Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
By Matt Knowles, Sea Escape Travel
Australia is the perfect place to reward yourself with an indulgent vacation. Whether you’re exploring an island brimming with unique wildlife or snorkeling amongst tropical fish and corals on the famed Great Barrier Reef, Australia has something for everyone. Here is a selection of some of my favourite luxury experiences in Australia.
A Lizard Island retreat
It doesn’t get much better than Lizard Island, where the spectacular Great Barrier Reef meets barefoot luxury at the island's five-star retreat, Lizard Island Resort. Actress Kate Hudson famously referred to Lizard Island as “the most romantic place on earth”.
Set amongst acres of national park, resort guests can enjoy sunset picnics on one of the 20-odd private beaches, relax at the Essential Day Spa or sample the daily menu of fresh local seafood at Salt Water restaurant. There are a range of room options from ocean view villas and opulent beachfront suites to the ultimate privacy of ‘the villa’ with unspoiled views of the Coral Sea. If you can, spend several nights here so you can truly unwind and experience the Great Barrier Reef in style.
Stay in a Treehouse
The World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest comes highly recommended for those heading to tropical north Queensland. Spend the night in a tree house hidden in the thick canopy of the rainforest at Silky Oaks Lodge for a truly magical experience. Just under half an hour from the village of Port Douglas and hidden among the treetops, this luxury lodge-style resort sits alongside the tranquil Mossman River, and its location makes it easy to explore both the reef and Daintree National Park. Guests can also visit the lush tropical surrounds of the Healing Waters Spa, which uses natural clays, flowers and plant essences for its treatments.
Explore Penfolds Magill Estate Vineyard in South Australia
Penfolds Magill Estate Vineyard, home to one of the oldest wineries in Australia, is just a 15 minute drive from Adelaide. Penfolds Wines is famous for their Grange, which has been officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia and a visit to this vineyard is a wine experience to rival all others. Sample the celebrated varietals or go on a tour to explore the vineyard and distillery and learn about the history of winemaking. At this estate, you’ll also find the award-winning fine dining establishment, Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant.
Canapes and wildlife on Kanagroo Island
Brimming with native animals, some of which aren't found anywhere else, Kangaroo Island is a nature-lovers paradise and is just a 45 minute ferry ride off the coast of South Australia or 30 minutes by plane from Adelaide. It is also home to an established artisanal food scene, and one of the world's best hotels, the multi award-winning Southern Ocean Lodge. Wildlife abounds on this island, and when combined with fine dining, incredible scenery and pristine coastline, you will never want to leave.
Heavenly sunsets and pearls in Broome, Western Australia
Fly into Broome to be greeted by warm tropical weather and exquisite white sandy beaches. Broome was founded on the discovery of pearl shells in the 1800s, an industry that continues today. Gain a deeper understanding of Broome’s rich history on a walking tour led by a local Aboriginal guide via Narlijia Cultural Tours and ensure one evening you take a camel ride along Cable Beach at sunset. From March to October, during a full moon, you can glimpse the ‘sunset to heaven’ spectacular (also known as the ‘staircase to the moon’) at Roebuck Bay. From the Mangrove Hotel, you can also hear the magical warble of a Didgeridoo resonating through the air as the moon rises.
Luxury adventure cruising in the Kimberley
Three times larger than England, with a population of less than 40,000, the Kimberley region – spread over Australia's entire north-western corner – is one of the world's last wilderness frontiers. To explore this region in style, consider True North - an 18-cabin adventure cruise ship. It’s an unbeatable way to discover the gorges, waterfalls, and ancient Aboriginal rock art of the Kimberley. Venture out on the on board helicopter or six expedition boats available for daily outings and an expert Australian crew who provide unique insights to this remote land.
Explore the Sydney Opera House - inside and out
Start an incredible day in Sydney with an intimate small-group backstage tour of the Sydney Opera House. Have breakfast in the exclusive domain of the performers, journey through private rehearsal spaces, and be tantalized with insider secrets from expert guides. Follow the tour with a fly-and-dine package that combines a scenic flight of Sydney with a lunch at a legendary waterside restaurant with impressive views.
Matt Knowles of Sea Escape Travel is one of our multi award-winning Premier Aussie Specialists who prides himself on delivering exceptional service and outstanding destination advice to his customers. His knowledge has been developed over many trips to Australia over the years, visiting all states & territories and off the beaten track destinations.
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