Celebrities are flocking to this tiny Aussie shack

But we do get around the nomadic group and find our landing spot, a candy-pink ’50s gem livening up a remote coastal strip on Narungga traditional lands. This funky old shack is fast becoming the talk of the small nearby town of Maitland as it attracts a roll call of both Aussie and international celebrities, who come as they are to take a load off.

Local legend now has it that Love & Mutiny’s affable neighbour, who we met on the first evening of our stay as he took his two obedient felines for their nightly stroll along the beach (yes, you read that right), was delighted to be on hand to help one big-name film star when his Mini broke down mid-holiday.

Love & Mutiny's artful interior. Picture: Hannah Puechmarin / Tourism SA
Love & Mutiny’s artful interior. Picture: Hannah Puechmarin / Tourism SA

The neighbouring characters are all part of the mix of magic ingredients that make Love & Mutiny: a dash of nostalgia, splashes of startling colour and a measured dose of surprise quirkiness that, together, cast a spell. A lot of love and a little mutiny, I suppose.

I arrive with my partner and our six-month-old baby and a vision of exploring the beach and surrounding areas. Spoiler alert: we do nothing of the sort and spend our time just moseying around the shack itself, sprawling out on one of the generous window seats or enjoying the luminous sunrise (owing to said six-month-old) and sunset from sun loungers on the deck.

Turns out we’re not the only ones who fail on the activity side.

“I think it’s the thing we hear most after people visit,” says Sarah Hall, one half of the design duo Read & Hall, the sisters behind Love & Mutiny. “They say ‘We just ended up staying in the shack, gave up our plans and just rested’ and we love that!”

“What we most wanted for this place was that it would be generous and comfortable – a barefoot and messy vibe that might act as an invitation to go deeper into just living,” Emma Read, the other sister, continues. “To provide the rest that might help unlock some of the creativity we all innately have because it takes time to let yourself go there.”

One of the bedrooms at Love & Mutiny. Picture: Hannah Puechmarin / Tourism SA
One of the bedrooms at Love & Mutiny. Picture: Hannah Puechmarin / Tourism SA

It’s the easy way the sisters pepper their sentences with mentions of creativity that shows how central it was to the evolution of Love & Mutiny. The place is so artfully pulled together that the effect is relaxed. The colours are vibrant enough in places to arrest the senses and yet each shade is chosen with such sensibility that it becomes restful at particular times of the day, something you likely wouldn’t expect of floors painted in clover green or heady marigold window frames and bed heads.

An absinthe cocktail-making kit sits invitingly below a collection of tarot and fortune-telling cards and a palm-reading guide, a few more eclectic elements that define this as an experience rather than just a place to stay. A closer look at the reinvention of the shack reveals that everything here has been considered, from a bathroom that deserves a cult following, shaped around its nautically themed porthole windows, to small black accents expertly added throughout fixings to make the old pot-belly fireplace and central truss beam look at home. In fact, the shack is an exercise in circularity, with all pieces for its reimagining salvaged by the sisters and an extra sustainability push in the form of rainwater holding up the supply. Plans for solar panels are in the works.

Maybe the thing that has me most fascinated is the shack’s name and its use around the shack. The upstairs entry features a Love & Mutiny logo, plus the pleasantly loaded statement “All are welcome, at the moment”. Pick the bedroom to the right as you step in and you’re opting for “Love”, brandished in gold saloon lettering on the door. Go for the one to the left and you’re set to rest your head in “Mutiny”, bringing to mind an old Choose Your Own Adventure.

Sun loungers on the beach. Picture: Taylor Kezia / Tourism SA
Sun loungers on the beach. Picture: Taylor Kezia / Tourism SA

In a continuation of this theme, a series of posters and even a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle bearing the Love & Mutiny name, graphically styled and all featuring its signature colours, dress the interiors. We then discover we can buy each of these pieces – souvenirs as stylish as the shack itself.

“We had this memory of all that really old, kitsch touristy stuff you used to be able to buy on trips – you know, glasses, matchbooks, pens and other bits and pieces,” says Sarah. “We wanted to recreate that in a contemporary way, so we collaborated with a really cool local design firm, Super Assembly, and asked them to interpret the name and place into branding and some pieces we could sell if people wanted something beautiful and usable to remember their stay with.”

On our final evening of doing not much, with the baby down for the night, my partner and I settle on our loungers with wines in hand on the deck. I look over as the golden wash of the sunset’s light bathes him and the now blazing pink of the shack. It’s a moment. And it’s so welcome.

ESCAPE ROUTE

Love & Mutiny is on the beachfront at Chinaman Wells, Yorke Peninsula, just over two hours’ drive from Adelaide. You can pick up most provisions nearby at the Maitland supermarket; bring any gourmet needs from the city. Book on Airbnb, from $405 a night.

The writer was a guest of Read & Hall. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author

Ozzie

Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.

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