway Ranges self contained cottages, we are almost always able to greet our guests personally at reception. If we are aware that you are checking in late, we will make sure the lights are on in the cottage and the fire lit in cooler months to make for a cosy arrival. If we are unable to greet you personally, we will leave a detailed note at reception with the key to your cottage and clear instructions as to how to find the cottage.

Children aged 2 and under can stay for free when staying with full paying adults and using existing bedding.

Countrywide Cottages is proud to be a 100% non-smoking accommodation provider. We do however, provide sand boxes on the verandahs of each cottage and at Ned’s Retreat for smokers to use outside buildings.

There is ample free parking around each of the cottages.

We prefer to give you privacy and make a habit of staying away from your cottage during your stay. Guests staying 7 nights or more receive a free weekly service. If you need linen changes for whatever reason, feel free to come up and see us at Reception.

Check in is at 3pm, check out is at 10am.
Early check in and a later check out can be organised by prior arrangement.

Our location is 1205 Winchelsea-Deans Marsh Road in Bambra.  Be careful to include the full street name on your GPS or you may be taken too far towards Lorne.  Your GPS may require you to search “Winchelsea South” rather than Bambra to find us.  We are in a rural/bush setting, 25 minutes drive north from Lorne, and 10 minutes drive south from Winchelsea.

When you enter the property, you will see our house with Reception attached at the end of the drive. We will be there to greet you!

When traveling in the country during fire season, you should always be aware of the fire conditions in your surroundings.  You should download the Vic Emergency App and set a minimum of a 30k radius around Countrywide Cottages, or where ever you plan to be during the day.  This will keep you informed of incidents in the area, provided you have mobile coverage.  (Vodaphone customers receive no service in our region.  Telstra and Optus are better but not always perfect).  It is also a great back up to keep an ear out on 774 which reports incidents when they are known.

While we make every endeavour to be prepared, the staff of Countrywide Cottages DO NOT HAVE EXPERTISE IN THE PREDICTION OR DEFENCE AGAINST BUSH FIRE.

If a fire broke out in the area, IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, we will make our way to each cottage to give our guests clear instructions as to the best action at the given time. If the fire is close and the roads are potentially dangerous, we stick to our plan of having guests come to the house and shelter there with us. There is a comprehensive fire and evacuation policy in each cottage which you should familiarise yourself with upon arrival.  To read it prior to your arrival, click here.

If you smell or see smoke while visiting the Otways, carefully consider your options.  It is best to head in the opposite direction to the fire activity.  DO NOT head towards the coast unless it is the only possible option available to you.

If you are here at Countrywide Cottages when you see or smell smoke, pack your family, dogs, phones, chargers and medications ONLY and come up to the house.  Please don’t waste time by packing your non-essential food and personal items.  We are most likely to be heading to the cottages to let everyone know the best action, as well as getting our house ready for refuge if it is safest to do so.  The safest action MAY be to leave.  If so, unless the fire is coming from the north, we would tell you to head that way – ie turn right out of our driveway, and head to the highway in Winchelsea and then to Geelong or Colac, depending where the fire is situated.

In the case of a SEVERE fire rating day:

This means that conditions will be hot and windy.  If a fire starts and takes hold, it may easily become uncontrollable. We strongly recommend that you do not head south to Lorne – the roads in and out are minimal and will already be very busy during summer.  If you wish to spend the hot day at the beach, we recommend Whites beach in Torquay and between Rocky Point and Jan Juc.  To see these on a map, and for more information on Dog Regulations in the Surfcoast click here.   We would avoid going further west along the Great Ocean Road, as there are a lot of folks that far down the coast who will on that road with you if an emergency comes up.

There’s also Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsular….click here for some great options for you and your dogs to hang out in.

You could also head towards Colac where dogs are permitted on leash in the Colac Botanical Gardens, along the Lake Colac Walk and even out to the West Barwon Reservoir which offers many easy and shaded walks.  Click here for pet friendly guide in the Otways.

In the case of an EXTREME fire rating day:

This is just one level down from that on Black Saturday in 2009 and means that conditions will be extremely hot, dry and windy.  If a fire starts and takes hold, it will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving.

Please take this very seriously, as we do.  It’s a great day to plan to be out of the danger zone.  For your safety, part of our fire plan is that our guests GO OUT FOR THE DAY.  Take your dogs with you, as well as phone chargers, medications etc.  If a fire is in the area, we can not protect you or the cottages, as well as ourselves and our home.  While you are out, keep an ear out on 774 radio for alerts to fire in the area.  If you haven’t already, please download the Vic Emergency App and set a zone of 30k’s around Winchelsea South.  This will notify you if any fires are in the area (provided that you have mobile coverage – see note above).

See above for recommendations as to where to spend the hot day with your family and dog/s.

Provided conditions ease and there is no fire in the area, it would be safe to return later in the day – however, please DO NOT return to Countrywide Cottages without contacting us first.

In the case of a CODE RED day:

WE WILL EVACUATE THE PROPERTY THE NIGHT BEFORE.  WE EXPECT OUR GUESTS TO DO THE SAME

If this means an end to your holiday with us, we are very sorry – we would prefer you to be safe than put in a highly dangerous position.   We will negotiate with you for a holiday to be taken at another time.

As with many country areas, we have limited mobile and internet reception. Telstra provides some coverage within the cottages, but unfortunately all other providers are not reliable and it is unlikely you will be able to obtain mobile reception. There is very little internet reception on the property. For urgent internet access, we can provide you with assistance in the office.

Yes…please bring along your dogs food. We set up one dog bed per cottage but provide enough dog bowls and treats for each canine guest. We also supply furniture cover sheets for the couch potatoes so that everyone can fully enjoy our amazing Victoria dog friendly accommodation.

If you have any other queries? Please don’t hesitate to contact Di at Countrywide Cottages Surf Coast! She will be able to help you with any of your questions or concerns!