International travel may be on hold, but domestic holidays just became even more appealing with the government’s announcement that it plans to subsidise more than 800,000 flights around Australia.
From April 1, the first tranche of discounted domestic flights will go on sale. The destinations on offer? Cairns, Broome, The Sunshine Coast, Kangaroo Island and a whole lot more.
Competition for these flights will be fierce – so we asked travel writer Georgia Hopkins from It’s Beautiful Here for a round-up of her favourite, most relaxing places to stay across Australia, so you can be prepared.
Understated luxury near Cairns, QLD
Cairns is the ideal base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest, or the Australian outback. The hardest decision will be choosing which one (unless of course you decide to do all three).
I recommend spending some days at the incredible Mount Mulligan Lodge. A three-hour drive west of Cairns Airport, this outback experience is one of understated luxury and pure relaxation.
If being in a rainforest is more your thing, I can’t recommend the Daintree Eco Lodge more highly. Extremely affordable, the location – hidden amongst the trees – could not be more perfect. Plus you’ll be spending time in one of the most complex ecosystems on earth – an estimated 180 million years old (tens of millions of years older than the Amazon).
A sanctuary in Sunshine Coast, QLD.
A retreat for slow living, Shack Palace was designed by local Australian architect Frank Macchia to challenge, nurture and inspire.
This sanctuary of a home, high on Noosa Hill, offers a very unique getaway experience. From the large raw timber gates, the external connecting deck and the open-air shower with mountain views, this private sanctuary encourages calm, healthy, connected living and ultimate relaxation.
Perfectly positioned near the Noosa Junction shopping village (where there is so much happening right now by way of good food and cute wine bars), Noosa main beach, and Sunshine Beach, Shack Palace is dark and minimalist and incredibly thoughtful and considered in every way.
The perfect base for a Sunny Coast break.
An off-the-grid getaway in Gold Coast, QLD.
A quick 20-minute drive from the Gold Coast airport will lead you into the lush Currumbin Valley, and it’s there that you will find the incredible Hillview Dairy, nestled on top of a small ridge line overlooking the spectacular Mt Tallebudgera, Currumbin Creek and Valley landscape.
For more than 100 years, the Old Dairy Bales (now, the Hillview Dairy) has made up part of a thriving dairy farm in the Gold Coast Hinterland, but now, with the creative direction of owner Simone Williams and family, the dairy has transformed into a luxurious “off the grid” getaway.
With an amazing rustic/wine barrel style plunge pool, luxury linens and towels, an indoor fireplace, outdoor fire pit, and unbelievable sunsets and starry nights to match, this is ultimate relaxation. They even accommodate pets.
A relaxing retreat on Kangaroo Island, SA
Kangaroo Island is a total nature wonderland. I was blown away by its raw and rugged beauty when I first visited six years ago. Obviously since then, fires have ravaged the area – with over 211,000 hectares of the 440,500 hectares of Kangaroo island affected, including much precious wildlife and habitat.
Regeneration was quick to happen, however, and the island is well and truly coming back to life.
One Kangaroo Island offers a magnificently luxurious and relaxing accommodation experience. This beautifully secluded property, owned by Adelaide couple Hugh and Coreena Rischbieth, has been in Hugh’s family for years and the couple love sharing their home and the surrounding nature with visitors.
The house is a relaxing retreat with five bedrooms, each overlooking the ocean, an open-air bath that looks over Eastern Cove, a wooden path that leads you down to an almost-private beach, and a Kangaroo Island-based private chef who cooks up freshly caught whiting and salads made from local produce.
It’s very beautiful here.
Total seclusion near Launceston, TAS.
If you are looking for total seclusion and the utmost relaxation, The Keep will provide just that. Perched on a 650-metre rocky pinnacle overlooking Tasmania’s North-East The Keep (two-hours’ drive from Launceston airport) has been designed for reconnection, relaxation and rejuvenation.
Experience crisp fresh air, calm, peace, quiet, nothingness. The Keep, designed to be a place where life slows down, where demands stop demanding and where to do lists are forgotten, offers magnificent 360-degree views to the eastern and northern coastlines, with the Bass Strait Islands visible on clear days.
The perfect winter escape in Broome, WA
You can’t beat Broome and the Kimberley for transporting you to another time and another place. The vastness of the land in the North West is truly mind-blowing and the iconic reds, the gorges and majestic waterfalls, the strong connection to the Indigenous people and country, the pristine beaches and the wilderness all contribute to an incredibly relaxing experience.
Not only that, but its tropical climate means you can enjoy temperatures of up to 29°C from April through September – making it the perfect winter escape.
To experience the Kimberley in totally luxury, I recommend booking a trip with True North. This luxury voyage delivers a ‘Kimberley Snapshot’ experience with 7 days from Broome to Wyndham/Kununurra featuring several Kimberley icons including the King George Falls, the Hunter River, the Prince Regent River, Montgomery Reef and the Horizontal Waterfalls. Prices start from AUD $15,595 per person.
For those not inclined to spend $15k on a holiday, I recommend the off-grid Kooljaman at Cape Leveque – a unique wilderness camp owned and run by the Indigenous Bardi Jawi Communities and surrounded by pristine natural beauty. There are a number of accommodation options available. I stayed in one of their Deluxe Safari Tents and it was incredible.
A seaside escape in The Whitsundays, QLD
An oldie but a goodie, you can’t beat Qualia for ultimate relaxation. Situated on the northernmost part of Hamilton Island, surrounded by the spectacular Great Barrier Reef with views over the Coral Sea and other Whitsundays islands, Qualia offers an oasis of Australian style and calm. A great option if you are considering a Whitsundays escape.