Saffire FreycinetSaffire Freycinet

Posted in Retreats,  

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you will know that I tend to visit a lot of lodge-style accommodations. I’m a sucker for the countryside, loving green weekend escapes as a way to unwind and restore, and a big part of the comforting country experience is the accommodation – cosy and warm wooden lodges, to be precise. These are the hotels that make you want to grab a glass pinot noir and a good book and forget about your worries as you settle into a cushy seat in front a crackling fireplace, cocooned by the warm wooden interior (chesterfield lounge optional).

Over the years I’ve checked into The Old Bank, Woodman Estate, Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort, and The Marlborough Lodge, among many others. These hotels all have beautiful, home-style interiors in common that focus on the use of natural materials, especially wood, to create a feeling of comfort and earthiness. After all, nothing says the country quite like antique furniture, floorboards, and my personal favourite: gable roofs.

But if I’m honest, I know that olde worlde style accommodations are not everyone’s cup of tea – my sister, for example has an aversion to places like this, instead choosing to spend her holiday breaks in super-contemporary pads by the beach. But who says you can’t have the comfort of a natural interior, as well as contemporary luxury?

Unbeknown to many, Australia has a booming luxury travel market and is home to a network of hand-selected world-renowned luxury lodges. These lodges are all located in natural environments that showcase the diversity of Australia’s landscape, and this, in conjunction with each lodge’s ingenuous modern yet grounded design, continues to impress international travellers as well as us born and bred Aussies exploring the Land Down Under.

So without further adieu, here are my top five luxury lodges in Australia that use wood and organic materials in their design and architecture to make you feel closer to nature… without sacrificing the super-luxe.

qualia Resort, Hamilton Island, Queensland

Never heard of qualia? Trust me, you’re missing out. Do yourself a favour and go down the wonderful rabbit hole that is the internet until you find photos that look like this:

Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia

Are you picking up what I’m putting down? This place is out of this world – a truly special experience in one of the most beautiful natural environments in the world – the Great Barrier Reef – and is still one of my favourite resorts, four years after I first visited. Each of the villas as well as all of the communal areas use masses of wood that highlight the natural environment beyond the resort, and contrast with that ‘Whitsundays blue’ ocean. Pure magic.


Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

I haven’t been lucky enough to spend the night at this world-famous hotel yet, but I have had the pleasure of walking its open corridors and sitting in the lounge, admiring the magnificent mountain views. This hotel is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, it’s design and architecture a work of art (the building was modelled on the shape of a stingray!). My favourite part of all? That incredible wavy wood ceiling that mimics the fluidity of the ocean beyond the glass windows.


5 Best Australian Luxury Lodges

Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, South Australia

As if the fact that this lodge is located on an island named after one of our most iconic animals wasn’t enough, this lodge offers guests an ocean view that is hard to beat, made possible by a stunning design that incorporates glass along the entire-facing side of the property. The interior is modern with a natural edge and plenty of warmth, and does a beautiful job of bringing the outdoors in in the most luxurious way possible.


Southern Ocean Lodge

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

This beautiful villa-only lodge is set in the heart of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales and offers guests an immersive retreat surrounded by Australian bush. Each villa is reminiscent of a traditional homestead inspired by Australia’s federation period architectural style, with interiors featuring plenty of Australian wood that creates a palpable sense of warmth. Outside the luxury continues with your own private pool and and expansive views of the natural, green surrounds.


Longitude 131, Northern Territory

Nothing says ‘Australia’ like Uluru (or Ayers Rock), and this one-of-a-kind retreat will see you dining under the desert stars and sleeping in the lap of luxury in the middle of the outback. Inside the accommodation at this luxury desert basecamp you’ll find all-Australian interiors, with a focus on Aboriginal art and plenty of wooden accents both inside and out.


This post was sponsored by Planet Ark.