Embrace the winter chill at these Australian country retreats

As the mercury drops, the need for an escape with roaring fires and indulgent dining takes hold.

By Chris Ashton, June 22 2022
Embrace the winter chill at these Australian country retreats

Winter has well and truly arrived in Australia, and with the cool days, long nights and occasional need for an extra layer of clothing comes a perfect excuse to warm up with a gourmet escape.

And there are some sensational destinations to choose from.

Although our capital cities certainly have winter luxury down to a fine art – we’re looking at you, Melbourne and Hobart – they’re not the only places where we can relax, de-stress, and give your batteries a well-earned midyear recharge. The regions are worth exploring too. 

 

Filled with colourful artworks, Mona Farm is almost like a regional art gallery you can spend the night in.
Filled with colourful artworks, Mona Farm is almost like a regional art gallery you can spend the night in.

With that in mind, here are eight beautiful country estates worth checking into.

 

Osborn House – Southern Highlands, NSW

An eccentric designer retreat where no two rooms are the same, Osborn House is one of the region’s most exciting new additions. Why? Because it’s stunning from top to bottom, breathing new life into a 1892 guesthouse, while adding a lightning bolt of personality. 

Dinah’s is an exclusive dining venue for hotel guests only.
Dinah’s is an exclusive dining venue for hotel guests only.

Featuring 15 luxury suites and seven free-standing cabins, each with a romantic fireplace and balcony bathtub, it’s a masterclass of emotional design, with the award-winning behind it saying you could visit multiple times and have a completely different experience. 

No two guests rooms are the same, making each visit a potentially different experience.
No two guests rooms are the same, making each visit a potentially different experience.

Just two hours from both Sydney and Canberra, with spectacular views to neighbouring Morton National Park, Osborn House is home to two fabulous restaurants – George’s and Dinah’s – as well as a day spa offering acupressure massages, wraps, facials and more.

Pumphouse Point – Central Highlands, TAS

Perched above the sleeping waters of Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake, Pumphouse Point is a unique, former industrial site turned luxury hideaway – a place where visitors can breathe in the surrounding Wilderness World Heritage Area, exploring by day and indulging by night. 

The former industrial site has been transformed into a luxury hideaway.
The former industrial site has been transformed into a luxury hideaway.

Despite its utilitarian role, feeding water into the state’s hydroelectricity network, it was built more like an Art Deco theatre than a remote industrial outpost. This prompted Australian developer Simon Currant AM to embark on an 18 year passion project to transform it. 

Relaxed, share table dinners create a social atmosphere.. Adam Gibson
Relaxed, share table dinners create a social atmosphere.
Adam Gibson

Located around 2 hours 30 minutes from Hobart, the boutique hotel features just 19 rooms in total: including 12 above the water in the Pumphouse and six on land in the Shorehouse, together with a striking one-bedroom hideaway known as The Retreat. 

The Retreat is a gorgeous free-standing hideaway gazing out to the Pumphouse.. Adam Gibson
The Retreat is a gorgeous free-standing hideaway gazing out to the Pumphouse.
Adam Gibson

Relaxing in-house massages, delicious share table dinners, inspiring bushwalks and e-bike rides along trails, and feasts by the fire are just a few ways to fill your days and nights.

Mount Mulligan Lodge – Northern Outback, QLD

Hidden in the rugged bushland of Northern Queensland is perhaps the last place you’d expect to find an all-inclusive luxury resort. But then, Mount Mulligan Lodge, set on an almost 70,000-acre estate 180kms west of Cairns, is no ordinary outback property. 

The lodge is surrounded by dense bushland, some 180kms west of Cairns.
The lodge is surrounded by dense bushland, some 180kms west of Cairns.

Part of the Northern Escape Collection, which operates the similarly enchanting Orpheus Island, the lodge welcomes just 20 guests, with barramundi fishing, chef-prepared picnics, visits to abandoned townships and mines, and stargazing a handful of the activities on offer. 

How's the serenity? Mount Mulligan Lodge offers a chance to get back to nature.
How's the serenity? Mount Mulligan Lodge offers a chance to get back to nature.

There are four stunning room types, with each assigned an electric buggy to help guests zip around between the Main Pavilion and Sunset Bar. There’s also a glamping option too. 

Mount Mulligan Lodge is a rare, precious gem in the outback.
Mount Mulligan Lodge is a rare, precious gem in the outback.

Food and wine are essential elements of the experience, with an extensive wine cellar and menus featuring the likes of kangaroo tataki and grass-fed beef with charred peppers and smoked chimichurri. The seven-course degustation under the stars is a highlight.

Brae Guest Suites – Otways, VIC

Dan Hunter is one of Australia’s most talented chefs. His three-hatted destination restaurant Brae, nestled amid 30 acres of beautiful organic farmland south of Geelong, is regularly named among the best in the country. And it has accommodation onsite too. 

Brae Restaurant is set on an organic farm in Birregurra, approx. 130kms southwest of Melbourne.. Kristoffer Paulsen
Brae Restaurant is set on an organic farm in Birregurra, approx. 130kms southwest of Melbourne.
Kristoffer Paulsen

Rather than dine and dash, Brae Guest Suites invites you to stay on. After a seasonal degustation lunch that showcases local produce, enjoy a stroll through the property, maybe venture out for a drive, and then retire to your environmentally-conscious suite. 

A Thorens turntable and vinyl record collection are on-hand to help set the holiday mood.. Colin Page
A Thorens turntable and vinyl record collection are on-hand to help set the holiday mood.
Colin Page

Filled with custom artworks, each suite features a king bed and stargazing skylight, cocktail bar and vinyl collection, and private outdoor area with views to The Otways. When you wake up, tuck into a house-made breakfast of wood-fired sourdough, pastries and preserves

Mount Lofty House – Adelaide Hills, SA

Just 15 minutes from Adelaide CBD, Mount Lofty House is one of the best luxury hotels in Australia. Built in 1852 as a summer home for a wealthy statesman, the estate exudes heritage charm from all angles. It was also recently named number one hotel in Australasia by TripAdvisor. 

Mount Lofty House is surrounded by botanic gardens and boutique wineries.
Mount Lofty House is surrounded by botanic gardens and boutique wineries.

In addition to 33 guest rooms, the five-star hotel features a late night lounge bar and three-Chef Hatted restaurant Hardy’s Verandah, as well as the pampering Gatekeeper’s Day Spa. There are also extensive gardens to explore, and a library to lose yourself in a good book. 

The view from Hardy's Verandah is a perfect accompaniment to its degustation menus.
The view from Hardy's Verandah is a perfect accompaniment to its degustation menus.

Taking full advantage of its fertile Adelaide Hills location, Hardy’s Verandah plates up seasonal, locally-inspired four- to seven-course degustation menus, paired with a multi-award-winning selection of premium wines and sake, as well as creative cocktails.

Mona Farm – Southern Tablelands, NSW

Mona Farm is much more than a working sheep and cattle station. Set on an historic 124-acre estate at Braidwood, less than an hour from Canberra and three hours from Sydney, it offers an authentic taste of country life with an artistic, modern twist. 

Art is a key element of the regional hotel's experience.
Art is a key element of the regional hotel's experience.

Though dating back to 1836, contemporary art and sculpture form a large part of the Mona Farm DNA, with no less than 18 installations by Australian and international artists dotted throughout the property. The emphasis on art continues with the guest quarters too. 

Guests can enjoy delicious pre-prepared meals by Executive Chef, Tristan Rebbettes.
Guests can enjoy delicious pre-prepared meals by Executive Chef, Tristan Rebbettes.

Each of the six beautifully-restored buildings on the property – including The Homestead built in 1853, and The Coach House built in 1903 – are adorned with beautifully curated art and statement pieces, yet still retain much of their original character and charm. 

One of the oldest buildings at Mona Farm, The Old Stables was built in 1859.
One of the oldest buildings at Mona Farm, The Old Stables was built in 1859.

Feeling peckish? Guests can enjoy delicious pre-prepared meals by Executive Chef, Tristan Rebbettes, one of the finalists in the 2022 Good Food ‘Young Chef of the Year’ Award.

Cape Lodge – Yallingup, WA

On the sunny west coast, there are two words you need to know: Cape Lodge. Three hours south of Perth, enveloped by the acclaimed Margaret River wine region, this local favourite strikes the perfect balance between privacy, relaxation and gourmet delights.

The lodge has 22 secluded rooms and a magnificent 5-bedroom private luxury Residence.
The lodge has 22 secluded rooms and a magnificent 5-bedroom private luxury Residence.

Featuring 22 rooms spaced throughout 40 acres, the hotel welcomes just 44 guests at one time. It also boasts an award-winning restaurant, private vineyard, and inviting pool and day spa. Like every good manor estate, there’s even a croquet court. 

Cape Lodge Restaurant creates French-influenced fare using the fresh produce of the region.
Cape Lodge Restaurant creates French-influenced fare using the fresh produce of the region.

Beyond its stunning lakes and lush gardens, the wonders of Margaret River are within easy reach. Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle Wines, Voyager Estate and Cullen Wines are just a handful of the renowned wineries worth taking time to visit nearby.

Nimbo Fork – Snowy Mountains, NSW

In the foothills of the Snowies, Nimbo Fork is a hidden gem. Though its name might conjure images of a cutlery drawer, the stylish regional estate actually derives its moniker from the fork of the Nimbo Creek and Tumut River, over which it commands impressive views. 

Nimbo Fork takes its name from the fork of Nimbo Creek and Tumut River.
Nimbo Fork takes its name from the fork of Nimbo Creek and Tumut River.

From the moment you set foot on your private deck, relaxation is almost guaranteed. Catering to two guests each, its private cottages and lodge suites are an homage to the elegant Hamptons style, with a creamy neutral palette, accented by wooden floors and exposed beams. 

Rooms are furnished in a simple yet elegant Hamptons style.
Rooms are furnished in a simple yet elegant Hamptons style.

Far from a remote cabin where you need to cart your own food along with you, Nimbo Fork is designed to treat your taste buds too. Fine food and fabulous wine are the name of the game here, with its onsite restaurant helmed by the talented Three Blue Ducks team. 

Although tempting to rug up and stay indoors, particularly as the mercury continues its southern journey, now’s the time to lock in that winter escape – the wine’s not going to pour itself. 


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