Australia's most unique places to stay
12:00AM, Nov 16, 2015
Australia's rich diversity of landscapes is matched only by
its array of singular places to stay.
Glam camps are our strong suit, ranging from the fan-cooled Kenyan tents pitched in Wilpena Pound at South Australia's Ikara Safari Camp to the allure of Sal Salis in Western Australia's Cape Range National Park, its solar-powered tents right next to the real-life aquarium of Ningaloo Reef.
Given the extraordinary geography of the Top End, it's no surprise some of our most memorable holiday escapes are found in the Northern Territory. At Bamurru Plains guests stay in stilted cabins beside the Mary River wetlands, home to floodplains of water lilies, the world's highest concentration of saltwater crocs and a million magpie geese. Guests staying in the 10 cabins and 15 tents of the nearby Wildman Wilderness Lodge combine adventures in the wetlands and Kakadu National Park with the creature comforts of an on-site restaurant, lounge bar and pool.
At the gateway to South Australia's remote Gawler Ranges, you'll find the eclectic Kangaluna Camp tucked in ancient dunes among red mallees and inquisitive wildlife. Many miles from civilisation, the emphasis here is on relaxation, exploration, and exhilaration.
On the edge of the Barossa Valley, an 1856 Victorian mansion that once starred in McLeod's Daughters is now a seven-suite heritage hotel. Kingsford Homestead is a sandstone oasis of airy verandahs, open fires and a cellar stocked with notable South Australian vintages.
On the New South Wales coast, not far from Hyams Beach (famous for having the whitest sand in the world), Paperbark Camp is a tented bush retreat like no other. Eco-conscious, solar-fuelled and elevated among the eucalypts, these upmarket quarters appeal with their candlelit dinners and coastal beauty.
It's now two years old but Hobart's Omnipod is still at the vanguard of quirky Australian accommodation. A cube set atop a city building, this glass-walled, two-bedroom apartment "hotel" dazzles with panoramic views over the colonial capital and the River Derwent. Indoors, thoughtful pantry provisions and considered interiors (hello, Huon pine hot tub!) await to satisfy the most discerning global nomads. As with so many of the country's special places to stay, it feels like a privilege to be here.