ARTICLE | Celebrating our Top 4 Australian luxury eco-heroes
Apart from its impressive size, Australia also offers a huge diversity of landscapes, climates and wildlife – everything from the temperate forests of Tasmania to the immensity of the Gibson Desert; not to mention 19,000kms of coastline, much of it protected by marine parks and conservation areas.
Australia, the world’s oldest and driest continent, also contains one of the planet’s most important populations of native mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and endemic plants.
Twenty years ago exploring these remote parts of Australia meant lengthy (and often hot) road travel, basic accommodation and some pretty unexciting cuisine. The visitor experience today is vastly different. Guests can choose from architect-designed Australian luxury lodges, African-style safari camps and high-end cruise ships. While the first European explorers to reach Australia regarded the wilderness as something to be conquered, the modern day traveller understands that these precious places offer a rare opportunity to leave the 21st Century behind and commune with nature in its rawest and most pristine form.
The wild places of Australia also offer plenty of scope for all sorts of outdoor adventure – whether swimming with whale sharks on WA’s Ningaloo Reef, crocodile spotting in Kakadu National Park or heli-fishing in far north Queensland.
These are some of our favourite wilderness experiences – and ones which we are confident will change the way you view Australia’s remote, untouched and beautiful places.
Longitude 131°, consistently voted one of the world’s best luxury wilderness camps, is located on the edge of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, offering stunning views of Australia’s most famous icon: Uluru (Ayers Rock).
The property consists of 15 luxurious air-conditioned pavilions inspired by the tents used by the early European explorers. Tents come with well-appointed bathrooms, king size beds, private decks and uncompromising views of Uluru.
Guests enjoy freshly prepared gourmet meals at the Dune House, which also contains a library, bar viewing platform and reception desk. Longitude 131 offers a wide choice of tours showcasing the spectacular geography and biodiversity of the Central deserts, as well as the ancient culture of the Anangu people who have lived and cared for this landscape for thousands of years.
The True North is a custom-built adventure-cruise ship specially designed to explore the remote Kimberley region in northwest Australia.
The ship, a type of floating luxury Outback lodge, offers a choice of six-, seven- and 13-night cruises, each designed to provide guests with the maximum amount of flexibility – scenic walks, helicopter flights, cultural excursions, fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving are all available.
The vessel is purpose-built for accessing shallow river systems, fully licensed for fishing activities and has six dedicated expedition boats. All cabins feature stylish décor, en-suite facilities, in-house entertainment and satellite telephones. The vessel has a guest limit of 36, while the crew of 20 ensures an unprecedented attention to detail and excellence in service. All meals on The True North feature modern Australian cuisine.
Located in the heart of the beautiful, forbidding and remote Kimberley region in Western Australia, El Questro is an exclusive retreat open to just 18 guests and providing access to several natural wonders, including the Bungle Bungles.
The homestead, once the centre of large pastoral operation, sits atop a stunning escarpment overlooking the Chamberlain river and is now the ideal base for exploring the surrounding wilderness park, which covers almost one million acres.
Its landscape offers outstanding diversity – from rugged sandstone ranges and broad tidal flats to rainforest pockets, gorges and permanent waterfalls. The park boasts four major river systems and an abundance of animals, fish and bird life congregating near rivers and waterholes.
Guest activities include barramundi fishing, horse trekking and scenic flights to the Bungle Bungles.
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park, a short drive south of the coastal city of Exmouth.
The camp consists of fifteen spacious innovative and charming wilderness tents, a beautiful Honeymoon Tent, and a main lodge where guests enjoy freshly-prepared meals and a sundowner or two.
Covering 5,000 square kilometres, the reef is home to 500 species of tropical fish and 220 species of coral. Its most famous seasonal visitors are the whale sharks (docile, mysterious fish growing up to 18m long) that visit the reef between April and June, rare turtle species and migrating humpback whales. Sal Salis now offer charters that allow guests to get into the water and swim with the Whale Sharks and the Humpback Whales!
Sal Salis’ accommodation and hosting style is a careful blend of barefoot luxury, warm hospitality and appreciation for the Australian environment.
Just 40 minutes by air from Cairns, Crystalbrook Station is a mecca for keen anglers and nature lovers alike. The stunning luxury Outback lodge is located on the banks of Crystalbrook Lake and the property offers a bountiful supply of birds, freshwater crocodiles and fish.
Guests can spend their days on the lake or riverside, exploring the bush wilderness or just enjoying the serenity and stillness of the Outback in the lodge’s private manicured grounds. The Lodge caters for a maximum of 10 guests in five courtyard suites. Facilities include a dining room, viewing deck, wet edge pool and a Theatre Room.
Guests can choose from a wide range of outdoor activities and expeditions, such as heli-fishing and off-road driving, homestead tours and day trips to the limestone caves at Chillagoe.
Unfortunately Crystalbrook Station is no longer in operation.
Arkaba, in South Australia’s majestic Flinders Ranges, is the perfect jumping off point for all kinds of Outback adventures, such as bushwalking, 4WD tours and wildlife watching.
The original 1850s homestead has been transformed into an elegant rural retreat, complete with a swimming pool, library and bar. The property has its own guides and in-house chef.
The station is no longer a working farm but the centre of a visionary conservation program which is slowly rehabilitating the land, eradicating feral animals and bringing back native species.
The property’s signature experience is the fully guided Arkaba Walk. Designed for small groups of walkers, this gentle three-day ramble offers plenty of native wildlife, big skies, fantastic views and just enough creature comforts to soothe the soul – walkers stay in purpose built campsites, sleep in luxury ‘swags’ (canvas covered sleeping bags), enjoy hot showers and eat chef-prepared meals.
Perched on the edge of the Timor Sea in Australia’s remote Kimberley region, the Berkeley River Lodge is a quintessential wilderness experience – indeed the property is only accessible by air or by sea.
The property consists of 20 luxury villas perfectly positioned along a 65-metre-high dune and commanding 180-degree panoramas, from Joseph Bonaparte Gulf to the mouth of the Berkeley River and rugged red gorges beyond.
The Main Lodge houses a 20m lap pool, library and the in-house restaurant which serves fine regional fare and excellent Australian wines.
The tariff includes a wide choice of activities including scenic river and coastal cruises, bush and beach 4WD tours, guided walks, fishing tours, wilderness picnics, star gazing and sea turtle viewing. Helicopter flights and heli fishing expeditions are available for an extra charge.
For an authentic taste of Outback South Australia look no further than Angorichina Station, a 64,000-hectare sheep farm in the Flinders Ranges.
The Fargher family, which has lived here for four generations, has transformed their historic stone homestead into a luxurious Outback getaway, complete with tastefully decorated guest rooms delicious home-cooked meals. The property can accommodate a maximum of only eight people.
Guests can experience the day-to-day life on a traditional Australian sheep station or book one of many guided tours on offer – these include 4WD adventures, scenic flights, bushwalking expeditions and wildlife spotting. Kangaroos, euros, wallabies, emus and eagles can all be seen on the property.
The owners suggest that guests spend at least three nights at the station to get the most out their visit to this ancient and beguiling landscape – but a couple more nights would be ideal.
For more great wilderness stays explore these exquisite Australian luxury resorts available for booking.
ARTICLE | Celebrating our Top 4 Australian luxury eco-heroes
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Book before 31 March 2022 and receive a special rate for 4 nights at Finniss River Lodge and 2 nights at Adina Apartment Hotel Darwin Waterfront with selected touring.