The 6 most romantic winter escapes in Australia
Throw a log on the fire, luxuriate in an outdoor hot tub, open that vintage bottle of red you have been saving for that perfect occasion and enjoy the romantic ambience that only comes with a winter escape, writes Natarsha Brown.
Winter is well and truly upon us and Australians who can’t make it to Europe this season are retreating across the country for micro trips while they wait out the colder months. Here are the most romantic escapes around Australia to hibernate with your loved one this winter.
Mt Mulligan Lodge
Mt Mulligan Lodge, the latest addition to the Northern Escape Collection, has recently opened in outback Far North Queensland, providing a secluded escape in an area rich in Australian history. Remotely located west of Cairns, the lodge is accessible via a 30-minute scenic helicopter ride or 2.5-hour 4WD adventure. Situated at the base of Mount Mulligan, the entirely private 28,000-hectare property bears the marks of the historic gold and coal rush and in its current operation, as a working cattle station, the pastoral history of Australia. Ensuring an intimate escape, the lodge accommodates just 16 guests at any one time. Winter packages include on-site gourmet meals, a personal electric buggy at your disposal to explore the sprawling property with ease and unlimited use of kayaks and fishing gear to enjoy the property’s weir.
Is there anything more romantic than a weekend spent in the desert overlooking the changing colours and grandeur of Uluru? The World Heritage-listed icon has attained the status of a pilgrimage and the Longitude 131° allows you to do it in style. Experience the stillness and immensity of our Red Centre while soaking in a private hot tub, indulging in meals prepared by Executive Chef Matthias Beer, enjoying sunset drinks and canapes on the deck or walking among Bruce Munro’s internationally acclaimed solar installation Field of Light.
The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa
Fast becoming an icon on the northern New South Wales coast, The Byron at Byron Resort & Spa is set within an 18-hectare rainforest and is home to 91 sumptuous, entirely self-contained private sanctuaries. A guest favourite is the sparkling infinity pool in the heart of the property, which is the perfect place for sunset cocktails. While at the resort be sure to visit the multi-award-winning spa, dine at the world-class restaurant or do some celebrity spotting, the space a favourite among the likes of Chris Hemsworth.
Berkeley River Lodge
If there is one place in Australia to truly escape for a remote romantic weekend, it’s Berkeley River Lodge. Perched at the mouth of the Berkeley River as it meets the Timor Sea, guests arrive via private charter form Darwin, landing on the lodge’s red-dirt airstrip. The 20 standalone villas are perched 105 metres high on sand dunes overlooking the ocean beyond and include private outdoor open-air bathrooms so you can bathe beneath the incredible starry night sky of the Kimberley. Winter is the best time of year to visit this region, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, with most guest activities focused on the great outdoors, such as scenic helicopter rides, river cruises, guided nature tours and 4WD sunset rides.
Southern Ocean Lodge
Luxury and remoteness combined in the most literal sense, Southern Ocean Lodge took 10 years to be finished and the results are self-explanatory. Perched precariously atop the cliff face of South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, a stay here is seclusion and nature at its best with the floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing you to relax with a book or a glass of wine in front to the oceans of the vast Great Australian Bight. The produce to plate ethos of Executive Chef Asher Blackford means a daily changing menu and signature excursions include spotting sea lions at Seal Bay, walking among the limestone rocks of Flinders Chase National Park and visits to meet local artists.
Nestled among the bush and beaches of Jervis Bay – and just a two-hour drive south of Sydney – Paperbark Camp is the perfect place to enjoy some uninterrupted time with nature. The canvas-style safari tents are built above ground among the eucalypts and paperbarks and feature one-of-a-kind amenities, such as wraparound decks and open-air private ensuites. The on-site restaurant and communal lounge, the Gunyah, serves a set menu of Australian fare and includes specialities such as house cured kangaroo bresaola, butter poached fish of the day, blue swimmer crab with fennel puree and braised Junee lamb neck. During the cooler months a crackling and cosy campfire is lit, hot water bottles are stocked and the beds made with extra blankets – not to mention this time of year is prime whale-watching season.