Our story

So, what is a Dufflebird?

It's a combination of two ideas we had on the journey to creating our business.

Duffle Bag is a symbol of carefree experiences. Packed at the last minute and slung across your shoulders, before heading off in search of exciting adventures.
Short-Flight Bird, doesn’t make a big fuss about going away, and doesn’t take kindly to travelling too far.

Somehow these two concepts got scrambled to create a word and web address that is tricky to explain over the phone. 

Dufflebird. Travel light, fly away and leave the grind behind.

Dufflebird today

In 2020 when the world around us began to change, and our doors were forced to close, we were managing twelve properties. We embraced the time to pause, to ‘look under the hood’ and rediscover exactly what we set out to create and where reality had taken us. We made the decision to pare back our offering, reduce the number of properties we were managing, to focus on ‘doing more with less’. Whilst change can be difficult, our new direction has allowed us to evolve, and spend our days focusing on the parts of the business that truly light us up.

We are passionate about creating a canvas that invites you to have an exceptional, memorable experience and create stories of your own. We are aligned with dedicated owners, who choose to share their homes with our guests - each with something unique to offer, whether it’s the natural surroundings, unrivalled views or the history and stories that they have to tell.

The Dufflebird portfolio is now home to six diverse, regional properties in Victoria which we are incredibly proud to share with you. Liptrap Loft, Otways Loft and Steam Carriage are our Leslie Family properties. We also manage Bookmaker’s Cottage, Shellback and Shearwater Beach House. Visit our Properties, to learn more about the three in the Great Ocean Road hinterland, and three in the Walkerville region, towards Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Our intimate collection of properties have recently been featured online and in print across a number of special publications, we'd love to share them with you here - and hope that you too can experience all that Dufflebird has to offer, very soon.  

The Dufflebird Collection

How Dufflebird came to be

Fleur & Mike's story

When we first met, on a night out 1998, we realised we shared a sideways way of looking at the world. We both gravitated towards one-a-kind things and places. We noticed that it was the quirks in life that kept us wide eyed and beaming.

Years later in 2003, we connected again but this time in Manhattan. Playfully excited, we explored New York with awe and gusto,

weaving through traffic on our push bikes. The collectors of local secrets. Towards the end of that month, closer to dawn than dusk, sitting on the ledge of a third storey Greenwich Village apartment,  legs dangling, speech slurred, voices louder than they needed to be…. We declared that we could live a rich and splendid life together if we stayed “devoted to our inquisitive-ness”. It was there and then that the seeds for our life together, and Dufflebird, were planted. We felt a commitment to feeling alive in daily life, to staying curious and to always keep looking for the secret door. 

A year later, engaged and based in Melbourne, we happened across an unusual ‘Cabin on 5 Acres’ in Walkerville: A true country hideaway. There was something about the place that words just couldn’t describe. It was something beyond the unusual design. Something other than the love and passion for details, that had gone into building it. Something more than having not a single neighbour in sight for as far as the eye could see. This was a heightened feeling we both knew.

Enchanted, we ignored our rational logic, our spreadsheets’ and everyone else's opinion. And the fact that it had been on the market for quite a long time! We put in an offer. It was in the slip-stream of our honeymoon (2005) that the pivotal news landed. We were officially the new owners of the ‘Cabin on 5 Acres’. It was ours. We were overseas, the only guests of a family in the jungle of Costa Rica, in a thousand acres of roadless National Park. The only access was by boat.

Excited with trepidation about the beautiful folly we had bought and the.. mortgage we now needed to cover, we asked our fatherly jungle hosts opinion.

“If this place is an inspiration to you, why wouldn't it be a great place to share? I love living in this forest, but what gives me the most joy is sharing it with like minded people, just like you. Work out a way to attract people who will be inspired by your place

and treasure it. If it is off beat and rustic, like here, then it's not going to appeal to everyone, that is fine. Be playful with the imperfections, the nuances, the quirks. That is the gold that ignites curiosity. When we are curious, time flows, hearts slow. Those are the times we all treasure most, and remember best”. With that, we raised our glasses in a three-way chink.

That moment in the jungle inspired us. A business where we could help people get curious and activate the

energising emotions of travel, a couple of hours from home, without flying to New York, or boating to a national park in Central America. A mid-life career change wasn't something we were looking for, but something that found us on a whim and a folly.

The ‘Cabin on 5 Acres’ morphed into what we share today, as Liptrap Loft. It won a few awards and a lot of hearts along the way.

Some friends saw what we were about, were drawn to our approach and asked us to manage their place nearby. Then another friend. We found a way to bring visitors to unusual places - for a few days of retreat, connection and discovery.

Suddenly, Dufflebird was on its way.

Now, when we get to any of our places, the first thing we do is to read the guestbook, curious to hear guest stories. They are invariably more passionate than the reviews left online. Often the creativity and effort that goes into it is astounding and heart-warming - reading the guest book makes us feel like we have struck a harmonious chord, if just for a few moments. We can feel some guests sharing the same sideways look at the world that we have, giving us a salute or three way chink.