With travellers staying a little closer to home and COVID restrictions easing, it’s time to plan to head outside and experience the great outdoors and get ready to start exploring very soon. Australia is a vast and beautiful place with hidden gems that are waiting to be uncovered. Here are our top 10 picks for you.
1. Homestay in Arnhem Land, Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory
Arnhem Land is an area the size of Scotland and Wales combined, where access by non-Aboriginal peoples is by permit only. It is a country within a country and the last corner of ancient Australia. Here, you can still apply in court to spear a man if he wrongs you. In this chunk of land, you are now offered the chance to live and learn, with Australia’s indigenous locals. Home stay options are available for a fully immersive experience.
2. Barn Hill Beach Side Station Stay, Kimberley, Western Australia
Only in the Kimberley can you find a cattle station overlooking the Indian Ocean and beachside accommodation that is technically in the outback. At Barn Hill you can play outback lawn bowls, go fishing, enjoy the famous home-cooked roast on a Sunday, explore the sandstone pinnacles, play bingo, potter around the rockpools and shower under the stars. What more could you want from a relaxing holiday? If you are driving just note that the last 10 kilometres of the journey is by 4WD access only, but that is what makes this place truly special.
3. Banubanu, Bremer Island, Northern Territory
An eco-wilderness retreat just a 15 minute flight in a light aircraft from Gove Airport, Banubanu is part of a greater arena of beautiful offshore islands in the Arafura Sea. Nestled into the sand dunes on the north tip of Bremer Island between two pristine beaches and rocky headlands there are plenty of activities for the whole family including fishing, five star cruises, exploring the white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, to watching the sunsets.
4. Nightfall Wilderness Camp, Queensland
In a relatively untouched pocket of paradise, Nightfall’s luxury tent camp sits beside the crystal-clear tumbling headwaters of Christmas Creek and Queensland’s ancient Lamington National Park rainforests. The nightfall ‘glamping’ experience redefines luxury through architect-inspired, hand-built, permanent safari tents; sumptuous fire-cooked cuisine and the relaxed feeling of staying with old friends. Heart, body and spirit are nurtured through a tonic of immersion in nature, serene nights under-the-stars and the intimacy of a well-spaced luxury tent accommodation (with fireplaces for winter).
5. St Jeromes – The Hotel, Melbourne, Victoria
The last place you’d expect to find a campground is in the middle of the Melbourne CBD, but here it is – stretching over a concrete roof off Level 3 of the vast Melbourne Central shopping mall. St Jerome’s spreads out into two sections – the ‘West Wing’ and ‘East Wing’ – divided by a raised skylight. The whole area has been astroturfed, with rows of tents alongside walkways dotted with benches and potted plants. Each of the larger Luxe Plus tents has its own patio, set with Acapulco chairs and a small table, along with random animal statues. In one corner of the property is the General Store, a hut-like structure which serves as a café-bar. The view is impressive, taking in the extravagant facade of the former Myer building (now Emporium Melbourne), as well as towering modern buildings all around. Some essentials are provided with your stay including thongs and gumboots, along with a Samsung tablet and free wifi. An esky sits on a table, containing complimentary beer from the local Temple Brewing Company and boutique soft drinks. Also complimentary are two packs of beer snacks.
6. Enchanted Love Cave, Bilpin, New South Wales
The Love Cave is a place to cook simply, relax easily and love your partner. This cave comes with a relaxing spa while you watch the afternoon clouds roll over the mountains. Then as daylight fades the fireplace provides a warm and comforting light that dances across the rock walls. To top it off the sounds of the river will provide you with nature’s natural music. This in a primitive utopia, a glimpse of the primeval earth untouched and unspoilt by humans from an age far gone.
7. The Trilby, New South Wales
For a heavy dose of Australiana, you need to leave the comfort zone of the big cities, head out into the middle of nowhere and stay in the sort of place where no man is without a big hat and 200 head of cattle. The Trilby Station is in NSW’s deepest, darkest, outback and promises a real cowboy experience. Their station has self-drive tours, complete with comprehensive trip notes for activities including fishing, canoeing and birdwatching. Here you can also enjoy approximately 10 kilometres of bush running, walking, cycling or driving tracks that meander amongst the river red gums – or observe seasonal station activities. If you really want to get involved you can also volunteer your time to work on the station and they will provide you with the perfect location to set up home for a few days or weeks.
8. Old Mount Gambier Jail, South Australia
After closing its doors as a prison the Old Mount Gambier Jail was converted into a hostel with some of the creature comforts that its former residents did not enjoy. However there is still no mistaking the fact that you’re sleeping in a former prison cell. A tour is available which shows the areas that were used as mess halls, exercise yards and last refuge for those condemned to hang. This one is definitely an out of the box experience.
9. Karijini Eco Retreat, Pilbara, Western Australia
This tented camp in the Karijini National Park is the park’s first luxury tented accommodation. It is owned and run by the local Gumala Aboriginal Corporation which represents the collective interests of the Niapiali, Bunjima and Innawonga Aboriginal people of the Pilbara region. Experience a unique Outback fusion menu and the chance to explore Karijini’s dramatic creeks, gorges and sheer chasms up to 100 metres deep.
10. Dirk Hartog Island, Western Australia
An Eco Lodge with a Castaway vibe, Dirk Hartog Island Eco Lodge is a rustic retreat where guests can escape, discover and explore. Sitting just off the coast of Denham and part of the Shark Bay World Heritage area, this ‘conservation ark’ is teeming with dugongs, loggerhead turtles and sea birds The six guest rooms and private villa blend simple elegance with luxury and comfort, offering stunning ocean views.
Looking for more unique accommodation within Australia to include in your travels or want more info on the above? Contact our team.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.