There are countless clever ways to get a taste of Australia’s most exclusive hotels, wineries and restaurants without burning an enormous hole in your wallet – if you know where to look. After all, sometimes luxury is about the little things.
Taste-test caviar at The Mayflower, Sydney, NSW
The white sterling sturgeon caviar tasting plate ($30) at this hip inner-city café and bar is rich on the palate but you needn’t be loaded to try it. It comes with all the traditional trimmings, including chopped egg, creme fraiche and blinis.
Take a private swim tour with Live Ningaloo on the Coral Coast, WA
Image credit: Katia Benini/Live Ningaloo
This exclusive tour company allows no more than 10 guests at a time on its custom 12-metre vessel, which features a spacious guest saloon. Depending on the time of year, you can expect to swim with sea turtles, whale sharks or humpback whales (from $200).
Drink in the view from One Tree Hill on Hamilton Island, Queensland
Sometimes, the best things in life really are free. With vast vistas to the aqua-blue horizon, this popular vantage point offers an incredible view of the spectacular Whitsundays sunset. The only costs? A DIY picnic spread or cocktail from the nearby bar.
Watch the sun set over Uluru at the Sounds of Silence dinner, NT
Nothing can prepare you for the staggering sight of the Rock changing colours, from blazing crimson as the sun goes down to deep purples and black as the stars start to shine. This intimate sit-down dinner is a front-row ticket (from $225) to one of the most awe-inspiring natural events on earth.
Order Grange by the glass at Penfolds Magill Estate, South Australia
Just 15 minutes from the Adelaide CBD, Penfolds Magill Estate is one of the world’s few urban vineyards. It’s also home to one of the most storied wine experiences you’ll find anywhere – a chance to try a single glass of Australia’s most revered wine, the heritage-listed Grange. Order a glass alongside a cheese flight and savour it overlooking the vines.
Dine in privacy at Ovolo Nishi, Canberra, ACT
Even if you haven’t booked one of this boutique hotel’s plush, artistic suites you can still enjoy its top-class hospitality as part of the unique Restaurant in Room experience (from $219). Your own butler delivers three or five gourmet courses from the hotel’s lauded restaurant, Monster Kitchen & Bar, to your table in a private apartment as you admire the twinkling lights of the city’s famous landmarks.
Indulge in a revitalising spa treatment at Cradle Mountain Lodge, Tasmania
You don’t need to be a guest at this luxury wilderness retreat to book a facial or massage at its in-house Waldheim Alpine Spa. For couples, reserve time at the Private Sanctuary (from $120), which includes an outdoor hot tub, sauna and steam room with tranquil forest and river views.
Relax in a pool cabana at the Riley, Cairns, Queensland
With your poolside host taking care of food, drinks and towels you’ll need nothing more than a swimsuit and sunnies when you hire a full-service cabana for the day at this chic waterfront hotel. Best of all it’s open to everyone, not just hotel guests (from $249).
Take high tea at COMO The Treasury, Perth, WA
A classic afternoon tea of sandwiches and patisseries rich with the flavours and produce of Western Australia, served in a heritage building and surrounded by sublime Australian art. It’s hard to think of a more elegant way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon (from $60).
Taste Michelin-starred cuisine at Paste in Mittagong, NSW
Just because the Michelin guide doesn’t service Australia, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat food cooked by chefs who have attracted its attention. Chef Bee Satongun earned a coveted star for her flagship Bangkok restaurant and has recently opened an offshoot in NSW’s Southern Highlands, serving exquisite Thai banquets using top-shelf Australian produce.