Ten Unique Places to Stay in Australia


Planning a staycation? These 10 options – including treehouses, floating villas, Airstream trailers and oceanfront lodges – are unforgettable places to stay around Australia. Some have private access to beaches, others are tucked away in the middle of expansive farmland. All of them are magnificent ways to while away a weekend, or longer.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Sal Salis’s remote, beachside bush camp is hidden in the dunes of Cape Range National Park. It offers an immersive (but luxury) experience in the wild with uninterrupted coastal views. Book one of the 16 eco-luxury wilderness tents and you’ll be sleeping on beds handcrafted from jarrah hardwood, dressed in crisp-white linen. Spend your days swimming with 500 species of fish, dozing in a hammock, joining a guided hike, or paddling through crystal waters in a kayak. From March through to the end of July, you can also swim with whale sharks that migrate through the area each year.


Daintree Eco Lodge, Queensland
Your days can be as slow or as energising as you please at this tropical paradise resort. You’ll be sleeping in one of 15 bayans (treehouses) positioned under the lush canopy of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, and from there you can opt for forest bathing, a rejuvenating spa treatment or sign up for a rainforest wander with a Kuku Yalanji tour guide. Each eco lodge has floor-to-ceiling windows so you’ll feel surrounded by the ancient rainforest and its remarkable wildlife. The resort also has a bar and restaurant overlooking a lagoon, a private waterfall, and a pool.


Lilypad, New South Wales
This floating villa, found on the waters off Sydney’s Palm Beach, runs entirely on solar power and has an outdoor shower, sauna, king bed, kitchen and living room. Following a fire in 2020, owner Chuck Anderson took the opportunity to upgrade the offering with a new design and sustainable features. Its contemporary Scandinavian style is in keeping with the northern beaches vibe, and once you’re aboard you can spend your day lounging on or jumping off the private deck, exploring private beaches via the villa’s boat, or treating yourself to a massage on deck. Later, fire up the barbeque or dine on a prepared meal by the villa’s private chef. There’s even a skipper on call for pick-ups or drop-offs to the wharf.


Hotel No, Victoria
On a rooftop in the heart of Melbourne CBD there are six 1970s Airstream trailers that have been modified into an urban hotel. Each trailer is modestly fitted out with a bed, shower and minibar, stocked with wine, beer and snacks. The chrome Airstreams have white and bright pink interiors, channelling an ’80s rave vibe, and one of the trailers, named “Airstream With Benefits”, has exclusive access to an open-air spa overlooking Flinders Lane. While you’re probably there to explore Melbourne, if you are spending time inside, each trailer has Netflix and wi-fi available via an iPad, as well as a photo printer for the all-important holiday snaps.


Dovecote, New South Wales
Like something out of a James Bond movie, this architectural masterpiece – located two hours’ drive from Sydney – has main character energy. One of two properties on 60 hectares of oceanfront farmland, the Headland has room for six adults and two children, its own enclosed courtyard, indoor fireplace, swimming pool, games room, gym and private access to Werri Beach and the Kiama Coastal Trail. The Range – a slightly smaller house – sleeps two adults and two kids and has a similar open-plan layout with an outdoor plunge pool, sun-drenched decks and a tub you can sink into as you watch waves crashing at Werri.


Sky Pods, Victoria
On an 80-hectare wildlife refuge near the Great Ocean Road there’s a couple of self-contained pods that sleep up to two people. Every pod is self-contained, solar-powered and architecturally designed with the environment in mind. You’ll have sweeping views of the ocean from your bed or you can ignore the outdoor beauty and stream TV on a 100-inch projector screen with Bluetooth speakers. You’re located close to the Great Ocean Walk, Station Beach and Rainbow Falls for bushwalking adventures, and back at the pod you can spend the evening stargazing and sipping vino on the deck. As it’s a managed wildlife property, you’re invited to plant a native tree while you’re there to offset your carbon footprint.


Captains Rest, Tasmania
This waterfront shack for two is a heritage-listed gem complete with its own jetty. Owner Sarah Andrews has designed, renovated and decorated the cottage with her personal collection of vintage and antique objects. Unwind in the clawfoot bath as you soak in the views of Lettes Bay, take the dinghy out and fish for your evening dish, or curl up next to the fireplace. Once you’re here it’s hard to leave this peaceful and beautifully decorated sanctuary.


Kittawa Lodge, Tasmania
Located among the wild landscape of King Island, Kittawa Lodge offers two stunning, secluded off-grid oceanfront lodges. Each one-bed lodge has panoramic coastal views, a deep concrete bath, king bed, luxurious robes, bespoke artworks, and a fireplace. Drag yourself away from the lodge’s comforts to walk over the nearby 12,000-year-old grassy sand dunes and pebbled beaches. Chilly? The property has rugs and warm jackets for spontaneous adventurers.


Naiko Retreat, South Australia
An eco-accredited accommodation for six people, Naiko Retreat stands proud on a cliff in the Fleurieu Peninsula with uninterrupted views across to Kangaroo Island. The spaceship-like accommodation has an open-plan living area, fully equipped kitchen and three spacious king bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom. The building’s wave-like design and unique position makes it feel totally private too, so there’s no need to lower the blinds after dark. The farm is surrounded by conservation parks, and you can book into local tours with a Ramindjeri elder to discover more about the area. Prefer to stay in? Pamper yourself with a massage in the accommodation’s 1960s “Futuro”, a Finnish-style spa pod.


Jamala Wildlife Lodge, ACT
A glass wall is all that separates you from the tigers at Jamala Wildlife Lodge’s Jungle Bungalows, located on the grounds of the National Zoo & Aquarium at Canberra. You can even watch the big cats in their den as you soak in the tub, or watch fish swimming in a deep ocean aquarium by your window. It’s a little like an overnight safari, but with the comforts of a king bed, plush sofas and a deep bath. There are five individual suites, which sleep a maximum of three adults per room. As part of the experience, you can book dinner in the zoo’s Rainforest Cave or self-guided tours.



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