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Unique Australian hotels

Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay, NSW

Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay, NSW

Australians celebrate their differences in all sorts of ways - from unique sports to distinctive cuisine, wines and, memorably, holiday accommodation. Take Hobart's Omnipod, aka the Avalon City Retreat, a two-bedroom eyrie bolted atop a seven-storey heritage office tower to capture views over Salamanca and the Derwent River. Walls of glass and a Huon pine tub on the deck are among Omnipod's many guest enhancements.

Five hours' drive from Adelaide, an 1850s sheep station showcases the serenity of the Flinders Ranges. The homestead at Arkaba Station accommodates 10 guests in bespoke surrounds of wool-bale tables and merino wool headboards. Days are spent exploring the station's 26,000-hectare backyard and neighbouring Wilpena Pound.

South Australia has a thing for heritage piles. One of the most recent historic houses to go public is Kingsford Homestead, the one-time set of cowgirl soapie McLeod's Daughters. The 1856 sandstone mansion, on the edge of the Barossa Valley, is now a small hotel of Georgian bones and glossy antiques. All-inclusive pricing covers everything from sunset cocktails to dégustation dinners in the cellar.

The best way to get up close to this country is to go camping. We love pitching up in exceptional places - especially when the tents come with ensuites, butler service and eco credentials. Take Sal Salis, nine swank safari tents that subsist on solar power and daily water rations in the dunes of Western Australia's Cape Range National Park. Fortunately such deprivations are eased by the submarine wonders of Ningaloo Reef, lamplit dinners and beach stargazing.

From the red coast to the red centre, where evocative desert camp Longitude 131 has fallen into the capable hands of James and Hayley Baillie (Southern Ocean Lodge, Capella Lodge). They've enlisted Southern Ocean's architect, Max Pritchard, to oversee a resort upgrade that will include infinity pool, a refresh of the 15 existing tents and new canopy suites with plunge pools facing Uluru.

We also love going bush at Jervis Bay on the NSW South Coast, where the solar-powered Paperbark Camp coddles guests with fanciful tents and candlelit dinners at its restaurant, The Gunyah. Guests who can drag themselves away are rewarded with stunning coastal scenery, dolphin magic and a ribbon of beach said to have the world's whitest sand. It's just one of many superlative Australian escapes.


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