Wollemi Forest, Blue Mountains, New South Wales © Wollemi Cabins
Australia’s most unique places to stay
Luxury treehouses, renovated old-school aeroplanes and underwater suites submerged among the Great Barrier Reef. Here are 10 extraordinary places to stay in Australia.
By Amy Fraser
Australia’s eccentric stays draw inspiration from their unique landscapes, offering out-of-ordinary perspectives. Immerse yourself in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains from a treetop utopia, feel the romance in the air at a fairytale-like castle, or over in Coober Pedy, settle down for a night in an underground cave. Who knew sleeping could be so exciting?
Queensland’s Reefsuites takes a room with a view to a whole new level – one beneath the ocean’s surface. More an experience than a place to stay, Reefsuites is Australia’s first underwater accommodation, perched just metres away from Hardy Reef on the world’s largest coral reef system. Wake up in an underwater luxury king suite with front-row views of the Great Barrier Reef’s marine life – a taste of your underwater adventures to come.
For nature lovers, experiencing the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains doesn’t get better than this. Wollemi Forest’s best-kept secret is the Treehouse – an artfully crafted cabin nestled high among the treetops. Boasting glass-to-ceiling windows and quirky wooden interiors, the Secret Treehouse’s design creates a fully immersive nature experience.
Melbourne’s HOTEL NO is all about doing things differently. Think rooftop bedrooms in place of a bar, a hidden door instead of a concierge desk, and six renovated retro Airstreams (transported all the way from the US) instead of typical hotel rooms. Described by the owners as, ‘NOT a hotel, but an experience’, this is one of the quirkiest spots to sleep in the city.
Desert Cave Hotel
Where: Coober Pedy
This unique hotel invites visitors to sleep like a local in a classic ‘dug out’ cave-style bedroom, underneath the South Australian desert. The Desert Cave Hotel is exactly what you'd expect — with a little splash of luxury. Though underground, the suites feature everything you’d expect from a typical room, plus tall airy ceilings, a deliciously cool temperature and very little natural lighting. This could be the doorway to your best night's sleep yet.
Pink-hued granite rocks, awe-inspiring mountain lookouts and the azure Wineglass Bay make Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park a jewel in its own right. Add a private island to the equation and you’ve got yourself one of the most extraordinary stays in Australia. Take temporary residence on Picnic Island with up to 10 guests to explore, fish, swim, or simply make the most of having an island all to yourself.
Western Australia’s outback is beguiling at the best of times, but it’s not just the region’s natural wonders that’ll make your jaw drop. History buffs are in for a treat at The Lily Stirling Range, home to the 16th-Century Lily Dutch Windmill property and one of the country’s most eccentric stays. Sleep overnight in a renovated aviation icon – an original 1944 Dakota aeroplane that’s been transformed into a boutique-style cabin. You won’t be flying anywhere, but the breathtaking views of the Stirling Range are all the scenery you’ll need.
Thorngrove Manor Hotel
If staying in a fairytale-like castle is on your bucket list then be sure to visit Stirling, just outside of Adelaide. Here, you’ll find the magnificent Thorngrove Manor Hotel, a boutique hotel that captures the essence of romanticism. Every inch of Thorngrove exudes elegance, from the beautifully manicured gardens to the intricate interior details. Little wonder it’s renowned as one of the world’s most prestigious stays.
There’s glamping, and then there’s the opulence of Longitude 131. If sleeping in one of the most spiritual places in the country isn’t enough, try doing it in a chic, show-stopper lodge, surrounded by 23,800 acres of the Australian outback. At Longitude 131, the magnificent Uluru stands before you at all times – even from the comfort of your own bed. There’s really nothing quite like it on Earth.
The wukalina Walk’s magic extends far beyond the exploration of new paths. The experience continues after dark when you reach your first stop, where you will sleep in the award-winning krakani lumi. Inspired by the land it sits upon and the half-dome shapes of the Indigenous palawa homes, walkers can nestle down in a cosy bed complete with linens and wallaby furs in a unique hideaway. With only a mesh door to separate you and the bush, you’ll have no shortage of Tasmania’s famous fresh air.
Take your love of wine to a whole new level with Barrel View Luxury Cabins. Fittingly nestled amid Queensland's Granite Belt Wine Region, you'll find three impressive, giant oak barrels rising from the hills. Inside each cabin are all the little luxuries for an intimate couple's getaway. Spill out onto the private balcony to indulge in a complimentary bottle of local wine and endless views of the rolling green countryside.