Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort, Blue Mountains, NSW © Luxury Lodges of Australia
Luxury wilderness retreats in Australia
Explore Australia’s most remarkable wilderness-meets-luxury accommodation options.
By Ute Junker
In Australia you can hike dramatic coastal cliffs, snorkel above coral reefs or soak in palm-fringed hot springs – all without straying too far from your luxury lodgings.
Discover the wild beauty of the Top End’s wetlands
The Top End’s Wetlands is your ticket to those ultra-luxe moments you’re after, mixed in with just a drop danger. It’s less well known than neighbouring Kakadu National Park, but the Mary River floodplain in the Northern Territory is one of Australia’s wildlife hotspots. Experience this natural wonder – and the famous Top End sunsets – at Bamurru Plains, a member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia.
Here, a three-hour drive or 30-minute flight from Darwin, you can explore by airboat a thriving ecosystem that is home to saltwater crocodiles, buffalo and 250 species of birds.
And after a full day of immersing yourself in the drama of nature you can dine on fine fare expertly prepared by the resident chef. And when it’s time to retire, collapse into a bed clad with organic cotton sheets waiting in your luxury safari bungalow elevated above the floodplain.
Walk Tasmania’s pristine coastline
White sand beaches, turquoise water and cliffs covered in orange lichen: the scenery on the Bay of Fires Signature Walk in north-eastern Tasmania is unforgettable. On this four-day, 33-kilometre (21-mile) guided walk – one of the Great Walks of Australia – you can stroll along secluded beaches, hike through the bush and kayak down tranquil rivers. Keep an eye out for the amazing wildlife along the way, including dolphins, whales, wallabies and possums.
You’ll settle in at a luxury beach camp on the first night, and unwind with a massage and a gourmet dinner at the Bay of Fires Lodge on nights two and three. The best part? You don’t have to carry a big pack the whole time – the bulk of your luggage is transported in a lodge vehicle, so you only need a light day pack on the walks. The Bay of Fires Signature Walk operates between October and May.
Swim with turtles at Lizard Island
An hour’s flight from Cairns sits Lizard Island Resort, another member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia and one of the most intimate resorts on the Great Barrier Reef. This is one of the few places where you can access the reef’s wonders, from colourful corals to marine life, straight from the beach. After a day spent drifting over giant clam gardens or swimming alongside turtles as they munch on sea grass, retire to your roomy suite to soak up a fabulous Tropical North Queensland sunset.
Choose the resort’s opulent signature Villa, on a cliff top above the resort, and you can take in that sunset from a private plunge pool before enjoying evening drinks and canapes served by your personal valet. Definitely one for those who want to leave the world behind and get back to nature among literal paradise.
Spot wombats in Australia’s deep south
Perched on the most southerly point of the Australian mainland, Wilsons Promontory National Park, a three-hour drive from Melbourne, is a 50,000-hectare (124,000-acre) wilderness haven where kangaroos, emus, wombats and echidnas flourish.
The only accommodation inside the park, Just Inside the Gate, is a stylish, architect-designed holiday house. Take the east wing of house and you’ll have the use of a massive kitchen with a custom concrete bench, stainless-steel benchtops and a recycled-blackwood table. It’s the perfect base to explore the national park’s beaches, valleys and walking trails without sacrificing comfort and luxury.
Cool off in a deserted waterhole in the Kimberley
Truly reconnect with nature with a soak in the palm-fringed hot springs., Hike red-rock gorges, cool off in secluded waterholes or enjoy sundowners on a remote clifftop at El Questro in the Kimberley, a vast wilderness area at the top of Western Australia.
The landscape here in the north-western corner of the country may be rugged but that doesn’t mean you have to go without creature comforts such as feather-topped beds. At the El Questro Homestead, one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia, you’ll enjoy gourmet meals, have access to a private boat, and can do some sightseeing by helicopter – all while forming bonds with the natural surrounds.
Relax in a private villa on Kangaroo Island
It’s not just kangaroos that thrive on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island; koalas, sea lions and echidnas also flourish here, 30 minutes by plane from Adelaide. It’s not all about the wildlife, however. Kangaroo Island is also known for its dramatic rock formations, artisanal food and pristine beaches.
Relax in your own private luxury hideaway with Lifetime Private Retreats, which has a range of well-appointed clifftop and beachfront villas on the island.
Choose the full-service dining option and meals using Kangaroo Island’s finest local produce will be delivered to your door during your stay. You can also opt to have a chef come in and cook you breakfast before you head out to explore this wild and beautiful island. Who says you have to choose? Kangaroo Island is decadent and daring all at once.