We’ve tested out the most luxurious lodges in Australia, from a private pool villa in the Blue Mountains to having dinner in a treehouse in the rainforest. Here is our pick of the most spectacular stays down under.
The Blue Mountains
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley often tops TripAdvisor's Top 25 Hotels in Australia and is tucked away in the Blue Mountains, just a three-hour drive from Sydney. The setting is spectacular and I felt hidden from the world in this prehistoric looking valley, which is simply alive with wildlife and perfect for a safari with a difference. Rugged outdoor experiences such as mountain biking and horse riding, coupled with transport in Land Rover Defenders, contrast with the sumptuousness of the suites, each with a private pool and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The standout experience for me at this carbon-neutral lodge was the food. My dining experience here was quite remarkable, especially considering almost all the produce – including the wine – comes from local sources. The lodge is all inclusive and dinner is either à la carte or a tasting menu. I opted for à la carte and it was, without doubt, the best dinner I’ve eaten in my life. The paired wines were incredible. I particularly remember the dessert wine, which was called Montoro. After dinner, your veranda makes the perfect spot for stargazing.
Daintree National Park
Silky Oaks Lodge
Shrouded among the world’s oldest rainforest, the serenity of Silky Oaks Lodge is immediately relaxing, despite being on the doorstep of some of the region’s most important attractions, including Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation and the Great Barrier Reef. This elevated eco-lodge has treehouses and river houses on stilts to stay in; and meals are served in the Treehouse Restaurant, up in the canopy.
There’s a load to do here, from hiking to Figtree rapids, canoeing down the river to a guided rainforest walk. But, you can also just relax and listen to the sounds of the rainforest while you take a dip in the pool or indulge with a treatment in the fantastic spa.
Margaret River wine region
Surrounded by forests and some of the Margaret River region’s best vineyards, Cape Lodge is an oenophile's delight, producing over 20 per cent of Australia's premium wines. You could spend the day exploring the region’s vineyards on a tour, and then enjoy spectacular ocean sundowners at nearby Moses Rock. This hotel only has 22 rooms and is a three-and-a-half hour drive (or one-hour flight) from Perth. With the new non-stop Qantas flight to Perth, Margaret River has never been closer.
There are beautiful beaches nearby, so this makes for a great city, beach and nature combination. The award-winning restaurant offers gourmet dining and vintage wines with a superb tasting menu. You could blow away the cobwebs the next day with a dip in the pool or a walk along magnificent Injidup Beach.
The Gold Coast
Spicers Peak Lodge
Spicers Peak Lodge has an incredible setting on top of a mountain in Queensland's Gold Coast hinterland. It looks as if the peak of the mountain has been sliced off, leaving a grassy green for this Alpine-style luxury lodge, which only has 10 rooms. We arrived by helicopter, which was amazing and very rock star!
This peaceful landscape is home to a huge amount of wildlife, from wallabies to kookaburras, and is just a few hours by road from the Gold Coast and Brisbane. This is a great place to stay if you’re doing the legendary coastal drive between Sydney and Brisbane; and full board includes a five-course degustation dinner with paired wines.
The Great Barrier Reef
One of Australia’s best hotels, the luxurious qualia has an exclusive address in the Whitsundays on Hamilton Island and is surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. You get your own golf buggy on arrival at this adults-only enclave, so you can whizz around the island which is great fun; and I’d recommend a stunning Windward Pavilion with its own pool. You can catch a boat – or helicopter – to Whitehaven Beach, which is often voted the world’s best beach; and the food here is incredible. It’s easy to see why celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio have stayed here!
Longitude 131°, Uluru
This five-star basecamp in the dunes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a glamorous showcase of desert luxe at its very best. There are just 16 tents and it doesn’t matter where you are – the views facing Uluru are always special. Make the most of the incredible included experiences; witness a colour-changing sunset, explore the rock walls of Kantju Gorge at dusk, and dine outside on the dunes at Table 131°.
The orange-pink hues of the Hazard Mountains are the main focus at this award-winning architectural wonder. Facing Tasmania’s Great Oyster Bay, this wildly ultra-private coastal sanctuary is far removed from the outside world. From oyster shucking to visiting a Tasmanian devil reserve, you can join a bespoke itinerary of experiences that are all included in your stay.
It’s the wild natural surroundings here that really make you catch a breath. At this sprawling 700,000-acre haven in the Outback wilds of east Kimberley, there’s a thrill-based freedom to do nothing but explore. Stay in one of three delightful lodges and you’ll have the chance to cruise private gorges, swim in pristine waterfalls or have a picnic in the remote Australian bush.
Great Barrier Reef
Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef
Live out your desert island dreams and stay at this private eco-luxe retreat in the Great Barrier Reef. Accessed only by private plane, Lizard Island exceeds any and all expectations thanks to its sumptuously secluded setting. Don’t expect any day trippers here – away from the backpackers and tourists, the 24 white-sand beaches, natural lagoon and 1000 acres of national park are all exclusively just for you.
Lake House, Daylesford
This lakeside love child of visionary Australian chef Alla Wolf-Tasker and her artist husband Allan is home to one of the country’s top contenders for Australia’s best restaurant. Awarded two prestigious Chef Hats and accompanied by an acclaimed wine list, its cutting-edge menus and fresh, seasonal produce have helped put this classic hotel firmly on the ‘one to watch’ map.
We can help you explore Australia on an escorted tour, self-drive, cruise or tailor-made itinerary and have handpicked the very best three to five-star hotels for your money. For more inspiration, order our Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific brochure or talk to someone who has been there by searching for one of our Australia experts.