Australian-getaways

Where To Indulge In An Eco-Luxe Getaway This Winter

Eco-luxe travel is a growing trend across the globe and according to Booking.com, Australian’s are the most eco-conscious travellers in the world.

RELATED: Holiday Like A Celebrity: 5 Top Luxury Locations

More aware of our environmental impact than ever but not prepared to forgo on luxury, modern travellers are being lured by destinations that are offering a balance between high-end comfort and eco-sensitivity, and with winter the perfect time to plan a weekend away and cosy up in luxury accommodation, Booking.com has shared it’s top-rated eco-destinations in our very own backyard, which remain high on luxury but low on impact.

  1. Saffire-Freycinet, Coles Bay, Tasmania

Surrounded by untouched woodland overlooking East Tasmania’s Coles Bay, the Saffire was designed with the environment in mind. Taking its inspiration from the pink granite of the Hazards mountains, the white beaches, sapphire water and grey-green of the native bushland, the lodge is designed to connect with the surrounding environment to create a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

With the views ever changing from its spacious luxury suites, Saffire’s ethos is to protect and restore the natural ecosystem around it.

Enjoy fresh regional food at the restaurant, a cooking class with the lodge’s award-winning chef, or a wine tasting by the open fireplace for the perfect winter escape.

  1. Tanonga Luxury Eco Lodges, Charlton Gully, South Australia

Nestled into bushland on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia, the Tanonga Luxury Eco Lodges are solar-powered, self-contained villas perfect for an exclusive and intimate experience. The ideal destination for a winter weekend away, each secluded villa features a fireplace and private terrace with panoramic views.

Populated by kangaroos, emus and over 100 different bird species, you’ll enjoy magnificent views, walking trails, local wine, fresh, gourmet food and have an endless list of outdoor activities at your fingertips.

  1. Qdos Arts Tree Houses, Lorne, Victoria

Surrounded by the native bushland of the Great Otway National Park, Qdos offers unique Japanese-inspired, tree house accommodation just a 15-minute walk from the beautiful Lorne Beach. Perfect for couples looking to relax and recharge, the retreats offer peaceful bush views from their private balcony, and the sculptural garden is a haven for birds and wildlife.

The property boasts an art gallery with rotating works by local artists, and the restaurant features a constantly changing menu, with all seasonal produce grown organically on site.

  1. Thala Beach Nature Reserve, Oak Beach, Queensland

Set on over 140 acres of native forest and boasting a private beach, Thala Beach Nature Reserve is an eco-friendly wildlife retreat. A secluded sanctuary nestled on a coastal headland, the property offers magnificent views of the sparkling Coral Sea and is conveniently located within 10 minutes drive of Port Douglas or just 45 minutes from Cairns.

With the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest nearby, the boutique timber bungalows offer ocean, mountain or forest views, where you can relax on the private balcony and enjoy the native birds and wildlife, or take a dip in the natural swimming pools formed by granite boulders and waterfalls.

Nature tours at the reserve include tree planting, stargazing at an outdoor observatory, beach discovery, wildlife walks and bird-watching tours.

To book, visit Booking.com or download the Booking Now app

July 12, 2015

Heal House: The Ultimate Brisbane Luxury Escape

Are you in need of a luxury Queensland getaway? Some R&R in a divine, inner-city sanctuary?

RELATED: Why You Should Consider Solo Travel in 2015

As a busy working mum of two toddlers under three, I was excited when I checked into my stunning home-away-from-home for a night: the 5-star boutique guest house, Heal House, at 72 Heal Street, New Farm.

An inner-city suburb of Brisbane, Australia, swanky New Farm is 2km east of the Brisbane CBD on a large bend of the Brisbane River. It’s close to top-end shops, amazing restaurants and cafes and Brisbane icon, community arts and performance centre, The Powerhouse.

I was flying solo for the first time in ages when I checked into Heal House and I couldn’t have been happier about some much-needed solo “me time”, not to mention my choice of accommodation. Talk about the ultimate Brisbane luxury escape!

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I had a happy squeal upon arrival at the stylish boutique guest house; it offers a truly unique and elegant Brisbane experience.

Housed in a large, heritage Queenslander, the property has recently been lovingly restored to make the most of its stunning traditional architecture. What could be more uniquely Brisbane, than staying in such an exceptional place?

In addition, it was so comfy and opulent, with stunning personal touches, it put cold, anonymous 5-star hotels to shame. I’m talking seriously swoon-worthy quality cotton bathrobes, huge bath sheets and superior quality bed linen; an iPod docking station; a complimentary non-alcoholic mini bar, complete with confectionery and an “honour bar”, stocked with a selection of premium alcoholic beverages.

With just three luxury guest suites available, Heal House truly offers an intimate yet high-end luxury travel getaway.

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Hosts Lindsay Bennett and Bryce Williams have also included personal, prized artworks and gorgeous family heirlooms among the stunning kitchen, lounge room and interiors; Heal House is at once super-stylish and glamorous, yet warm and comfy.

It’s the sort of opulence that’s hard to find and such a welcome relief; like me, you’ll look forward to your next visit with gusto.

It’s also the type of quality luxury escape that inspires you to dress up: I put on my best silk Collette Dinnigan maxi dress to enjoy some welcome drinks with my lovely hosts.

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And if I was excited about Heal House’s stylish exterior, I felt even greater joy when I discovered my large master suite. The king-size bed and stunning aforementioned bed linen were seriously swoon-worthy; I couldn’t wait to jump in there!

Stylish, chocolaty colours envelope you in a warm embrace. And there were dimmer lights – a much-forgotten, added luxury which should be an essential in every 5-star bedroom! Of course, there was also an LCD Television with Foxtel, ducted air-conditioning and access to wireless broadband.

Then there’s the amazing ensuite featuring granite tiles, custom marble vanities and premium amenities – for me, you can tell a lot about the quality of any guest house/hotel by its bathroom. This one was so good, complete with massive bath (bath duckies = fun!) and ornate mother-of-pearl furnishings, that I simply didn’t want to leave.

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But leave I must: I had a dinner date at the newly restored Deery’s Restaurant & Smokehouse at Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge Hotel that night.

Located at nearby Kangaroo Point, which was a short cab ride away, Story Bridge Hotel also recently launched its new Main St. Bar & Eatery, which offers a cool and casual dining experience.

But it was the hotel’s stunning, much-loved Deery’s Restaurant & Smokehouse where I was headed; this place is an absolute delight with its exceptional service, amazing food and warm, inviting interior. It’s quality dining, without the stuffiness.

The revitalised space mixes traditional and current influences, with the familiar warm and earthy timber décor given a facelift via more modern styling and furniture, floods of natural light and, the hero feature, an open ceiling creating a spacious vibe and exposing the original timber beams.

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The menu has also been given a contemporary update under executive chef Jason Walker and head chef Adam Clements, offering delicious, seasonally-inspired new culinary creations alongside Deery’s famous chargrilled steaks.

There, you can enjoy one of the restaurant’s indulgent autumnal dishes. My guest and I didn’t hold back, enjoying entrees, mains and a shared dessert. It was dining heaven! For the full menu, check out www.storybridgehotel.com.au.

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Happy as a clam, I headed back to my luxury abode, where you’re encouraged to enjoy access to the luxury lounge and dining alcove (pictured at top) and a wide verandah with its inviting reading nooks.

But my gorgeous ensuite and bath beckoned, not to mention that massive, inviting bed! Talk about sweet dreams – how good is it when you have a whole bed to yourself? Swoon.

Also included for each Heal House guest is a delicious continental buffet breakfast, featuring locally-sourced produce and gourmet homemade dishes for a mouth-watering start to the day. I heartily enjoyed my homemade bircher muesli, seasonal fruit salad and strong coffee.

All in all, I really wasn’t ready to leave Heal House and could have easily and happily stayed for a week. Healed, I was.
Do yourself a favour: book now. Visit www.healhouse.com.au or phone (07) 3358 3350.

February 17, 2015

Why You Need To Switch Off And Take A Digital Detox

We all travel to escape day-to-day reality. Scanning work emails, checking in on Facebook and uploading instagram selfies while away makes it tricky to get the most out of a well-deserved break so lastminute.com.au travel guru Louise Ryan looks at why a digital detox is more than necessary for most of us.

“New research by lastminute.com.au shows that while 64 per cent of us say we go on holidays to relax, the reality is almost a third (31 per cent) of Australians check their work emails while on holidays, 13 per cent do work on their laptop and 12 per cent even take work calls while on annual leave.

We also have attachment issues with our mobile phones, with less than half (41 per cent) of us saying we feel relaxed without our phone on holidays. 

Social media is one of the biggest distractions to people ‘switching off’, with 78 per cent of people needing a social media fix while on holidays, with one in ten people admitting they are addicted to social media and can’t bear to ‘switch off’ while away.  

From past experience, I know there is nothing more refreshing than completely switching off for a real holiday. By turning off your mobile phone and banning emails, outlook reminders and social media, you can clear your mind and focus on the destination you’re in, and the company you’re with.”

Below are Louise’s top tips for switching off:

  • Leave your work phone at home so you don’t get tempted to scan an email or two
  • Advise your family and friends know that you’ll be offline for a few days (so start panicking when they don’t hear from you!)
  • Plan ahead and organise yourself so you don’t have to stress out about work matters while on holidays.
  • Live in the moment! Enjoy your incredible holiday and the people you’re with without getting distracted
  • Go remote! If you are really addicted go somewhere you literally are unable to get phone/internet reception (check out top lastminute.com.au detox destinations below)

Need a digital detox break?

Here are Louise’s top five suggestions for a tech-free vacation in Australia (where you’ll have very little phone reception even if you tried).

NSW

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, Wolgan Valley

Just a few hours from Sydney, this six-star resort will make you feel a world away. Not even Telstra’s nationwide network can be picked up out here.

Tasmania

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain  

Located on the edge of the spectacular World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, just 1.5 hours from Launceston, this is the perfect destination to relax, retreat and rejuvenate.

Northern Territory

Wildman Wilderness Lodge, Mary River

Nothing says remoteness like the Top End of Australia. Stay in this luxurious retreat in the heart of the majestic Mary River National Park Wetlands of the Northern Territory, just outside of Kakadu and make crocodile spotting your morning ritual rather than replying to work emails.

WA

Eco Beach Resort, Eco Beach

Choose between glamping in a luxury safari style eco tent or staying in your own solar powered eco villa overlooking the Indian Ocean. This Kimberley region retreat is just 90 minutes south of Broome and is all about sustainability, fresh produce and relaxation.

QLD

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, Daintree

 

Imagine switching off by staying in heart of the world oldest rainforest. Bliss! Situated between the Mossman and Cape Tribulation end of the Daintree National Park, this lodge & spa is escapism at its best.

*According to lastminute.com.au’s 2014 Travel + Lifestyle Report which surveyed 5,700+ Australians. 

August 10, 2014