The best hotels in Australia aren’t just places to rest your head. Whether you want to spend your holiday snorkelling, surfing, golfing or simply indulging in the very best yoga and spa treatments, there’s a resort that can help make your dreams a reality.
Yoga: Gaia Retreat & Spa, Byron Bay, NSW
Where better to get centred than the wellness mecca of Byron Bay? At Gaia Retreat & Spa you can work on your downward dogs at the Samira Yoga Lookout, which sits atop the highest point in Ballina Shire and overlooks the rolling mountains below. The vantage point makes a particularly awe-inspiring spot to enjoy a sunrise or sunset class with a personal instructor.
Golf: Barnbougle, Tasmania
Barnbougle isn’t a resort that just happens to have a great golf course, it’s purpose-built as a golfing destination. Its two courses are consistently ranked as Australia’s best and were designed to resemble the traditional courses of Scotland and Ireland – with the added bonus of Tasmania’s north-east coast as a natural backdrop. Perfect your driving skills pre-game with a professional lesson on site and wind down in the Dunes Clubhouse, which overlooks Barbougle’s secluded beach.
Surfing: Halcyon House, Cabarita, NSW
Set on the shores of Cabarita Beach – one of Australia’s best surf spots – Halcyon House is an ideal getaway for those chasing the waves. Visit uncrowded beaches and enjoy tailored surf lessons run by a local operator. The latter is tailored to your skill level so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a total grommet or a seasoned pro.
Horse riding: Bogong Horseback Adventures, Bright, Victoria
Traverse the mountain valleys of north-east Victoria on horseback with Bogong Horseback Adventures, whose experienced staff will escort you on guided rides through High Country. By night, pull up stumps at its on-site accommodation, where spacious private rooms overlook the peaks of Mount Feathertop and Mount Bogong. Packages include two days of accommodation, catered meals and a half-day ride.
Snorkelling: Daydream Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
If it’s snorkelling you’re after, a trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a no brainer. Base yourself than Daydream Island, the recently refurbished 4.5-star resort where you’re only a short boat trip away from the world’s most spectacular coral reef. You even have the option of donning the goggles and fins and hopping in the Living Reef, Daydream’s free-form coral lagoon, home to starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs and more than 100 unique species of fish. It’s a relaxed introduction to snorkelling for those not quite ready to tackle the ocean.
Spa getaway: Injidup Spa Retreat, Margaret River, WA
If your ideal holiday involves not doing much at all, check into Western Australia’s Injidup Spa Retreat. Its 10 adults-only luxury villas are set on a secluded beach in the Margaret River, steps from the incredible day spa. Sign up for its four-hour “Tranquillity” experience for a detoxifying body wrap, massage, facial and hydrotherapy spa bath – including champagne, fruit and chocolate.
Kayaking: Calabash Bay Lodge, Berowra Waters, NSW
Explore one of the country’s most beautiful waterways at your own pace with a stay at Calabash Bay Lodge. This exclusive rental property (accessible only by boat or seaplane) offers kayaks so you can float down the Hawkesbury River, poking around adjoining creeks and looking up at the tributary’s surrounding sandstone cliffs.
Wildlife watching: Bamurru Plains, Northern Territory
You don’t need to leave the country for a safari-style experience. At Bamurru Plains in the NT you’ll get to visit 300 square kilometres of floodplains and savannah woodland on the Mary River, set on the edge of Kakadu National Park. This wilderness is home to a range of birds and wildlife (including one of the largest crocodile populations in the world) that you can see on guided walks and game drives. By night, rest your head in one of the 10 luxury bungalows.
Hiking: Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, SA
It would take five days to complete the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail in one hit. But by booking a stay at the Southern Ocean Lodge, you can break the route into segments with drives to and from trailheads each day. That way, you’ll get to recharge in style with a spa bath, massage and a meal at the on-site restaurant, which crafts nightly four-course menus from locally sourced ingredients.
Hot air ballooning: Balgownie Estate, Yarra Valley, Victoria
Rise with the sun for a bird’s-eye view of the vines and mountains of the Yarra Valley. Balgownie Estate can arrange hot air balloon rides that end with a champagne breakfast at its restaurant. Linger at the day spa or stay the night in one of plush rooms.