The sweet scent of wildflowers fills the air; gardens are ablaze in shades of pink, red, yellow and green. Indeed, spring has finally ‘sprung’ down under. What better way to shake off the winter blues than an escape to the country?
Beyond the capital cities lies a myriad of enchanting high-end hotels and estates, each one tailor-made to help you relax, de-stress, and give those batteries a well-earned recharge for the final push to the year’s end.
The hardest decision is simply where to go.
With that in mind, here are nine beautiful country hotels and retreats worth checking into.
- Blackbird, Byron Bay, NSW
- Osborn House, Southern Highlands, NSW
- Pumphouse Point, Central Highlands, TAS
- Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills, SA
- Mount Mulligan Lodge, Northern Outback, QLD
- Mona Farm, Southern Tablelands, NSW
- Cape Lodge, Yallingup, WA
- Brae Guest Suites, Otways, VIC
- Nimbo Fork, Snowy Mountains, NSW
Blackbird, Byron Bay, NSW
Australia’s most easterly holiday town, Byron Bay requires little introduction. Its beautiful beaches and bars are world-renowned. Yet just a short drive from the coast lies its greatest secret: the emerald green hinterland, dotted with colourful towns and rolling farms.
Blackbird, a luxury bed and breakfast in the hills behind Mullumbimby, is one of the region's most underrated getaways. Accessed via a scenic drive, the former banana farm and packing shed was reborn less than five years ago as a modernist dream of glass and steel.
Adorned with reclaimed timber and polished concrete floors, each of its light and bright pavilions is like the pages of an interior design magazine brought to life. Best of all, every one is angled to take full advantage of sunrise across the Pacific Ocean.
Breakfast is served at the poolside pavilion each morning. While there’s no onsite restaurant, cocktails and seasonal dinners prepared by private chefs can be arranged in advance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is one of the best winery stays in Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking for something a little more extravagant? Take a look at Austrlia’s best luxury hotels and resorts.