This modern, architecturally designed home was constructed from recycled Ghan railway sleepers. Nestled into a tranquil bush setting against a rocky escarpment just outside Alice Springs town centre, the house has four guest rooms, all of which feature sloping ceilings and timber beams.
SOMETHING SPECIAL: Alice Station is popular with overseas visitors, and one look at the backyard will tell you why – it can get absolutely crowded with mobs of visiting kangaroos. Red kangaroos, wallaroos and western and eastern greys all come to have a fossick in the grass. Pink and grey galahs are regular guests here too.
HOW MUCH? Rooms cost from $190 per night per couple.
WHILE YOU’RE HERE: Visit Olive Pink Botanical Gardens (a short walk away); find out about the ancient habitats of the area at Alice Springs Desert Park; shop for art and crafts in Todd Mall; check out the Araluen Arts Centre.
CONTACT: Deborah Rock.
25 The Fairway, Alice Springs.
(08) 8953 6600; www.alicestation.com
EDEN AT FOGG DAM
This is a B&B with a very big difference – the backyard is an extraordinary heritage-listed wildlife sanctuary, Fogg Dam in the Adelaide River wetlands region of the Northern Territory. While the accommodation and decor is basic, it’s clean and comfortable and, really, it’s what’s outside the door that will have the biggest impact.
SOMETHING SPECIAL: Eden at Fogg Dam won Best Hosted Accommodation at the 2010 Northern Territory Tourism Awards. Besides the welcoming, friendly service, there are 230 bird species at Fogg Dam. There are also melaleuca woodlands, lily and lotus-flower-covered flood plains, eucalypt forests, and wildlife including long-necked turtles, frogs, wallabies and dingoes.
HOW MUCH? Tropical Suite: $170 per double room from May to October; $150 per double from November to April. Treetop and Garden View Rooms: $150 May-Oct; $130 Nov-April.
WHILE YOU’RE HERE: Go birdwatching; take the Jumping Crocodiles tour on the Adelaide River; visit Kakadu (88km from the B&B); swim in waterholes and under falls at Litchfield National Park.
CONTACT: Heather Boulden and Jeremy Hemphill. Off The Arnhem Highway between Darwin and Kakadu.
(08) 8988 5599.
Just 10 minutes’ drive out of Darwin, Feathers Sanctuary is a B&B&B – it offers bed, breakfast and birds, and plenty of them. Accommodation comprises four cute private bungalows with massive barn-style doors, corrugated iron roofs and indoor-outdoor bathrooms – because it gets hot up here!
SOMETHING SPECIAL: With a name like Feathers, you would be expecting some local birdlife, but what you find here is just astonishing. There are two large aviaries, but take a walk around the two acres of grounds and you’re likely to see a mix of native and exotic birds roaming around with you, such as ducks, egrets, kingfishers, bustards and brolgas. The owners have also established a breeding program for the rarer species on site.
HOW MUCH? $330 per hut per night. Not only do you get breakfast included: a bottle of wine and cheese platter on arrival are included in the tariff.
WHILE YOU’RE HERE: Visit Mindil Beach Markets; have dinner at the Wharf Precinct; explore Fannie Bay Gaol Museum and the nearby WWII bunkers; go in the Cage of Death at Crocosaurus Cove.
CONTACT: Suzanne and Peter McGrath.
49A Freshwater Road, Jingili, Darwin.
(08) 89852 144; www.featherssanctuary.com