Luxury travel in Australia: Six of the best experiences

Now is the time to indulge in a little luxury in our own backyard. Take your pick of top-notch perfection.

Island escape

Satellite Island, Tasmania

Satellite Island can only be booked in its entirety, which includes a three-bedroom house on a cliff top, a two-bedroom boathouse on the jetty, and a glamping tent (just in case you need to escape for a night). The island itself is also part of the deal: 30 hectares of wild native bush surrounded by sea cliffs and an ancient rock shelf teeming with shellfish to explore … or to simply admire with

a glass of local wine in your hand. Breakfast provisions are included, and you can also pre-order more food or hire a chef for the duration of your stay. Alternatively, if you want to go rogue, the island innkeeper can show you how to shuck oysters, offer fishing advice, and light your bonfire.

Seeking seclusion

Bubble Tent Australia, Capertee Valley, NSW

Three bubble tents are dreamily positioned overlooking Capertee Valley.

Three bubble tents are dreamily positioned overlooking Capertee Valley. Photo: Mayumi Iwasaki


Imagine sprawling out on your king-size bed inside a bubble, watching the sun slowly melt into the horizon, then the sky transform into a kaleidoscope of bright oranges, russet reds and candy pinks. Three bubble tents are dreamily positioned overlooking Capertee Valley (the world's second-largest canyon), hidden from view from each other … and anything else that might remind you there are others out there. Book well in advance.

Design diva

The Pole House, Fairhaven Beach, Victoria

The Pole House will feel like you are being served up on a platter to the beauty of the Great Ocean Road.

The Pole House will feel like you are being served up on a platter to the beauty of the Great Ocean Road. Photo: Supplied


Built by Frank Dixon in the 1970s, the Pole House has long been considered to be one of Australia's most exquisitely designed homes. The architectural feat extends 40 metres above Fairhaven Beach and can be seen from various vantage points as you drive down the Great Ocean Road. The property recently underwent a huge internal redesign (by Franco Fiorentini from F2 Architecture), so now there's a long list of interior architectural features – including a suspended fireplace – that place it on an even higher pedestal. Naturally, the view is spectacular.


Under the sea

Reefsuites, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

The on-deck Reefsleep.

The on-deck Reefsleep. Photo: Russell Millard


The on-deck Reefsleep experience is one of Australia's most distinctive places to stay, and in late 2019 Reefsuites joined the portfolio. Australia's first underwater accommodation comprises two luxury suites located four metres below the surface of the sea (beneath the same pontoon that hosts on-deck Reefsleep guests on Hardy Reef). Unobstructed views of the marine life are aided with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and in-water lights for awake hours. Then drift off into a deep and peaceful slumber with the sea splashing against your bedroom window.

Beach and bush

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Ningaloo Reef, WA

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef at sunset, near Exmouth.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef at sunset, near Exmouth. Photo: Dan Avila/Destination WA


A luxurious blending of bush and beach awaits those venturing to this enchanting retreat, a collection of 15 eco-luxe tents cleverly designed to blend into the surrounds. The beach safari camp is in a prime location, with both the Cape Range National Park and the Ningaloo Marine Park a hop and a skip away. For guests, this means activities can span everything from swims and snorkels to bushwalks and kayaking escapades. When darkness swathes the camp, a speckled carpet of stars is rolled out, elevating the experience even further for those lucky enough to call this home for the night.


Boatel Luxury, Mildura, Victoria

Supplied PR image for Traveller. Boatel luxury houseboat Murray River

For families and friends, this one's for you. Boatel Luxury is an opulent vessel fit-out with five rooms (all king staterooms with en suites) and public spaces that include a well-appointed sky lounge with huge wraparound windows and a lavish entertainer's kitchen and bar. Feeling too lazy to cook? Why not arrange for a private chef to hop on board for the ultimate dining experience? The boat sails up and down the Murray River, with three- to seven-day itineraries on offer. One for that very special occasion.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale January 31. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.