Ten uniquely Australian travel experiences

From a former cattle station gone luxe to a property literally on a lake, here are some of Australia's most unique travel experiences.

Lizard Island, QLD
Fresh from a year-long renovation after Cyclone Ita, Australia's most enchanting tropical island is open for business again beside the Great Barrier Reef. As expensive as it is exclusive, Lizard offers 40 shorefront suites, a new two-bedroom villa perched over the Coral Sea, and VIP access to the World Heritage-listed wonders of the reef.

Pebbly Beach, NSW
A beach picnic with kangaroos for company? Only in Australia, and only at Pebbly Beach in the Murramarang National Park, 275km south of Sydney. Book one of the 20 coastal campsites for front-row access to the grassy foreshore and its resident eastern greys, and fill the days with swimming, hiking, fishing and barbecuing.

El Questro Wilderness Park, WA
This former Kimberley cattle station has a 400,000-hectare backyard brimming with waterfalls and gorges, majestic boabs and wilderness walks through the heart of the Australian outback. Accommodation suits all classes of adventurer, from $3,000-a-night homestead suites to camping beside the Pentecost River. Don't mind the crocodiles.

Pumphouse Point, TAS
In the morning mists, the Tasmanian Hydro pumphouse hovers above Lake St Clair like an Art Deco apparition. There's much to admire about Tasmania's latest standout property, with World Heritage-listed wilderness at your back door, open-fire comfort indoors, hearty meals and the thrill of being in the one of the world's most primitive beauty spots.

Great Ocean Road, VIC
Yes, the views are spectacular and the Southern Ocean spray is a bracing tonic to 21st century life. But the Great Ocean Road's arresting panoramas and windswept coastline are just part of its attractions. There's also great eating and drinking along the route and unique accommodation - try Pebble Point's luxury tents or commune with rescued joeys at the Cape Otway Centre for Conservation Ecology.

Cicada Lodge, NT
Fly with indigenous Jawoyn guides to rarely visited, 40,000-year-old rock art sites. Feast on native foods such as bush bananas and freshwater prawns. Canoe the ancient waterways of the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, then bed down beside its sandstone flanks in this 18-room lodge with all modern comforts in the heart of an ancient land.

Spa Country, VIC
European migrants in the 19th century were the first to discover the restorative qualities of the mineral springs that bubble from the ground in central Victoria. Today the twin resort towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs brim with spa retreats, grand gold-rush architecture and fine dining with a distinct Swiss-Italian accent thanks to the area's earliest settlers.

Arkaba Station, SA
Experience ultimate isolation at this former sheep station in the remarkable Flinders Ranges, where just 10 guests have 26,000 hectares to roam on four-day walks between Wilpena Pound and the restored 1851 homestead. There's rich wildlife and dramatic landscapes, excellent camp catering and the most luxurious, starlit swags ever seen in the Australian bush.

Ningaloo Reef, WA
The biggest attractions of this 260km fringing reef off the mid-north coast of Western Australia are whale sharks; hundreds arrive to feed in the krill-laden waters each year between April and July. While swimming alongside six-metre mammoths is a heart-stopping experience, Ningaloo's submarine wonders extend to humpback whales, manta rays, dugongs and turtles.

Sydney Harbour, NSW
Few things feel as good as waking to million-dollar views on Sydney Harbour. Watch the Opera House shimmer from your bed at the Park Hyatt; admire the eagle-eye views from the Intercontinental's rooftop Club Lounge; or keep tabs on the comings and goings of city ferries from the balconies of the Pullman East Circular Quay.

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