Outdoor bathtubs are having a moment in Australia. The ‘outdoor bath’ hashtag is up to 33,063 posts and counting and the ‘outdoortub’ hashtag isn’t doing too badly itself, currently holding 4,690 Instagram photos to its name.
Though these hashtags are international, scroll through them and plenty, you’ll see, were taken down under. There is also a burgeoning trend of Australian Airbnb’s having their very own Instagram pages (with names like @that_special_spot).
That’s before we dive properly into Airbnb: after spending hours scrolling through the accommodation booking platform and noticing outdoor baths everywhere from Byron Bay to Tasmania, we thought we’d talk to someone in the know.
We interviewed Susie Aulich who, along with husband Gordan Cuff, owns an eco-luxe recycled shipping container Airbnb in Lilydale, Tasmania. Susie told us: “Outdoor baths are getting more common now. When we first started it was really unusual.”
“We bought our property years ago and it is totally off-grid,” Susie added. “It just had a house on it and a small meditation studio, so we renovated the meditation studio and rented that out and essentially started our own accommodation business because all our friends wanted to come and stay.”
Things took off from there, with Susie and Gordan next purchasing an old shipping container and converting that too. The result? The Container.
Image: Airbnb. This “closed loop” system has its own hydro system run by a creek, which gives it unlimited power (backed up with solar). They also plant a 100 trees a year to offset the carbon of tourists flying in.
Not only is the place bouncing with environmental credentials (“we’re totally off-grid – generate all our own electricity”) but it has one of those coveted bathtubs. It’s not a nue age Instagram gimmick though. They’ve had it for about 45 years.
Susie, who is a registered tourism operator as well as an Airbnb host, told DMARGE, “We’re old hippies.” So even though the container (and its bathtub) does have an Instagram presence, it was not designed with that in mind.
“For us it is an experience – we’ve never advertised.”
Though they sometimes give nights away to fundraisers for charitable causes, for Susie and Gordan it’s all about word of mouth.
As for the bath, Susie told DMARGE, “It’s pretty good – great when the sun sets. It faces west so you get these technicolour sunsets and that’s a pretty nice place to be. Our water isn’t treated with chlorine or fluride or anything like that so you’re getting a really natural experience, which I think is pretty special.”
“People certainly love taking photos and they do put them online.”
“If you give guests a great experience everyone wants to share that – everyone wants a true story of a wonderful experience and if you’re continually giving that to your guests then they give back to you.”
“We’re running on a return guest percentage of 45%.”
“I think it’s a pretty good bath. You’re under the stars; you don’t see anything else but this amazing view. It’s a pretty good spot to hang.”