Australia's best lodges and resorts

Their unique settings, diversity of experiences and unbridled extravagance set the standard for elite accommodation in this country.

Take Southern Ocean Lodge, the 21-suite ridgetop retreat that embraces Kangaroo Island's great outdoors from the exquisite comfort of its great indoors. Or Saffire, which has put Tasmania on the global indulgence map with its combination of cinematic Freycinet Peninsula views, top-flight cuisine and imaginative interiors.

One&Only set a new pace in the élite-escapes race when it relaunched Hayman Island resort in July 2014. After an $80 million renovation, Hayman's 160 rooms, suites and penthouses look more appealing than ever. The super-luxury operator has also assumed management of the Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, so expect similar excellence at this wilderness station at the base of the World Heritage Blue Mountains.

Set in red desert sands within sight of Uluru, Longitude 131° looks set to reclaim its crown as the jewel of the outback with new owners Baillie Lodges refurbishing its 15 stylish tents, adding new canopy suites (with fireplaces!) and a dune-top infinity pool.

Cicada Lodge in the Northern Territory also offers front-row seats on the outback - in this case on ancient Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge). The lodge is Indigenous-owned so local Jawoyn people guide the experience, from sunset dinner cruises to desert encounters with 40,000-year-old rock art.



Given our seemingly infinite coastline, it's not surprising many of Australia's best addresses can be found beside the beach. Or, in the case of Lizard Island, beside 24 private beaches on the Great Barrier Reef. Fresh from its post-cyclone renewal, Lizard has all-new facilities and accommodaton and The Villa, a lavish, two-bedroom lookout over the Coral Sea.

Qualia still commands a peerless presence on its Hamilton Island paradise. Guests at its 60 sundeck-or-pool pavilions are entertained with a program of culinary, fashion and arts events.

This year also marks the return, after a sharp restoration, of Pretty Beach House on the New South Wales Central Coast (pictured above). Managed by the team behind Bells at Killcare, guests staying in its four striking pavilions dine on Stefano Manfredi's cuisine while drinking in views of the Bouddi Peninsula.

Beach holidays never looked so good.



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