Australia’s most unique hotels and escapes

Unique landscapes demand exceptional lodgings, and Australia has both in abundance.

Sal Salis, Western Australia

Cicada Lodge in the Northern Territory is on the doorstep of ancient Nitmiluk (Katharine Gorge). Owned and run by the Jawoyn, the 18-room lodge is the gateway to guided walks where hikers marvel at 40,000-year-old rock art.

You mightn’t have heard of Quamby Estate but Sir Richard Branson certainly has – he’s the No 1 ticket-holder at the golf course on this 1828 estate outside Launceston. Once home to a Tasmanian premier, the 10-room mansion and 64 hectares of grounds are an arborist’s dream, popular with golfers and well-heeled hikers.

Quamby Estate

Glamping has become the new black in experiential travel and Australia has no shortage of spectacular glamp sites. Sal Salis in Western Australia, nestled in dunes between Cape Range National Park and the Indian Ocean, is an excellent case in point. Underwater lies Ningaloo Reef; on land 16 tents circle a main lodge where sunset dinners vie with million-star skies for wow factor.

Nightfall Wilderness Camping

In the Gondwana rainforests of Lamington National Park in Queensland, Nightfall Wilderness Camping‘s three architect-designed tents bring modern comforts to an ancient land – 62 square metres of personal space with organic bedding, alfresco baths and individual fireplaces.

We love the 10 tented pavilions of Spicers Canopy, too, with epic views across the Great Dividing Range and pillow-top beds dressed in Italian linen, accessible by foot via Spicers Retreats’ Scenic Rim Trail.

Spicers Canopy

In the sleepy NSW border town of Corowa stands Circa 1936, a small hotel of just three guestrooms. It’s a meticulous restoration of the Deco-tastic Rural Bank of NSW (circa 1936) with spa, bar, butler service and lounge café.

In pretty Port Fairy at the western end of the Great Ocean Road, Drift House was home to a stonemason, a saddler and an accordion player, among others. It now has four guest suites split between the original iron lace and bluestone mansion and a strikingly modern extension at the rear. All have open fires, roasting forks and marshmallows.

Drift House

Take a nap on the wildside at Jamala Wildlife Lodge at Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium, where guests in 18 suites bed down with bears (safely separated by glass), rendezvous with red pandas and take sundowners with snow leopards. And Taronga Zoo provides not only lodging with lions but also a front-row tent to Sydney Harbour panoramas at its Roar & Snore sleepouts.

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