More than just a place to sleep, these retreats will make your next trip Down Under an unforgettable experience.
Australia does luxury like nowhere else. Think safari tents pitched within snorkel-swinging distance of all the marine life in the world’s largest fringing reef, Ningaloo. Think a room with views of Uluru from the deck. And imagine a 1940s pumphouse standing 900 feet out into a lake rich with platypus?
All of these can be yours for the night on your next trip Down Under. Whichever state you’re heading to, there’s somewhere equally memorable to stay. We’ve rounded up the very best.
Western Australia: Sal Salis
On my stay at Sal Salis I returned to my tent to find a kangaroo sleeping on the deck! That’s how close the wildlife is at this luxury eco camp set in the dunes above South Mandu beach.
Slip on a snorkel, step from the sands and you’ll find yourself amid the marine life of Ningaloo Reef, or head out on a boat to swim with the whalesharks and humpback whales. Each night you’ll return from your activities to a communal dinner in the lodge, washed down with Aussie wines.
Tents are comfortable, with a proper bed, en suite shower room and that deck, which comes complete with a hammock.
Rates start from £500pn including all meals, an open bar and guided activities. Here are 10 other reasons to visit Western Australia.
Northern Territory: Longitude 131
Imagine waking up with Uluru at the foot of the bed. Or falling asleep looking up into the Milky Way. At Longitude 131 you can do both, with plenty of Red Centre sightseeing in between. Tours include walks at both Uluru and sibling rock formation Kata Tjuta, sunset drinks overlooking the rock and a visit to the Field of Light, a bold installation by British artist Bruce Munro that lights up the desert floor with oscillating globes of light.
Every second night dinner is taken at Table 131, outside beneath the stars, while all other meals are served in the welcoming Dune House – for more views of Uluru, and an open bar. There’s also a small swimming pool and a spa.
Rates start from £889pn including all meals, an open bar and excursions.
South Australia: Southern Ocean Lodge
Few hotels are as instantly impressive as this one. On arrival, you'll see double doors opening to reveal a panoramic view of the pounding Southern Ocean beyond the minimalist lounge.
Your location is the western end of Kangaroo Island, an unspoiled “zoo without fences” that promises some of Australia’s best wildlife encounters – a baby koala sleeping low down in a tree, perhaps, or a cheeky wallaby trying to steal your lunch.
Back at the lodge you’ll find tons of local produce, from freshwater crayfish and local cheeses to the island’s unique honey, served in the chic dining room. Make time for the spa, where treatments are inspired by Aboriginal teachings.
Rates start from £695pn including all meals, an open bar and excursions.
Queensland: Silky Oaks Lodge
You might find it hard to leave your hammock here, slung across your private veranda and surrounded by the sights, smells and sounds of the Daintree Rainforest. The included activities make the most of it – there are kayaks for heading out on the pristine Mossman River and snorkelling gear for a dip with the freshwater turtles, eels and platypus in the billabong.
Silky Oaks Lodge
It’s worth going further into the Daintree for a crocodile-spotting cruise, before returning for dinner in the restaurant, its open sides letting in the naturally cool breeze from the river below.
Treehouses start from £245 B&B, including a guided walk and yoga session.
New South Wales: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
In-room swimming pools are fitted as standard in the villas here, along with a double-sided fireplace and veranda with mountain views. Don’t even think about making too many plans, you’ll want to laze around, enjoying the peace and quiet of the private 7,000-acre conservancy, home to kangaroos, wallabies and wombats.
Dinner – along with many of the wines – is locally sourced and served fireside (in winter) in the dining room, while optional activities include guided walks, horse rides and a 4WD jaunt out to your own private campfire for dinner in the bush and stargazing by telescope.
Rooms start from £1,585pn including meals, some drinks and two daily on-site activities.
Victoria: Lake House
You might be coming here for the food – local and homemade produce from small-scale suppliers served in one of Australia’s classiest dining rooms – but you’ll stay for the atmosphere of the place, the all soothing contemporary design and strolls along the lake to mineral springs.
The deck surrounding the infinity pool has one of the best views of Lake Daylesford, while walking tracks lead into the Wombat State Forest for birdwatching and koala-spotting. There’s also a cookery school, art studio and a spa focused on hydrotherapy.
Rooms start from £378pn including dinner and breakfast.
Tasmania: Pumphouse Point
The 1940s pumphouse at Pumphouse Point is most impressive from the outside – so book a room looking over at it rather than in it. The Retreat hunkers down in the bush on the shores of Lake St Clair – Australia’s deepest – and offers uninterrupted views of the pumphouse, set out in the lake, from both its glass-fronted living area and its private outdoor bathtub.
There’s an all-inclusive larder of Tasmanian snacks and drinks too, so you can hole up and spot wallabies from the window as the sun sets over the lake.
Communal dinners are served in the Shorehouse and there’s a lounge surrounded by watery views out in the Pumphouse, where you’ll also find an open bar. Consider arriving by helicopter – the pumphouse is even more stunning when seen from the air.
Rates start from £164 per night B&B. The Retreat costs from £800 per night including breakfast, dinner, in-room larder and open bar. Helicopter transfers with Par-Avion start from £684 based on two people. Check out more reasons to visit Tasmania here.
Lead image: Silky Oaks Lodge
Be the first to comment
Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature