Melrose is the oldest town in the Flinders Ranges and arguably the most picturesque.
Nestled at the foot of Mount Remarkable and its eponymous national park, the town sits in a relatively high rainfall area that seems a world away from the drier coastal plains just an hour west.
Melrose has an attractive vibe and its location and climate make it an ideal base to explore the Southern Flinders Ranges. This is reflected in the number and diversity of places to stay.
Here are a few of the best Melrose accommodation options. There really is something for everyone in this superb little town.
Melrose Caravan & Tourist Park
Melrose Caravan & Tourist Park – sometimes referred to as Melrose Caravan Park – is west of the main street on the banks of Willochra Creek.
The park changed hands in March 2023 and now is operated by Mark and Jules who are in the process of improving guest facilities.
Unpowered campers and caravanners love this park for its beautiful eucalyptus trees and abundant birdlife. It’s also walking distance to playgrounds, mountain bike (MTB) tracks, and the hiking trail that takes you to the summit of Mount Remarkable.
If you’d prefer a roof over your head, Melrose Caravan & Tourist Park offers the following room types.
Deluxe family ensuite cabins
These are modern 2-bedroom cabins with TV, aircon, and full kitchen. There are only four of these in the park, but two of them are connected with an adjoining door for larger groups.
One cabin also offers a pull-out sofa to sleep up to 6, while another offers disabled access. Linen is provided. From $200 per night for 2 persons (maximum 4).
Family ensuite cabins
perfect for families with small children, the family ensuite cabins offer a three-level bunk in the second bedroom. Ensuite, full kitchen, TV, and aircon. From $131 per night for 2 persons (maximum 5).
Double ensuite cabins
Don’t let the name confuse you, these cabins do not have two ensuites. Rather, they offer a double bedroom in one open plan room with attached toilet and shower.
There is TV and aircon too, but somewhat limited kitchen facilities.
Creekside Cabin is an older and more quaint two-bedroom option with the same features as the deluxe family ensuite cabins. One queen bed in the first bedroom, and a single bunk over a queen bed in the second.
From $180 per night for 2 persons (maximum 5).
Family budget cabins
A traditional, no-ensuite cabin with a double bed in the open plan living area and bunks and a single bed in the sole bedroom.
From $95 per night for 2 persons (maximum 5).
Mt. Remarkable Hotel Motel
For a cheap and cheerful stay in Melrose, you can’t go past the Mt. Remarkable Hotel Motel. Each room is air-conditioned with a kettle, TV, ensuite and fridge, while some also offer a dining area and patio with views of the mountain itself.
Guests love the water pressure and hot water here – particularly in the depths of winter – and you can choose a room with either one double bed or two single beds.
Rooms are on the small side, but this won’t bother you over a short stay. Some have also been recently renovated!
Located in the centre of town, the motel-style rooms are just a few steps from the Melrose General Store and Over The Edge bike shop and café.
As you may have guessed, the rooms are next to the heritage-listed Mt. Remarkable Hotel. Have the roast beef for lunch or dinner and choose from their reasonable list of local brews and wines.
North Star Hotel
The North Star Hotel (also known as the North Star Inn) is another country pub in Melrose that offers somewhere to rest your head.
The North Star offers standard boutique hotel accommodation and family rooms with access to a balcony and shared facilities. For a much more unique stay, consider the two cabins which have been built on the back of vintage flat-bed trucks.
Red Truck Room
The so-called “Red Truck Room” is a cabin with wooden décor and floorboards that have seen better days, but to me this adds to the charm. There are also comfy beds in an attractive loft space with fabulous views of Mount Remarkable.
The front of the red truck has been in a collision of some sort – perhaps a tree – and I’m not sure if it was deliberate or an accident! Nevertheless, it makes for an interesting photo!
Quirky Green Truck
The “Quirky Green Truck” is similar to the red truck feature-wise. However, it does offer a small lounge area and sofa for those who desire extra space.
Both trucks have private bathrooms and are air-conditioned, but I’d probably avoid staying in them over the summer months.
Melrose Holiday Units
The highly-rated Melrose Holiday Units comprise six pine log units that are comfortable, self-contained, and set in a tranquil location a block or two back from the main street. Wake up to views of Mount Remarkable or lush green fields that stretch way off to the east.
Each of the units is 2 bedrooms and air-conditioned. While the décor is dated, the units are clean, spacious, comfortable, and come with full kitchens.
The new owner Trevor Howell is almost as highly rated as the rooms themselves and sometimes provides an outdoor fire where travellers can mingle.
Melrose Holiday Units is by far the best value accommodation in Melrose. The rate is just $120 per night (single or double) with any additional persons just $15.
Kookaburra Creek Retreat
Kookaburra Creek Retreat is located about 10 minutes north of the town on the Wilmington Road.
Perfect for nature lovers and hikers, the retreat sits on an 80-acre bush property that has been in the same family since 1977 and adjoins the national park.
Cyclists and mountain bikers will also love Kookaburra Creek Retreat. It’s right next to the newly minted Willowie Forest with its mix of beginner and intermediate MTB trails. But if you prefer something more sedate, try the Wilmington to Melrose rail trail instead.
I love this place because the owners are interested in wildlife conversation and offer a diverse mix of rustic accommodation.
Judith’s Hut is a small, quaint stone hut that is perfect for couples.
Contained within its solid walls are a kitchenette, slow combustion wood heater, queen-size bed, sofa bed, air conditioning, and ensuite. Perhaps most importantly, it features plenty of glass for panoramic bush views.
The rate for Judith’s Hut is $145 per night, with a one-time cleaning fee of $35. The owners ask that you bring your own linen to conserve rainwater, but it can be supplied if required.
The House (Kookaburra House)
The House is a typical 70s or 80s style transportable with timber cladding and large windows to take in views of the garden and surrounding bushland.
The self-contained, 2-bedroom accommodation can sleep up to 10 people and offers a full kitchen, bathroom, and lounge area. Beds are super comfortable.
Outside, enjoy the verandah and fire pit that overlooks the creek line. Larger parties can also book The Workshop (more on that below) and make use of a common undercover BBQ area with furniture and canvas blinds to keep the wind out.
The rate of $175 per night is generous and covers 2 adults and 4 children. Extra adults are $35 each per night, while extra children are $15 each per night. A one-time cleaning fee of $50 also applies.
The Cubby House
Those who rent out The House also have access to the Cubby House, a two-story stone cubby house with a tranquil sitting area on the ground floor and a bedroom with double bunk and balcony up top.
The Cubby House is probably the best accommodation in Melrose for kids and adults who have never quite grown up!
Jarrah stairs with railing made from acacia. A 1500-litre commercial fridge. French doors that lead to a balcony with splendid Eucalypts overhead. A loft bedroom. Pure, white ceilings with exposed trusses. Have I sold you on The Workshop yet?
Guests staying here use an amenities block a very short distance away since there is no ensuite or bathroom in the house itself. But for some, I think the lack of a bathroom will be more than compensated for by the above mentioned features.
The Workshop can be had for $175 per night which includes 2 adults and 2 children. Extra adults are $35 each per night, while extra children are $15 each per night.
A one-time cleaning fee of $50 also applies.
The Bedford Bus
The Bedford Bus is everything it sounds like and more. Creatively furnished with a 50s or 60s vibe, the bus is housed under a shelter that also shelters a well-equipped rustic camp kitchen, table, bench seats, and BBQ.
Access to toilets and showers is approximately 80 metres away, and inside, there’s both a double and single bed.
If you’ve never stayed in a converted bus, it can be all yours for $115 per night for 2 adults and 1 child. Extra adults can be added for $35 per night and do note the $35 cleaning fee.
Kookaburra Creek can accommodate up to 18 guests at a time across this mix of room types. If you’d like to see the bedding situation in more detail, head on over to the booking page of their website and download the floor plan.
One of the great things about Kookaburra Creek is that they preserve privacy and serenity by never overbooking their campsites. They also ask that you leave your generator at home and keep noise to a minimum after 10 pm.
Each site is at least 50 metres from the other, which is heaven if you’ve just come from one of the busier caravan parks up north. Available are 4 group sites (with enough room for 3-4 camps per site) and a couple of single sites.
Equally as impressive is the amenities block for campers. There are disabled facilities, a washing machine, and even an outdoor bath for the kids.
To protect wildlife in the area, pets are not permitted. Linen can be supplied by Kookaburra Creek, but again, they prefer it if you bring your own to conserve rainwater.
Under the Mount
Under the Mount is the best accommodation option in Melrose for mountain bike riders. It was started by passionate mountain bikers Don and Kristen Norton who once visited Melrose and then returned in 2015 to offer purpose-built lodging.
Under the Mount can cater for up to 26 people in a mixture of ensuite and dorm-style rooms with a communal kitchen and laundry as well as a barn-style recreation area.
All these are spotlessly clean, organised, and well-maintained, and guests love the outdoor fire pit surrounded by trees.
Six of the rooms are ensuite, and of those six, four are ideal for a couple or two singles while the other two cater to families. In addition, there are two bunk rooms (sleeping up to 5 each) and one of these offers disabled access.
Ensuite rooms are available for $125 per night for 2 people. Alternatively, pay $165 per night for 2 adults and 2 children.
Note that there’s a 2-night minimum on weekends and school holidays, but during January and February, it is possible to stay for just the night.
For the bunkrooms that sleep five, the charge is $180 per night (or $36 per person). Lower rates can be negotiated for smaller groups.
All linen is provided for both types of accommodation and Under the Mount offers free Tesla charging to guests who stay overnight.
Pets are not allowed.
What makes Under the Mount best for mountain bikers?
Under the Mount has its very own pump track (yes, I had to look it up too) as well as a workshop, wash-down area, and several bike storage areas.
Note that while this place was set up by mountain bikers for mountain bikers, the owners do welcome anyone to book. They’re also happy for others staying in the adjacent caravan park to socialise with their guests on the premises.
Bluey Blundstone’s is named after William ‘Bluey’ Blundstone, a blacksmith who emigrated to Melrose from England in 1865.
Blundstone ran his blacksmith shop for years until his passing in 1908, but some say the ghosts of William and his wife Martha still roam the property today.
The blacksmith shop and its small museum are worth a visit for history buffs – even if you don’t intend to stay at Bluey Blundstone’s itself. Owners Lydia and Luke are happy to show people around the main building with a guided tour.
For those who do want to stay a while, there are three options.
The Loft ($220 per night)
The Loft is a tastefully restored two-level apartment with a mix of period features and modern convenience. Take the spiral staircase to a queen-bed loft space where a cavernous shower affords spectacular views over the garden.
Downstairs offers a living area with a leather and suede lounge, bathroom, and another bedroom (with 2 singles) in the original pug-and-pine structure.
If you stay in The Loft, you’ll also have access to a communal kitchen and dining area with a beautiful open fire for extra ambience (outside of the fire ban season only).
Forget your staples? No matter, the owners provide quality linen, towels, various black and herbal teas and, for the coffee lovers, a Nespresso machine as well as instant coffee.
The Loft is quite spacious – more than the website photos suggest – and I think it would be hard to find Melrose accommodation that oozes more character, class, and history than this place.
The Cottage ($180 per night)
Out of the three choices at Bluey Blundstone’s, The Cottage is my favourite. You only need to look at the red corrugated iron roof, tan-coloured stone, and wall-to-wall windows to fall in love with the cottage.
Set on 0.75 acres of established native garden, The Cottage has its own private access with a similarly private outdoor dining area.
Inside, there’s one queen-sized bed, two toilets (one with an old-school pull chain), separate shower, and a large standalone bathtub as deep as the Mariana Trench. The calming, blue-tiled floor is also something to appreciate.
Guests in The Cottage also have access to the same tea and coffee facilities in addition to the shared kitchen and lounge facilities. Ideal for couples as the space is suitable for 2 persons maximum.
Owner Alan notes that if you’re over 177cm tail, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll bang your head somewhere. You have to love the charm of old buildings!
The Barn ($180 per night)
With one sofa bed, one queen bed, and two single beds upstairs in an open-plan sleeping area, The Barn is perfect for couples, families, and those who are similarly well acquainted.
The Barn is as exactly as it sounds. It’s old, it’s very rustic, and there’s lots of wood and iron. Upstairs, double barn doors open up to a memorable Mount Remarkable view and this is also where the bathroom and shower are located.
Downstairs, enjoy the kitchenette with microwave, toaster, and coffee machine.
Note that The Barn was built in 1864 with the odd low doorway and ceiling. All part of the experience, I say!
Last (but certainly not least) on the list is Wozza’s BnB, a somewhat quirky bed and breakfast set in an old bank built in 1881. Not quite a bank museum, but not quite a hostel either.
Wozza, the owner, is as hospitable as they come. Guests rave about his warmth, friendliness, and attention to detail. Many also appreciate the extremely comfortable beds, the warm fire that is maintained over the winter months, and the thick stone walls that keep noise from other rooms to a minimum.
Wozza’s BNB offers just five rooms with clean, shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. A basic breakfast of toast, cereal, and spreads is provided, and the coffee is pretty decent by all accounts.
Rooms are also appointed with various items of bank paraphernalia in a nod to the building’s history.
Note that Wozza is currently on holiday and is, at the time of writing, accepting bookings from 1 May 2024 to 31 August 2024. Enquire on his Facebook page here.
Final thoughts on Melrose accommodation
Melrose offers a unique and magical blend of comfort, charm and adventure.
Melrose has a lot to offer different types of travellers. Those who need a peaceful escape into nature will love Kookaburra Creek Retreat, while Under the Mount is perfect for those who like to travel on two wheels. History buffs will also enjoy the town’s main street and its various accommodation options.