When I saw a little mushroom house on Solscape Eco Retreat’s website I knew that was where I wanted to stay. What I call a mushroom house is actually an earth dome. Solscape has two earth domes, both were built by hand using materials including earthbags, lime plaster, barbed wire and bottles.
We booked the large earth dome which has the added extra of a mezzanine floor – useful for stowing luggage or better still, lying back on the cushions and getting lost in a good book. Part of Solscape’s philosophy is to reuse and recycle – old bottles add colour to the earth dome interior and are used as insulation in the floor.
The large earth dome is simply furnished which I think enhances its appeal, the simple interior design seems in harmony with the unprocessed materials used in its construction. Both earth domes have power, but they’re not self contained, a basic bathroom is a few steps away, and a kitchen is a short walk away. If you stay during the summer season The Conscious Kitchen should be open and making use of the produce in the permaculture garden. The coffee machine was active the morning of our departure – this is the view you can have with your morning coffee …
Whatever your budget or accommodation preference you can experience Solscape’s magic. Solscape is affiliated to the YHA and BBH chains and at the budget end of the price range are tent and campervan sites(from $17pp), and beds in a shared caboose. Those who like unusual accommodation can stay in a tipi (December-April), earth dome or private caboose. If you prefer self contained lodgings with a few more mod cons there’s the Overlander, or one of four self contained baches/cottages. If you’re a surfer or aspire to be, check out the Solsurfer options.
Why is Solscape magical? Aside from the neat accommodation, it’s the view over the Tasman Sea, the night sky bursting with stars, plentiful bird life and the mountain spring you pass on the bush walk to the tipi retreat. We only stayed one night so it was a short and sweet experience, but it got me thinking more about sustainable living, and one day I might start saving bottles because I wouldn’t mind a mushroom house in my backyard.