10 places off the beaten track to celebrate down under
Wild, rugged and ancient, Australia is home to some of the world’s most spectacular and varied landscapes. On this vast island continent, you’ll find lush tropical savannahs and pure, unsullied beaches. You’ll explore underwater wonderlands dotted with multi-hued coral and remote, red-rocky outcrops that feel like giant works of abstract art. Just in time for Australia Day (which, by the way, we’re very much in favour of changing to a time that’s respectful to all), we’ve jotted down our ten favourite stays that capture the splendour of this land.
South of Hobart, this tiny private island is surrounded by an ancient rock shelf, its bountiful waters full of wild shellfish, its ground dotted with blue gums and its beaches pebbled. Never before accessible to the public, it’s now available to stay at—there’s a summer house and boathouse, with a maximum occupancy of eight.
When you reach this Mr & Mrs Smith-listed guesthouse—positioned on the Bouddi National Park Escarpment, near Sydney—you’ll be greeted with an Indigenous smoking ceremony, then left to soak up the views of oyster farms from private plunge pools. No wonder it made Conde Nast Traveller’s 2018 Gold List.
Located on Tasmania’s east coast, this 180-year-old homestead with sustainably-forged surrounding lodgings is a quiet, welcoming refuge from the busyness of Australia’s cities. You’ll be surrounded by gum trees and dune grasses and all the beauty of Great Oyster Bay. This is Tasmania as its meant to be experienced: craggy and untamed and free.
There are still gems to discover at Bannister Head, Mollymook Beach. Cliff House is one of them. It’s on the top floor of a waterfront duplex, with stunning views north and south down the blue coastline. Think crisp white interiors and long summer days at the beach.
The journey to reach The Little Black Shack—a waterfront, sandstone fisherman’s cottage in Sydney—tells you everything you need to know about it. Board an old timber ferry at Palm Beach. Walk along a short track, or the beachside rocks at low-tide.
Right on the fringe of the Daintree, these well-furnished treetop lodgings are the ideal way to be ensconced in its verdant greenery. Laze with a book on your veranda hammock, and listen to the rainforest’s soundtrack: whistling little shrikethrush, deep hums from fruit doves, and the chortling of black butcherbirds.
Set on a reef-ringed island with powdery, white-sand beaches (in that place of places, the Great Barrier Reef) this boutique hotel can only be reached via helicopter. Very chic. You can take one from Townsville or Cairns.
They call this place eco-luxe. That might conjure up a partial picture: wilderness tents that resemble tiny hotel suites, deposited in the middle of nature. What it doesn’t quite capture is the breathtaking surrounds: the dunes of Cape Range National Park in WA, the 500 species of fish you can swim amongst, including the humpback whale, and the red kangaroos and goannas that you’ll spy up close on guided walks.
This outback property in the Flinders Ranges, formerly a sheep station, is entrenched in Aboriginal history. Its 60,000 acres are spliced between just 10 guests, who soak it up on inimitable guided walks and safari drives and can—if they like—help with conservation initiatives.
Much of Australia’s beauty can be found in its architecture. This former sea captain’s bluestone, with a modern extension, linked by glass, is home to four self-contained suites. It’s in Port Fairy Victoria, a stone’s throw from the beach.