Makhills Beach House
*Updated 21 July 2019.
Dundee Beach - 1.5 hours from Darwin
Makhills Beach House is one of our favourite weekend getaway pads from Darwin in the "Dry Season". It was originally the vision of a Darwin architect who designed this tropical beach house as his family's weekend getaway pad. It's the kind of place that makes me instantly relax as soon as we drive into the gate. It's no frills and rustic. Staying here reminds me of the good old summer holidays from my childhood when we would rent a simple and basic fibro beach house with another family and all bunk in together - although Makhills is way more funky, with a troppo architect kind of twist!
It's absolutely seen better days, and needs some serious maintenance, and a trip or two to Bunnings to buy replacement appliances is needed. It's such a pity because it has so much potential.
Despite being run down I still love it. beit oozes that chilled laid back troppo vibe and style I love - so it's still on Growing Up Troppo. But, that's just me, it might not be your kind of place.
Why it rocks
This colourful and quirky "architect designed" troppo house encapsulates all that I love about living in the Top End. The water views and sunsets are sensational. It's simple kiddy paradise really - a no TV kind of getaway. There is a beach out front perfect for collecting shells, fishing and rock scrambling. There is lots of space and lawn around the house so we BYO soccer balls and frisbees and the kids bikes. Our kids like making mud pies and getting messy and trying innovative ways to open coconuts. And, we always bring a pack of cards and a few board games to play as well.
There is a great little, but deep plunge pool out front, and you can light a fire at night in the fire pit, kids can roast marshmallows and parents can have a wine or two under the stars.
It's located about an hour and a half drive from Darwin, at Dundee Beach. By Territory standards this is close!
Sleeping arrangements are kind of communal. There is one large room open room upstairs for sleeping. It is divided into 3 sections. There are 2 smaller separate rooms with 3/4 walls and a larger open common sleeping area. So even if you cant see people in the other rooms you can hear everything. One room has a queen and the other has a queen and a bunk bed. In the common area there is a queen, two singles and a bunk.
There is one Bali-style open air bathroom downstairs which is nice enough. But, if you need to go to the loo in the middle of the night you have to go out onto the balcony and through the through the garage or kitchen to get to it.
Downstairs there is a deck and indoor camp-style kitchen downstairs with views to die for. The kitchen has a decent sized fridge a microwave, a basic powerful gas burner, plates, cups and all you need.
The fishing is good, and Dundee Beach and there is a boat ramp close by if you are a boating and fishing kind of family. Dundee Lodge is also close by, where you can grab a meal or drink.
There is a totally run-down and cooky old tennis court at the back of the property which would be fun to use, but would need half a day of leaf blowing and some serious raking before you could use it.
Need to know
There is lots you need to know before staying here!
The first thing is that it's pretty run down and fairly basic. It could definitely do with a paint, some rust removal and maintenance. If you need aircon, your own bathroom and lots of privacy in your bedroom then this isn't the place for you.
Although there is no aircon, there are lots of fans (including noisy industrial style fans) upstairs in the common bedroom area and on the verandah. Being an architect designed trope style house it's been built to capture sea breezes and have air flowing throughout. But, I still don't think I'd want to come here in the build up. It's a dry season getaway for us - i.e., April-September.
It's best to come prepared and BYO torches, candles, mossy repellent, food, milk, beer and wine etc. We bring our own hammock and string it up between the trees. The mossy and sand flies can be fierce depending on the tides.
Re swimming here... OK, so this is croc country and despite the enticing clear blue water, don't be tempted. So it's swimming in the little plunge pool, but be warned if you have crawling bubs and toddlers because there isn't a pool fence.
I think it's pretty expensive for what it is, but accommodation in the Top End in the dry season is expensive and if you have a few families it's actually pretty reasonable.
Making mud pies is a favourite pastime here for our boys!