El Questro Wilderness Park, Kimberley, Western Australia
Luxury Lodges of Australia is a collection of independently owned and operated luxury lodges and camps offering unforgettable experiences in some of Australia’s most inspiring landscapes.
By Sue Gough Henly
From globally acclaimed luxury lodges and character-filled high-end bush camps to private wildlife conservancies and a luxury expedition cruiser, these sustainably-designed luxe accommodations are immersed in Australia's most dramatic landscapes: overlooking the ocean, in the heart of the Outback, tucked into sand dunes, amid ancient rainforests, on islands fringed by World Heritage coral reefs and surrounded by Australia’s finest vineyards. What sets them apart is that they aren't just a place to stay, but a place to connect with genuine Australian experiences. Get up close to wildlife and learn about the Aboriginal connection to country with personalized excursions with professional and passionate guides. Savour the finest local foods and wines, indulge in superb spa treatments and enjoy exquisite accommodation, offering some of the best views on the planet.
Luxury Lodges in Western Australia
EL QUESTRO, THE KIMBERLEY
The luxury of the El Questro Homestead sits in stark contrast to its rugged Kimberley landscape. Perched on a cliff top overlooking the stunning Chamberlain Gorge, the homestead offers accommodation for just 18 guests and tours guided by local experts of the nearly one million acre (4050 square kilometre) private wilderness park. Soak in thermal springs, hike or cruise through gorges or take a scenic flight to the World heritage-listed Bungle Bungle Range in Purnululu National Park.
SAL SALIS, NINGALOO REEF
The sixteen luxurious wilderness tents of Sal Salis are just a few steps away from World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef where you can snorkel with turtles and manta rays and schools of tropical fish. This is also one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks, or humback whales. Hidden among sand dunes, Sal Salis offers a touch of safari style to this remote and beautiful wilderness. Nearby Cape Range National Park abounds with Australian wildlife which you see on guided walks.
TRUE NORTH, THE KIMBERLEY
Experience luxury on the water aboard the 18-cabin adventure cruise ship True North, an unbeatable way to discover the gorges, waterfalls, and ancient Aboriginal rock art of the Kimberley coastline of Australia, as well as ohter remote coastal destinations. There is a full-time, on-board helicopter and six expedition boats for daily adventures,and a 20+ all Australian expert crew who provide unique insights to this remote land. This is activity based cruising, with a maximum of 36 guests, personalised service and superb dining.
CAPE LODGE, MARGARET RIVER
Located on its own vineyard in Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region, the ocean and beaches nearby, Cape Lodge is like staying at a private and sophisticated country estate, with all the facilities of a world class boutique hotel offering the finest food and wine. Enjoy cooking classes and private guided vineyard tours.
LUXURY LODGES IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
BAMURRU PLAINS, MARY RIVER FLOODPLAIN
Bamurru Plains is an exclusive ten bungalow wilderness camp offering guests a touch of "wild bush luxury" on the Mary River floodplain, adjacent to Kakadu National Park. Guided activities for guests include airboat safaris, crocodile-spotting and bird-watching tours, fishing trips, 4WD safaris, helicopter flights and guided tours to the rock art galleries of Arnhem Land. The bungalows are screened so guests are in touch with the sights and sounds of the bush, and can see wildlife right from their bed. Sunset cocktails looking out over the floodplain deliver a very visceral sense of place.
LONGITUDE 131°, ULURU
Located near World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Longitude 131° is a collection of sixteen luxury pavilions overlooking Uluru. The 16 canopied suites have private views of Uluru so guests can enjoy the changing colours of the landscape as the sun rises and sets. Dine in the desert under a glittering canopy of stars and take exclusive guided excursions to discover the authentic Outback and the indigenous culture of the desert people.
Luxury Lodges in South Australia
ARKABA, FLINDERS RANGES
With a backdrop of the Flinders Ranges, Arkaba's 60,000 acre (243 square kilometre) private wildlife conservancy is home to a wide variety of bird and wildlife and a remarkable conservation story. The 1850s Homestead has just five guest rooms, so the real luxury at Arkaba is sharing this spectacular landscape with just a handful of other guests. Take a scenic flight over Wilpena Pound, a guided day or night walk or a safari drive to see wildlife in their habitats in this grand scale ancient landscape.
SOUTHERN OCEAN LODGE, KANGAROO ISLAND
Southern Ocean Lodge is located on Australia's Kangaroo Island, and offers the perfect fusion of nature and luxury. This multi award-winning lodge is regarded among the finest in the world, its 21 luxury suites commanding spectacular views over the Southern Ocean. Savour fine dining on exceptional local produce and an exclusively South Australian wine selection. Enjoy bespoke guided tours of the island’s dramatic wilderness and close-up wildlife encounters, then return for a healing massage at the cliff-top spa using Australian native ingredients and Kangaroo Island mineral salts.
THE LOUISE, BAROSSA VALLEY
The Louise boasts 15 spacious luxuriously appointed suites, each with its own terrace overlooking the surrounding vineyards of the Barossa Valley. The chef's menu at the award-winning restaurant Appellation is designed around the remarkable wines of the Barossa. Enjoy private winemaker introductions, create your own wine blend in a winemaker’s laboratory and breakfast with kangaroos in a local conservation park.
LUXURY LODGES IN QUEENSLAND
LIZARD ISLAND, GREAT BARRIER REEF
Located 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Cairns, Lizard Island is the most exclusive Great Barrier Reef resort located on a coral cay, which means you can step right off the beach to go snorkelling amid coral reefs and colourful tropical fish. In fact, there are 24 powdery white sand beaches and guests can arrange to be dropped off for private romantic picnics at any one of them. Stay in one of the 40 private suites, The Pavilion or The Villa and enjoy superb cuisine and indulgent spa treatments after a guided snorkel over the giant clam garden and dive the world-famous Cod Hole.
QUALIA, HAMILTON ISLAND
Located on the secluded northern tip of Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands, qualia has 60 private standalone pavilions, many with plunge pools and natural outdoor showers. Enjoy a signature treatment at the serene spa and dine on the finest fare at the indoor-outdoor Long Pavilion with its spectacular views over island-dotted aquamarine waters. Enjoy water-based activities from snorkelling and diving the Great Barrier Reef, to sailing the Whitsunday Islands or play a round at Australia’s only island championship golf course, the Hamilton Island Golf Club.
SILKY OAKS LODGE, DAINTREE NATIONAL PARK
Silky Oaks Lodge is set in 80 acres (32 hectares) of rainforest bordering the World Heritage-Listed Daintree National Park, overlooking the beautiful Mossman River. Stay in luxury treehouses and be serenaded by tropical birdlife and the sounds of the rainforest. Dine in the open-air restaurant as the river flows below. Enjoy an early morning yoga class and treatments at the Healing Waters Spa. Tailored safari options include guided rainforest hikes, indigenous tours of the rainforest and nearby Mossman Gorge, a river snorkelling drift excursion and even helicopter and luxury yacht trips to the Great Barrier Reef.
CRYSTALBROOK LODGE, OUTBACK NORTH QUEENSLAND
Located in the rugged outback of North Queensland, Crystalbrook Lodge is an oasis of luxury perched above the 300 acre freshwater Crystalbrook Lake on an 85.000 acre working cattle station. A 45 minute flight from Cairns, the lodge offers hiking trails, bird-watching, photography and guided tours of the surrounding outback. Visit the Outback town of Chillagoe to see Aboriginal rock art and enjoy one of the best pub hamburgers around. Guests stay in five courtyard suites and dine under the stars on wild barramundi and grass fed beef.
SPICERS PEAK LODGE, SCENIC RIM
Spicers Peak Lodge is Queensland’s highest non-alpine mountain lodge, located on 8000 acres (32 square kilometres) of private conservation land surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park. Stay in one of the 10 suites or a private lodge with its own infinity spa. Go bushwalking or mountain biking in a tropical rainforest, enjoy outstanding dining at the famed Spicers Peak restaurant or simply take in the endless views from the infinity pool. For those who want more, there are guided, fully equipped four day hikes or four day mountain bike trails staying at luxury eco camps plus a final night at Spicers Peak Lodge.
Luxury Lodges in New South Wales
EMIRATES ONE&ONLY WOLGAN VALLEY, BLUE MOUNTAINS
Spread out at the foot of towering cliffs, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley resort occupies just 1 per cent of a private 7000 acre (28 square kilometre) conservation reserve, sited between two national parks in the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains. Each of the lodge’s 40 standalone pavilions has a private enclosed swimming pool and large living and sleeping quarters. Enjoy a 4WD wildlife safari, go night spotting for wildlife, go bird-watching, horse riding and mountain biking. Indulge in the One&Only Spa and enjoy the finest local food and wine in the elegant and expansive main lodge.
CAPELLA LODGE, LORD HOWE ISLAND
A tiny blip in the Pacific Ocean, the crescent-shaped World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is surrounded by the world’s southernmost coral reef and is renowned for its remarkable geology and rare collection of birds, plants and marine life. Capella Lodge has nine contemporary beach-luxe suites overlooking romantic Lovers Bay and the island’s two defining mountains. Dining in the Lodge Restaurant showcases a bounty of local seafood and fresh regional produce. Explore rainforest tracks and white-sand beaches with Capella’s resident naturalist, take a guided climb of Mount Gower (one of the world’s best day walks) and go big game fishing, diving and snorkelling.
PRETTY BEACH HOUSE, BOUDDI PENINSULA
Pretty Beach House has just four, one-bedroom pavilions set in a tranquil coastal bush setting nestled into an escarpment high above Pretty Beach on the New South Wales Bouddi Peninsula, just 90 minutes north of Sydney. Fill your days with guided bushwalks, picnics on private beaches, a cruise or fishing expedition on the Pretty Beach Cabo Sports Cruiser, spa treatments and cooking classes. Luxury is taken to a new level with personalised butler service and a superb food program.
Luxury Lodges in Victoria
LAKE HOUSE, DAYLESFORD
Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Lake House has 33 spacious, art-filled rooms and suites overlooking idyllic Lake Daylesford in the heart of Victoria’s Spa Country. Enjoy a superb food and wine experience at the signature restaurant, a trailblazer of the modern Australian farm-to-table cuisine movement. Take a cooking class, soak in a cedar tub in the tree-top Salus Spa and visit artist studios and local food and wine producers on the Daylesford Macedon Produce Trail.
LUXURY LODGES IN TASMANIA
SAFFIRE, FREYCINET PENINSULA
Featuring a striking building reminiscent of a mysterious sea creature, Saffire overlooks the aquamarine waters of Great Oyster Bay and the mesmerising pink granite Hazards mountain range on the Freycinet Peninsula. Featuring 20 luxurious suites and a day spa, Saffire offers some of the finest food and wine in Tasmania alongside more than 20 bespoke, included experiences. Slip on waders and taste oysters right out of the water with a glass of Tasmanian sparkling wine, do the Tasmanian Devil Experience and learn about the initiatives to save this endangered species from extinction, and take a luxury luncheon cruise to Wineglass Bay.
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