Imagine waking up in a detached pavilion with views of the rainforest and ocean near Byron Bay.
WORLD class has become one of the most over-used labels. But many times, the description is true. Over the past few years, a string of new hotels, resorts and lodges have opened up in the major states and many offer access to incredible locations. Here are a few of the most interesting for those who love the raw spectacle of a big country.
If you’ve ever fancied the life of a land baron, Mount Mulligan Lodge is custom-made for indulging your dreams. Located on a 28,000-hectare cattle station 160 kilometres west of Cairns, men once rushed to this rugged slice of Far North Queensland for gold. Today’s “treasure” is a direct view of Mount Mulligan, which centres a huge escarpment stretching for nearly 20 kilometres. Only four pavilions accommodate 16 guests at the secluded lodge, which boast soaring ceilings, burnished timber, high thread count sheets and wide verandahs.
One of the best day trips is a visit to Tyrconnell Mine, which yielded 18,000 ounces of gold during its 19th century heyday. You’ll feel enriched as well following a gourmet degustation menu for dinner, featuring foraged or locally grown ingredients and paired with the well-curated wine list. Guests arrive in two major ways – a 35-minute helicopter flight or a 3-hour 4WD drive from Cairns. A truly luxurious experience for an unforgettable foray into the continent’s wide brown land.
The Adnate, the most recent addition to Accor’s Art Series hotel collection, is Perth’s most innovative recent hotel opening. The 25-storey high rise grabs your attention with one of the world’s largest mega-murals, depicting local Noongar man, Nathan McGuire, an Indian child and a Middle Eastern woman, inspired by Matt Adnate, the noted Melbourne street artist.
The arty theme continues in the lobby with two huge murals and 650 giclee fine art digital prints of Adnate’s most famous works. To heighten the mood, the hotel offers complimentary art tours, in-room art channels and art libraries. All of the 250 rooms feature eye-catching prints and the property is located close to two of Perth’s lifestyle hubs, King Street and Elizabeth Quay. The Hyde Perth Kitchen + Cocktails is only the second Hyde lounge in Australia after the Hyde Paradiso in Queensland. Relax around the outdoor pool over breakfast, lunch or dinner. Enjoy a glass of wine at sunset or choose from the cocktail list put together by Tim Philips-Johansson, one of Australia’s top mixologists.
Imagine waking up in a detached pavilion with views of the rainforest and ocean near Byron Bay. Blackbird Byron, located in Mullumbimby, is a boutique B&B not far from NSW’s capital of wellness that reflects the design ethos of its owners, James and Stella Hudson. A glass of Champagne is offered on arrival and there’s a complimentary basket of local artisanal foods in each room.
You can lounge around the magnesium mineral swimming pool or go hiking, walking or mountain-biking. Both activity choices make Blackbird a top choice for couples, groups of friends or families. There’s also a spa service to pamper or massage away any sudden aches and pains.
Nightcap National Park, part of the Gondwana Rainforest of Australia World Heritage area, the largest region of subtropical rainforest in the world, is close by if bushwalking and birdwatching are on your to-do list. On-site yoga is also available to really get into the Byron ethos.
Anyone looking to explore the cool climate wine region around Canberra on a budget should take note of Abode Murrumbateman. A short drive from Canberra city centre, there are 50 chic studios, kitchen facilities and a cosy guest lounge. Part of the eight property Abode group, all located in Canberra and the NSW south coast, rates begin at $100 per room per night.
Situated next to Murrumbateman Village centre, the hotel is close to local farmers markets, artisan bakeries, hip cafes and some of the ACT’s most famed boutique wineries such as Clonakilla and Shaw Vineyard Estate. Helm Wines, pioneers of the district who specialise in riesling and cabernet sauvignon, is a must-visit for the cellar door housed in the heritage-listed Toual schoolhouse built in 1888.
Marriott International teamed with one of Australia’s wealthiest clans, the Schwarz family of Melbourne, to develop the first luxury hotel in Hobart in over a decade. The Tasman, a 152-room property in Parliament Square, is on schedule to open in March next year and will be part of Marriott’s five star The Luxury Collection brand, the first of its kind in Australia.
The plush heritage building project costing $150 million will feature the Peppina Italian restaurant and Lobby Lounge. A top bolthole to plan a whiskey tasting tour of the Apple Isle from the renowned Lark Distillery to the Salamanca Whiskey Bar. Drink Tasmania Premium Tours offers a range of outings for those keen to discover local craft spirits, beer, cider and wine from boutique gin tours of Hobart to southern Tasmania wine tours with stops at Coal Valley Vineyard, Pooley Wines and much more.
Hotel opening dates are notorious for changing, even without a global pandemic throwing a spanner in the works. Sequoia Lodge Mount Lofty House is finally slated to open in November. Separate to the original Mount Lofty House in the Adelaide Hills, the $15 million private retreat offers breathtaking views and promises a six-star experience. Overlooking the picturesque Piccadilly Valley, Sequoia is owned and operated by noted hotelier and owner, David Horbelt, and business partner, Malcolm Bean. The sleek retreat is named after three giant California Redwood trees planted by the original owner of the property, Arthur Hardy, the prominent South Australian pastoralist, businessman and politician.
Lodge guests can dine at Mount Lofty’s three-hatted Hardy’s Verandah restaurant and sip wines or cocktails in the Arthur Waterhouse Lounge. There are more than 60 wineries in the area to sample, including Sinclair’s Gully, the only eco-certified winery in the area where you can watch the local black cockatoos take flight at sunset.