The hustle and bustle of any big city is an exciting thing to explore, but to really see Australia, you need to leave the metropolis and immerse yourself in the spectacular and varied countryside. For two incredibly remote but ultimately indulgent experiences, you can’t go past Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley and Silky Oaks Lodge.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa
As soon as you drive down the winding road through sheer cliffs and the Emirates One&Only resort comes into view, you feel as though you’ve entered another world. The resort is situated in a valley of huge grassy paddocks dotted with native Australian trees overshadowed by towering escarpments. Located about two and a half hours from central Sydney in the Blue Mountains, the resort has been designed to blend in with the natural surroundings, and aims for carbon neutrality.
You are taken to your villa, an impressive free-standing homestead with its own fireplace, veranda, and private plunge pool. There is a rocking chair on the veranda, and as you sink into it you feel immediately relaxed. You take out a book and attempt to read, but the majestic view takes your interest instead. How does anyone get things done with this vista to admire? You decide to have a swim in your private pool, and despite the cool outside temperature, you’re delighted to find it’s heated to a steamy 28 degrees Celsius. You soak your muscles in the pool and swan about lazily, continually distracted by the breathtaking view.
Before you know it, it’s dinner time, and you get dressed to head to the Wolgan Valley Dining Room. You are impressed by the menu options, which include wines from local areas, including the Hunter Valley, Mudgee, and Orange. You choose an Oberon line trout for your main course, and can’t resist a tantalising sample of local cheese for dessert. You finish your evening with a glass of red wine by your own fire, before retiring to the sumptuous king bed. Maybe it’s the country air, or maybe it’s all that relaxing, but you sleep like a baby.
Silky Oaks Lodge
For a tropical experience like no other, book a few nights at the Silky Oaks Lodge, located just 15 minutes from Port Douglas in Far North Queensland. The most unique feature of this riverside eco-lodge is that instead of a room, you have a luxurious treehouse that seems to float among the rainforest canopy. As soon as you enter your treehouse, you feel at one with nature. You lie in your hammock on the private balcony, swinging amongst the palm trees that are within arm’s reach. Before you get too relaxed though, you decide to check out the beautiful surroundings. Complimentary activities at the lodge include guided nature walks, canoeing, swimming, snorkelling, bicycling, tennis, and yoga. You decide to take a guided walk, and are fascinated to learn about the local flora and fauna, as well as the Aboriginal history of the area.
There’s time for a swim in the resort pool before you get ready for dinner. Silky Oaks Lodge is known for its fine dining, and you’re not disappointed. You hear they’re well known for the crocodile entree, so feast on lemon myrtle poached crocodile, green papaya, mango, baby leaf salad, and sesame. You’re surprised by the taste of the crocodile—it’s much more delicate than you expected. For the main course, the locally caught barramundi has your name on it, and it arrives pan-seared and served with a red curry sauce. It’s perfectly cooked, and tastes as though it was just caught that morning (which it probably was). You finish your meal with a selection of sorbets and ice creams, a perfect dessert for a warm Queensland evening.
In these idyllic locations, you can soak up the stunning views, indulge in gourmet meals, and learn about native Australia. When you need to get away from the big city, a secluded trip to more natural surroundings is just what you need to soothe body and mind.