I’m a big fan of Airbnb, don’t get me wrong, but I’m also very impatient when it comes to sifting through properties in order to find the good stuff. I’m rarely looking for a convenient apartment stay or basic shelter for the night – if I’m going away you know I’m wanting to make it count, you know?
Now, apologies if you’ve already heard of the Aussie travel startup – it’s been around since 2014, after all – but I’ve only recently discovered the booking platform after someone tagged me in one of their Instagram photos. Let me tell you, the discovery is a real game changer walking into the Christmas break.
Designed to help you unplug from the daily grind, you won’t find any properties smack bang in the middle of the city. Rather, you’ll stumble upon farms, barns, tiny houses, trailers, converted buses and trains, tents, floating houses – all designed to help you disconnect from the stresses you face on the daily.
Basically, it’s like Airbnb or Booking.com or whatever you use, but curated to all the unique stuff – usually out in the sticks.
Currently only available in New South Wales and Victoria, the platform encourages exploration of your own backyard in a relaxed, slowed-down manner that’ll help you recharge.
It’s about discovery and adventure, without being ignorant to the fact that we want to blast that concept all over our social media channels. Contradictory, sure, but this is the world we live in now.
“People are social beings at the end of the day, so consuming content from each other is natural, hence why we are consuming travel content via social media,” Riparide Founder, Marlon Law, tells PEDESTRIAN.TV.
There’s also a focus on itinerary without there being a focus on itinerary – I realise that makes little sense so allow me to explain. Rather than dedicating the concept solely on the accommodation itself, Riparide offers ‘escapes’ with curated adventure stories, inspired by the community of storytellers who have lived and breathed the experience before you. Law says this is paramount to Riparide’s business mission.
“People spend a great deal of time attempting to visualise their trip before departure, so the stories shared by other travellers help inspire others when planning their next escape,” Law explains.
Of course it’s all suggestions and guidance, should you want to take them on board.
And while the accommodation platform is pointed at domestic travellers, it’s also the perfect opportunity to show any international visitors a truer side of Australia aside from the tourist hotspots which all tend to be right in the thick of it. I took a German visitor to Sunny Hills Farm on NSW’s South Coast, for example, and he still credits the isolated first night as his highlight throughout the two-week trip.
We literally chilled on the deck with a bottle of wine and watched the sun set over Lake Conjola, fell asleep to the cows’ moos, woke up to the rooster’s crow, took the kayaks out for a spin and then explored the many beaches of the South Coast. Sounds minimal, but isn’t that the beauty of it? Meanwhile, someone who stayed before me, Zac, fit a Mollymook sunrise and a visit to the Flour Salt Water Bakery in (you can read his story here) – it’s up to you what you want to take on board, add, or pass on.
With Jetstar’s strikes and my general distaste towards domestic flights, these short escapes are exactly what I needed on my radar as we enter forced leave. Whether it’s to digitally detox and realign with what’s important to you or to sink a few bevvies around the bonfire with the crew, you can’t deny that getting away from the rat race can help you do both as god intended.