From casual campgrounds to luxury hotels, here are our picks for the best stays this summer.
Newly opened The Pause is a breath of fresh air, both aesthetically and figuratively. Located in the relaxed South Coast town of Gerringong, this guesthouse offers a relaxed summer break with a luxury edge.
Best beach house stay… The PAUSE. (Image: Mitch Fong GUD Studio)
What to expect: A five-bedroom guesthouse just walking distance from Gerringong, a pretty enclave that combines excellent surf beaches and rolling green hills. There’s a bunk bedroom for kids, a large kitchen and dining space that spills into the lawn area (hello balmy summer evenings) and a solar-heated pool.
The PAUSE boasts all the comforts of home. (Image: Mitch Fong GUD Studio)
Why we picked it: Casual yet chic, the former farmhouse turned guesthouse was painstakingly restored with an exotic aesthetic that takes its cues from Indonesia, The Bahamas and Singapore. The setting, however, is classically Australian: it’s just a hop, skip and jump to the vast sands of Werri Beach and tranquil Boat Harbour swimming spot.
The luxurious bathroom at The PAUSE. (Image: Mitch Fong GUD Studio)
Conscious Traveller tip: Consider small details – such as the bathroom amenities – when choosing accommodation. The Pause bathrooms are stocked with Ena products, which don’t contain any nasty chemicals and aren’t tested on animals. And, for every online order, $1 is donated to charity i=change.
Noa by the Beach, Noosa, Queensland
This bright and airy six-bedroom coastal home is nestled between the quiet and calm suburb of Little Cove and breathtaking Noosa National Park, just minutes from Noosa Main Beach.
Noa by the Beach, Noosa, Queensland
Eco Beach Houses, Broome, WA
South of WA’s striking Kimberley region, Eco Beach Resort has two beach houses that sit perched on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. Both sleep six people and are part of the multi-award-winning resort that also includes a day spa, restaurant and unforgettable outdoor experiences.
Whatever (or whoever) you’re hiding from this summer, Bruny Island Hideaway is the place to retreat to. This tiny home is nestled amid 40 hectares of conservation forest on Tasmania’s picturesque Bruny Island.
Best tiny home stay… Bruny Island Hideaway, Tasmania
Bruny Island Hideaway provides a true off-grid experience.
What to expect: A super cute minimalist tiny home that sleeps two guests in a king-sized bed, a kitchen and sleek bathroom. While it feels a million miles from civilisation, it’s actually just a few kilometres from the town of Alonnah.
Why we picked it: It’s a true off-grid experience with limited water and power but an abundance of beauty and calm with birdlife and wallabies are your only company. It oozes design cred, has all the conveniences you need, and a stunning outdoor bath to soak in.
Conscious Traveller tip: Purchase local provisions before your arrival to support the island’s producers, including local artisan cheese, oysters and wine.
Sky Pods, Cape Otway, Victoria
Off the beaten track on Victoria’s rugged western coast, Sky Pods are two luxury cabins located on a huge 200-hectare wildlife refuge with floor-to-ceiling windows capturing views of the Southern Ocean.
Hidden Cabins, Perth surrounds, WA
Located in secret off-the-grid locations within two hours of Perth’s CBD that are confirmed just prior to arrival, Hidden Cabins offer the best opportunity for some summer spontaneity. (Set to open its doors November 2020)
Nestled in 60 hectares of Kangaroo Island wilderness that was thankfully spared from the 2020 bushfires, Ecopia Retreat is a contemporary off-grid stay that provides seclusion and sustainability without forgoing creature comforts.
Best rural stay… Ecopia Retreat, Kangaroo Island, SA. (Image: South Australia Tourism Commission)
What to expect: Two rammed earth villas that sleep two as well as a three-bedroom residence, a 35-minute drive from the main township of Kingscote. The accommodation is self-contained though food hampers featuring local gourmet goodies can be arranged.
Inside the rooms at Ecopia Retreat. (Image: Wandering Wilsons)
Why we picked it: Ecopia Retreat presents a unique KI countryside experience while still an easy drive from the coast. Each accommodation has sweeping views of the rugged landscape, which is frequented by local kangaroos and even the endangered red tail glossy black cockatoo.
Conscious Traveller tip: If you want to spot wildlife at night, there is a special torch provided in your villa that has red and green lights to ensure you don’t disturb them.
Lon Retreat, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria
Sitting high on a hill with the ocean in the distance, Lon Retreat is an incredible adult’s only retreat comprising seven exquisitely designed suites and a day spa.
Cosy up by the fireplace at Lon Retreat. (Image: Nikole Ramsay)
The Eastern, Thredbo NSW
The Snowy Mountains is an excellent summer destination with mountain biking, trail hiking and beautiful scenery, and The Eastern has the sleekest accommodation in the village, with two luxe villas that sleep two.
The Eastern cabin in the snow at Thredbo is all kinds of magical. (Image: Monique Easton)
Rottnest Island is a dreamy summer location, with white sands and cerulean waters, and its newest stay Samphire is an ultra-chic resort that opened in October.
Best island stay… Samphire Resort, Rottnest Island, WA
What to expect: A beachfront resort with an understated luxurious design, dining options, a beach club, and views of the sparkling Indian Ocean. It’s located in the heart of Thomson Bay, next to iconic Hotel Rottnest.
Stay on absolute beachfront on Rottnest Island at Samphire Resort.
Why we picked it: Where else can you experience an island paradise just a short ferry ride from the mainland? Brand-new resort Samphire is one for the luxury lovers with a cool Greek Islands vibe to match the inviting Mediterranean climate.
Conscious Traveller tip: Rottnest Island is known for its cute-as-a-button quokkas who are usually more than happy to pose for a selfie with you, however touching them and feeding them (including drinking water, which can cause toxicity) is not permitted.
Elysian Retreat, Long Island, Queensland
The most secluded and sustainable island retreat in the Whitsundays (running off 100 per cent solar power), Elysian is a luxurious all-inclusive stay catering to just 20 guests in calming oceanfront villas.
The exclusive oceanfront villas of Elysian Retreat on Long Island in Queensland.
Arajilla Retreat, Lord Howe Island, NSW
Iconic Lord Howe Island is a nature lovers’ utopia and, nestled under a canopy of Kentia Palms and Banyan Trees, Arajilla is one of the island’s coveted stays. It has 12 exclusive suites, a restaurant and day spa.
A run-down Sunshine Coast motel turned stylish boutique stay, Loea Hotel was inspired by warm breezy summer days.
Best hotel… the Loea Hotel, Maroochydore, Queensland
What to expect: An intimate hotel with 10 fresh coastal-style guest rooms, a magnesium swimming pool and a vintage food truck. Loea is located across from the Maroochy River and offers free bike hire to explore the local area.
Inside the coastal-style guest rooms of Loea Hotel.
Why we picked it: We love seeing the country’s drab motels turned into fab stays and Loea is one of the best. The coastal style is what summer vacays are made of and the location makes it easy to explore Sunshine Coast gems such as Cotton Tree, an enclave that sits between the ocean and river.
Conscious Traveller tip: Dine at the hotel’s vintage food truck, which stocks locally sourced food and drink including super delicious gourmet boxes that you can pre-order.
Dine at the Loea Hotel’s vintage food truck on site.
Macq01, Hobart, Tasmania
Set on Hobart’s bustling Salamanca Wharf, Macq01 is Hobart’s ‘storytelling’ hotel with each sophisticated suite inspired by the tale of a Tasmanian local. The hotel also has an elegant restaurant and bar, gym, and Tesla charging station to encourage sustainable travel around Tasmania.
Macq01 is set on Hobart’s bustling Salamanca Wharf.
The Ville, Townsville, Queensland
Adding a touch of Palm Springs to Townsville, The Ville is a hip and happening casino hotel with a number of excellent dining venues and a swim-up bar where you can while away summer days.
The standout views from The Ville’s pool.
Eschew a traditional houseboat on the legendary Murray River for this unique and comfy floating ‘cube’ that allows you to sit and watch river life go by.
What to expect: A container converted to a modern floating studio with a queen bed, kitchenette, bathroom and deck. The Cube is located on the banks of the Murray River at White Sands, 80 kilometres south-east of Adelaide.
Why we picked it: You can’t get much closer to the river unless you’re cruising it. In summer, The Cube is the perfect spot to observe bustling river life and the best spot to do this is from the swinging egg chairs on the deck. Kayaks are provided for river adventures.
Conscious Traveller tip: It goes without saying that you shouldn’t dispose of rubbish – of any kind – in the Murray River. If you see something floating in the river, do your bit and dispose of it properly.
Amira Houseboat, Gold Coast, Queensland
Summer and the Gold Coast go hand-in-hand but venture beyond the glitz and glamour of Surfers Paradise to explore its relaxing inland waterways on board the contemporary and homely Amira Houseboat.
Watershed, Hawkesbury River, NSW
Explore the tranquil Hawkesbury River just north of Sydney on board Watershed, a modern solar-powered catamaran that sleeps six guests and has a kitchen and alfresco upper deck to enjoy the summer sunshine.
On the edge of Kakadu National Park, Bamurru Plains is where the term ‘wild bush luxury’ was coined. This safari lodge offers an ultimate wilderness experience without compromising on the finer things.
Best glamping… Bamurru Plains, Kakadu, NT. (Image: Archie Sartracom)
What to expect: Nine safari bungalows built on stilts overlooking the flood plains of the Mary River in the NT’s Top End. There’s also gourmet dining created from local produce and an infinity pool to cool down and soak up the tranquillity.
Why we picked it: Each bungalow has mesh walls that gives guests the feeling of sleeping in the wild. We also love its array of outdoor experiences from airboat safaris to indigenous cultural activities and quad bike adventures.
Try the airboat safaris at Bamurru Plains.
Conscious Traveller tip: When purchasing souvenirs, consider local and authentic indigenous hand-made products and art. Browse the lodge’s gift shop or, if you’re exploring Kakadu National Park, head to the Warradjan Cultural Centre.
Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef, WA
Sal Salis is an all-inclusive eco camp located on a remote stretch of WA’s Ningaloo Coast and comprises 15 luxurious wilderness tents that look over the Indian Ocean.
Luxury glamping at its best in Sal Salis, Ningaloo.
Nest and Nature, Inman Valley, SA
One hour south of Adelaide and 15 minutes from Victor Harbor, Nest and Nature is a secluded and romantic off-grid suite, perched high on a hill with views of the ocean and rolling hillside.
Two hours from Canberra, NRMA Murramarang Beachfront Holiday Resort is what classic seaside breaks are made of with absolute ocean frontage.
Best caravan park… NRMA Murramarang, South Coast, NSW
What to expect: A holiday resort with a range of accommodation options including new luxe safari tents, villas and traditional camping. Located on the beautiful NSW South Coast in the sleepy town of South Durras, it’s a stone’s throw from the ocean and surrounded by national park.
Why we picked it: This is the ultimate family pleaser: kids will love the playground, water park and go-karts while the adults will love the pool bar, incredible ocean views and peaceful vibe. The surrounding national park is home to kangaroos who are often seen lazing and grazing about the holiday park and on the pristine beach.
There is plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy during a stay at NRMA Murramarang.
Conscious Traveller tip: The NSW South Coast was significantly affected by the 2020 bushfires; venture out to nearby town Batemans Bay and spend with the local businesses there to help support their recovery.
Red Bluff, Ningaloo National Park, WA
Located at the southern tip of Ningaloo National Park, Red Bluff is a remote campground set within a striking landscape where the desert meets the sea. Visitors can camp or stay in a luxury bungalow or retreat.
Habitat Noosa, Noosa, Queensland
A short drive north of Noosa, Habitat is a campground located in the serene Noosa Everglades with camping and glamping options and a range of eco-based activities such as a wilderness cruise and rainforest walks.
Visit our Reclaim Summer hub for more ways to experience the best of summer.
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