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Best Luxury Lodges in Australia and New Zealand: Walk into Luxury's Annual List for 2024

Our 2024 awards list showcases our favourite luxury lodges and resorts in Australia and New Zealand, based on key features that drive our decision on where to travel next.

By Walk into Luxury

The Lindis Black Diamond SJP 18

Walk into Luxury's annual awards list features Australia and New Zealand's best luxury lodges, boutique resorts and private villas, rated against 12 specific categories that we think are important to those who travel with us. From the most impressive pool in a natural setting to the best dining experience or walker's lodge, this is our annual list of the luxury properties we rate among the very best.

2024 Awards List Categories and Judging

Walk into Luxury's annual awards list features Australia and New Zealand's best lodges and villas rated against specific criteria that we place value on. We preference properties that offer exceptional quality, personalised service and privileged access to our natural landscapes. Here are our Award Categories for 2024, judged by the Walk into Luxury team and Founder from our collective first-hand experience.

  1. Best access to a National Park or Wilderness Area from a lodge or wilderness retreat
  2. Best food and wine experience
  3. Best villa with a private pool or hot tub
  4. Best lodge for hiking
  5. Best two bedroom villa or pavilion
  6. Best four bedroom villa or residence
  7. Best exclusive use property for private groups
  8. Most impressive pool in a natural setting
  9. Best view from bed
  10. Most unique experience
  11. Best family-friendly luxury lodge
  12. Best new opening or renovation

For us, travel is about getting outside the hotel room into nature. We hope our annual lodge list helps you do just that, without sacrificing essential comforts.

    1. Best Access to a National Park or Wilderness Area from a lodge or wilderness retreat

    At the heart of each Walk into Luxury journey is a connection with nature. What that looks like is different for everyone - hike, swim in the ocean, picnic on a mountaintop, stand under a waterfall, e-bike up a mountain, or listen to the birds while you soak in your outdoor tub - the opportunities are endless. These lodges make it easy to wake up and step into some of Australia and New Zealand's most impressive natural landscapes.

    Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef, WA - Ningaloo's renowned luxury eco-camp is nestled within Cape Range National Park on the shore of Ningaloo Marine Park. Step out of your Wilderness Tent directly onto the sand and you'll be snorkelling in the crystal-clear water before breakfast.

    The Lindis, South Island, NZ - This architectural masterpiece is located about two hours from Queenstown, nestled at the base of the scenic Ahuriri Valley. Surrounding mountain peaks like Ben Avon are waiting to be explored on foot or by e-bike, or you can try your hand at flyfishing in the Ahuriri River. The snaking landscape creates one of the most unique natural settings we've encountered, and the staff are always on hand to help you find the best trail or picnic spot to help make the most of it.

    Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree, QLD - This luxury lodge overlooks the beautiful Mossman River in Queensland's Daintree Rainforest. There is no better place to stay in this World Heritage wilderness area, and guided short walks and other activities in Daintree National Park are available from the lodge.

    True North, The Kimberley, WA - This floating Luxury Lodge of Australia provides exclusive access to remote corners of the Kimberley wilderness area. Its shallow draft and smaller capacity allow a privileged few to see the best of this special part of the world — considered one of the last great frontiers — away from the larger boats that frequent the coast.

    Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef, QLD - While there are many iconic luxury lodges on the Great Barrier Reef, Orpheus gets our vote for its exclusive position close to both the reef and Hinchinbrook Island National Park - home of the Thorsborne Trail.

    Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, SA - Tucked away in the far western corner of Kangaroo Island, the recently reopened Southern Ocean Lodge is perched on a clifftop and surrounded by Flinders Chase National Park. Enjoy clifftop walks from your front door and ever-present Southern Ocean views wherever you go within the lodge.

    Injidup Spa Retreat, Margaret River, WA - We choose Injidup's clifftop villas for their perfect position overlooking Leeuwin-Naturalist National Park. From here it's only a few steps until you're on the Cape to Cape Walk track, and a few more to reach the white sand of one of Australia’s best beaches. Nearby you can kayak on the Margaret River or wander through Boranup's giant karri forest.

    Cradle Mountain Lodge, TAS - Several wilderness trails are accessible directly from Cradle Mountain Lodge, and there is a short complimentary shuttle to access the Dove Lake circuit trail and the hike up to Cradle Mountain summit. No private vehicles are permitted in this section of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park so it retains that remote wilderness feel. At the end of the day, be sure to visit the lodge's Waldheim Alpine Spa for a very special view while you soak away any sore muscles.

    Images (L-R): Sal Salis, True North, Orpheus Island, The Lindis, Southern Ocean Lodge, Cradle Mountain Lodge, Silky Oaks Lodge, Injidup Spa Retreat.

    2. Best Food and Wine Experience

    Food and wine are an important part of the luxury lodge experience with local produce another way to get to know the region and its environment. These lodges champion local food and wine and know the value a great dining experience can bring.

    Pretty Beach House, NSW - The quality of the dining at Pretty Beach House is exceptional. We love that the lodge's intimate nature allows for an interactive open kitchen. It's a real treat having the chef show you today’s catch or freshly harvested produce before it's prepared exactly as you like it.

    Huka Lodge, NZ - Showcasing New Zealand produce and with daily changing menus to match the seasons and environment outdoors, dining at Huka Lodge is a highlight of any stay. The restaurant team are absolute professionals, and with several unique dining locations dotted around the property - from riverside dining to the Wine Cellar or the Orchard - dining is quite the experience at Huka Lodge.

    Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses, NZ - Come for the Tree Houses, and stay for the gourmet cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients from the Lodge's garden and local farms and suppliers. Run by a family of passionate foodies, this hidden Kaikoura gem is sure to impress.

    Longitude 131°, NT - Dining alfresco under the stars at Table 131° is one for the bucket list. For an extra special indulgence, we recommend booking an exclusive Dune Top experience where you'll enjoy fine dining in a private alcove with butler-style service as the sun goes down over Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

    Saffire Freycinet, TAS - Among the many reasons to stay at Saffire, Palate restaurant offers one of Australia’s finest dining experiences. The restaurant is renowned for its local produce ranging from freshly shucked oysters and deep-sea fish to grass-fed beef and lamb, best enjoyed with a perfectly paired premium Tasmanian wine. For another foodie highlight, join Saffire's oyster farm experience to taste some freshly shucked oysters plucked from Tasmania's east coast waters.

    Sequoia Lodge, SA - This adults-only retreat in the Adelaide Hills celebrates South Australia's premium wines and local produce with dining available in the intimate dining room or in your suite if you'd prefer to dine privately. Another recommended option is the degustation dining experience at chef-hatted Hardy's Verandah Restaurant, located next door at sister property Mt Lofty Estate.

    Images (L-R): Palate Restaurant, Saffire Freycinet; Dining Room, Pretty Beach House; Jetty Pavilion, Huka Lodge; Dune Top Dining, Longitude 131°; Alfresco Dining, Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses; Sequoia Lodge.


    We recommend booking destination dining locations in advance at Huka Lodge. Our Journey Designers will request these at the time of booking your suite as some of the more popular locations can be snapped up early. Our favourite spots include the Jetty Pavilion and the Wine Cellar for groups of wine connoisseurs - Huka's cellar collection is truly impressive.

    3. Best couple's villa with a private pool or hot tub

    There's nothing that spells holiday quite like that first poolside drink with a view or sinking into your private hot tub. Here are our top Australian and New Zealand lodges with a private pool or outdoor spa.

    Daintree Pavilion, Silky Oaks Lodge, QLD - Families and private groups will love the luxurious Daintree Pavilion's separate bedroom wings, wrap-around rainforest views and open atrium with a generous tiered pool and plunge spa. Enjoy the birdsong of the Daintree from this private pool oasis.

    Osprey Suite, Southern Ocean Lodge, SA - The one-of-a-kind Osprey Suite showcases 270° ocean and wilderness views, which are ever-present whether relaxing in the sunken lounge, your oversized bath or soaking in the horizon-edge pool. A special place to stay and one of Australia's best 'rooms'.

    Chief's Suite, Spicers Sangoma Retreat, NSW - Sangoma's 122 sqm Chief's Suite features a private heated magnesium plunge pool on its deck, which is surrounded by gum trees and overlooks the valley. We can't think of a better way to relax after a big day than with a soak here and the breeze on your skin.

    Pod, The Lindis, NZ - This may seem like an odd inclusion as the Pods at the Lindis are not as spacious as a typical villa, and they feature an outdoor tub - not a hot tub. We hope you'll agree though, the exceptional quality and view from the Lindis Pods make it a necessary inclusion for those seeking a private escape into nature with an outdoor soak at the day's end.

    One Bedroom Private Lodge, Spicers Peak Lodge, QLD - The spacious one-bedroom lodge at Spicers Peak offers privacy and the kind of valley views that will have you relaxing in your new natural setting in no time. The private heated plunge pool is perched overlooking the native bushland and valley below - heaven.

    Windward Pavilion, qualia, QLD - The north-facing open-plan pavilions at qualia feature a private deck and infinity-edge plunge pool overlooking the Coral Sea and are a favourite among honeymooners.

    Makambo Loft, Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island - Although the Lidgbird Pavilion is larger and has that incredible view from bed (featured below), the Makambo Loft is an ideal couple's retreat with its corner plunge pool perfectly positioned to catch the afternoon sun on Mount Gower. Two e-bikes are reserved for guests of the Makambo Loft so you can explore the island together at your leisure.

    The Pavilion, Lizard Island, QLD - The one-bedroom private pavilion features unique 270-degree views with its wrap-around deck and infinity pool overlooking the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Although the Pavilion gets our vote for the best accommodation on Lizard Island for a couple, if you value stepping onto the sand from your front door in the morning, the Beachfront Suite is another great choice.

    Images (L-R): Daintree Pavilion, Silky Oaks Lodge; Makambo Loft, Capella Lodge; Eco-Pod, The Lindis; Osprey Suite render, Southern Ocean Lodge; Chief's Suite, Spicers Sangoma Retreat; The Pavilion, Lizard Island; One Bedroom Private Lodge, Spicers Peak Lodge; Windward Pavilion, qualia Resort.

    4. Best Luxury Lodges for Hiking

    It's no coincidence that some of these lodges have been hand-picked by our Founder as the base of some of our signature walks. As well as their proximity to world-class trails that traverse some of our region's most diverse landscapes, these properties offer a level of luxury comfort that's unexpected in such remote locations.

    Blanket Bay Lodge, NZ - Located in Glenorchy, about 45 minutes from Queenstown, Blanket Bay Lodge offers easy access to the Routeburn Track (the eastern end where Routeburn Falls are located) and picturesque Queenstown trails.

    El Questro Homestead, WA - The base of our signature Kimberley Walk, it's possible to tick off a hike to Emma Gorge, El Questro Gorge, the Bungle Bungles Cathedral Gorge, and even climb to the top of Mitchell Falls (day trip by light air charter) while staying at El Questro. Zebedee Springs' warm waters are the perfect spot to unwind, and you'll have it to yourself with the springs only open for Homestead guests each afternoon.

    Pumphouse Point, TAS - Set on the edge of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and with the Pumphouse rooms perched on Lake St Clair itself, the connection with nature is ever-present at this wonderful wilderness lodge. It is only a short three-minute drive to Cynthia Bay to access the trailhead for several hiking trails including the Overland Track - we suggest a walk to Echo Point (with water taxi one way) - and the Shadow Lake and Mt Rufus circuit. Our Lake St Clair Walk guests love returning to Pumphouse where a fireside drink and dinner by the lake awaits.

    Longitude 131°, NT - If you can tear yourself away from your Luxury Tent, Longitude is a great base for a Red Centre walking holiday. You can tick off Kata Tjuta’s Valley of the Winds hike, Walpa Gorge and the Uluru Base Walk to start. The Kings Canyon Rim Walk is also an option via light air transfer, which comes with the bonus of spectacular views over Lake Amadeus and the outback desert.

    Bay of Many Coves Resort, NZ - With spectacular views of the Marlborough Sounds, this Luxury Lodge of New Zealand is perfectly positioned halfway along the Queen Charlotte Track - one of New Zealand's Great Walks. Water taxis transfer guests to different sections of the trail to start and end each day, and lunch packs can be arranged. A favourite walker's base.

    Fiordland Lodge, NZ - Access three of New Zealand's Great Walks from this luxury lodge, including the Kepler and Milford Tracks and the western end of the Routeburn Track (near Milford Sound). The Lodge is one to book early given its proximity to key attractions in the Fiordland National Park.

    Awaroa Lodge, NZ - With only walk-in or water access, this is the quintessential walker's lodge, nestled in native vegetation on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track at the top of New Zealand's South Island. While not an all-inclusive luxury lodge, the ensuite bedrooms are very comfortable and the restaurant has everything you'll need to refuel on your Abel Tasman hike.

    Plan your next hiking holiday with our Australia and New Zealand walking season guide.

    Images (L-R): Pumphouse Point; El Questro Homestead; Blanket Bay Lodge; Longitude 131°; Bay of Many Coves Resort; Fiordland Lodge; Awaroa Lodge.

    5. Best Two Bedroom Villa or Pavilion

    Perfect for a luxury family holiday or two couples travelling together, here are our favourite two-bedroom villas in Australia and New Zealand.

    Alan Pye Cottage, Huka Lodge, NZ - With former guests including Queen Elizabeth II, the 325 sqm two-bedroom Alan Pye ‘Cottage’ is truly something special with its vast lawns, hot tub and separate infinity pool overlooking the Waikato River.

    Jabiru Retreat, Bamurru Plains, NT - Combining two separate safari bungalows and an exclusive plunge pool and outdoor living space via a raised walkway, the new Jabiru Retreat offers the ultimate privacy for families or couples seeking a wildlife safari in the Territory's Mary River Wetlands.

    Dune Pavilion, Longitude 131°, NT - The only accommodation in Australia to offer views of both Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the 153 sqm Dune Pavilion features two King ensuite rooms, custom furniture, local artworks and a day bed and a private plunge pool on the outdoor terrace overlooking the desert landscape. The villa is very spacious, and you can comfortably fit a family of five with an extra bed added to the second room.

    The Penthouse, Eichardt's Private Hotel, NZ - The elegant interiors of Eichardt's 240 sqm two-bedroom penthouse suite opens onto what is one of Queenstown's largest alfresco terrace areas, complete with an outdoor kitchen and large cedar hot tub overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Watch the sunset and soak away any aches from a day on Queenstown's ski or walk trails.

    Two Bedroom Villa, Rosewood Kauri Cliffs, NZ - At 390 sq. m., the Kauri Cliffs Two Bedroom Villa offers plenty of space, with a welcoming lounge, private courtyard, and a sun-drenched terrace complete with private infinity pool and jacuzzi. A great base for any Bay of Islands adventure.

    The Boathouse at The Landing, NZ - Another Bay of Islands favourite, the two-bedroom Boat House at The Landing is perched on the water's edge and features a King Bedroom upstairs and twin beds for the kids at ground level. Escape here with the family for a summer adventure and you'll enjoy a complimentary boat trip with the Landing team.

    Images (L-R): Alan Pye Cottage Pool, Huka Lodge; Jabiru Retreat Pool, Bamurru Plains; Dune Pavilion Outdoor Terrace, Longitude 131°; The Penthouse Outdoor Terrace, Eichardt's Private Hotel; Two Bedroom Villa, Rosewood Kauri Cliffs; The Boathouse, The Landing.

    6. Best Four Bedroom Villa or Residence

    For larger families and private groups, a private four-bedroom villa offers the space and comfort you'll need at the end of a day adventuring. These luxury villas in Australia and New Zealand are world-class.

    Ocean Pavilion, Southern Ocean Lodge, SA - Designed as an exclusive owners’ residence, the ultra-luxe Ocean Pavilion at the newly rebuilt Southern Ocean Lodge offers sweeping ocean panoramas from its clifftop perch. Enjoy a premium in-suite bar and outdoor terraces with plunge pools. Dining and experience options for guests in the Pavilion are what you'd expect from this pioneering Australian luxury lodge. The four-bedroom pavilion can also be split into separate two-bedroom suites for smaller groups or couples.

    Rahimoana, Eagle's Nest, NZ - With its striking architecture and stunning 300-degree views of the ocean and surrounding landscape, Eagles Nest's four-bedroom presidential villa and 25-metre infinity pool will take your breath away. Luxury inclusions such as a personal concierge, use of a Porsche Cayenne and a private chef preparing your choice of meal daily complete the Rahimoana experience.

    Alex Van Heeren Cottage, Huka Lodge, NZ - Sleeping up to eight guests, this secluded 364 sqm retreat is located in a private position on the edge of the Huka Lodge grounds. Featuring an infinity pool and heated spa perched above the Waikato River, the fast-moving water rushes past the cottage towards the mighty Huka Falls, which is a short walk away. The vast private lawns and riverside frontage make this a special place to relax with friends and family. The exceptional service offered by the Huka Lodge team will ensure a comfortable stay.

    Four-bedroom Villa, Rosewood Matakauri, NZ - Formerly known as the Owner's Residence, the four-bedroom villa at the recently rebranded Matakauri Lodge includes a private balcony with lake and mountain views, and spacious indoor and outdoor living areas. The infinity spa overlooks Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range, and private dining is available on the Villa terrace to make the most of the views.

    The Villa, Blanket Bay Lodge, NZ - Winning multiple awards for its striking architecture, this beautifully appointed Villa offers 999 sqm of secluded luxury away from the main Lodge. With a chef's kitchen, spacious living and dining areas, private outdoor terraces and lake and mountain views from all angles, the Villa will not disappoint. Perfect for private groups who still want their own space, the separate wings offer privacy while the communal areas bring guests back together at the right moments - cue sunset drinks on the terrace, and a private chef dinner with a view.

    Scrubby Bay, Annandale, NZ - This luxury four-bedroom beach house can sleep up to 14 guests, offering views of the Pacific Ocean from the infinity pool plus a private bay for guests' exclusive access. Annandale is located on private farmland nestled between the rolling green hills of Akaroa's coast, about two hours from Christchurch. Scrubby Bay is a great choice for that special occasion family trip.

    Hawke's Bay Four Bedroom Villa, Rosewood Cape Kidnappers, NZ - The largest accommodation at Cape Kidnappers, the four-bedroom villa features a sheltered courtyard, stone terrace, private jacuzzi and full kitchen. With luxe country aesthetics complementing the rolling farmland outside, the villa offers a premium but relaxed base for a family or private group.

    Images (L-R): Rahimoana Outdoor Terrace, Eagles Nest; Ocean Pavilion West Lounge, Southern Ocean Lodge; Scrubby Bay Villa, Annandale; Alex Van Heeren Cottage, Huka Lodge; Four-bedroom Villa, Rosewood Matakauri; The Villa, Blanket Bay Lodge; Hawke's Bay Four Bedroom Villa, Rosewood Cape Kidnappers.

    7. Best Exclusive-use properties

    These luxury residences and multi-suite lodges are ideal for special family holidays, private travel with friends, and corporate retreats.

    Mahu Whenua, NZ - Accommodating up to twelve guests in five luxurious suites, Mahu Whenua is located on conservation land at Motatapu Station. Three suites are located in the main Homestead and have views over Lake Wanaka and the green landscape surrounding it, and two standalone cottages offer a unique setting facing the mountain. All-inclusive dining and exceptional service make Mahu Whenua a favourite setting for a special group trip. The lodge is accepting exclusive-use reservations only from mid-2024.

    Pretty Beach House, NSW - Available for exclusive use buyouts, this beautiful Central Coast luxury lodge features four luxurious pavilions - some with private plunge pools and others with copper tubs. The spectacular infinity pool is surrounded by coastal bushland and endless ocean views, and the lodge has trail access into Bouddi National Park, with several short walk options and swimming beaches that can be reached on foot from the lodge.

    The House at Lizard Island, QLD - Perched on a private peninsula on Lizard Island, the new three-storey, three-bedroom luxury residence offers next-level luxury for groups visiting Lizard Island. This truly all-inclusive offering is one of a kind.

    Mt Isthmus, NZ - Purpose-built to reflect and blend in with the surrounding alpine landscape, this impressive villa features four king ensuite rooms, a spacious lounge and pool room, and a private chef to prepare your meals. The lake and mountain views outside the vast windows will have you itching to explore. If you like hiking, the nearby Isthmus Peak trail is our tip - you can see both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea as you make your way to the summit.

    Minaret Station, NZ - Accessible only by helicopter, Minaret Station is an exclusive alpine lodge with four luxury king-sized suites nestled within a remote glacial valley near Wanaka. Experience a truly secluded getaway with delicious gourmet meals prepared by resident chefs and alpine walks with a private guide.

    Spicers Sangoma Retreat, NSW - With a maximum capacity of 16 guests, this Blue Mountains gem is easily accessible from Sydney and is a perfect long weekend group escape. You’ll feel like you’re living in nature with the ‘outside-in’ design concept throughout the retreat.

    Images: Mahu Whenua Homestead; Pretty Beach House; The House, Lizard Island; Minaret Station; Mt Isthmus Lodge; Spicers Sangoma Retreat.

    Insider tip

    The staff at Mahu Whenua will exceed your expectations, so let them know your interests and you'll soon find yourself whisked to a special activity, trailhead or scenic location, most likely with a freshly prepared slice of cake or picnic lunch. The onsite stables make it easy to enjoy a high-country horse ride and you can join the farmer on a tour of the Station. Be sure to visit Motatapu Gorge and the picturesque riverbank while here too - it's an unexpected hidden gem.

    8. Most impressive pool in a natural setting

    We're going to let the images do the talking for this category. Browse the gallery, close your eyes and picture yourself in the frame.

    Pretty Beach House, NSW - Long-time favourite Pretty Beach House still tops our list for Australia's best lodge pool. How could it not?!

    Marramarra Lodge, NSW - We rate Marramarra for its natural setting and river views from its pool area.

    Spicers Peak Lodge, QLD - The hilltop location of Spicers Peak Lodge means the expansive pool area has views over Main Range National Park and the rural landscape below.

    Orpheus Island Resort, QLD - The infinity edge pool and wooden deck with sun lounges are the perfect complement to the pristine island setting.

    Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island, NZ - With views over the Hauraki Gulf and Waiheke Island's sweeping hills, the pool at Delamore Lodge is one of New Zealand's best.

    Rosewood Kauri Cliffs, Bay of Islands, NZ - The main pool at Kauri Cliffs includes a waterfall edge and views of the Bay of Islands coastline.

    Mt Mulligan Lodge, QLD - Like an oasis in the desert, the pool area at Mount Mulligan is a welcome sight after a morning walking, kayaking or exploring Queensland's outback.

    Southern Ocean Lodge, SA - The brand new spa and pool area at Southern Ocean Lodge offers sweeping views of Kangaroo Island's Flinders Chase National Park and the Southern Ocean. We have a feeling this won't be the only award for the pool area at the newly reopened Southern Ocean Lodge.

    Images: Pretty Beach House; Spicers Peak Lodge; Orpheus Island; Delamore Lodge; Mount Mulligan Lodge; Rosewood Kauri Cliffs; El Questro Homestead; Marramarra Lodge, new Southern Ocean Lodge.

    9. Best view of the landscape from bed

    On holiday, sometimes you just want a comfortable bed and time to enjoy the view. These lodge picks will have you enjoying your coffee in bed and questioning whether or not to stay put for the day.

    The Lindis, NZ - The view from the suites and pods at the Lindis offers captivating views over the Ahuriri Valley on New Zealand's South Island. We love how the river winds along the valley floor protected by the snowy peaks on either side.

    Seascape at Annandale, NZ - This luxe Annandale villa makes you feel like you're almost waking up on the beach itself, with the giant windows pulling you into the landscape. Watch the waves and seabirds as the day begins on the Akaroa coast.

    Cliffside Retreat, El Questro, WA - The Cliffside Retreat is our favourite El Questro room, with the view over the gorge from the bath on the outdoor deck, the stuff Kimberley dreams are made of. Throw open the windows and doors and invite in the view of the unmistakable Chamberlain River snaking between the towering red-rock gorge walls.

    Longitude 131, NT - The turn-down service at Longitude's famed luxury tents consists of a tray of popcorn, port and whisky set up on your double daybed on the deck. Stargaze and enjoy a private cinematic moment before falling asleep. You'll wake to the magic of the sun rising over Uluru and birdsong heralding the new day. Tip - If you prefer to sleep inside that's fine too, but be sure to set your alarm at least once to experience dawn on your deck.

    Southern Ocean Lodge, SA - The panoramic ocean views are dramatic at Southern Ocean Lodge, and one of the great spots to experience them are from your bed. No matter which room you book at Southern Ocean Lodge, every bed faces the ocean and has floor-to-ceiling windows inviting the view.

    Lidgbird Pavilion, Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island, NSW - With dual views of towering Mount Gower and the azure blue waters of Lord Howe Island, there is plenty to impress as you take in the landscape from the Lidgbird Pavilion bedroom at Capella Lodge.

    Images: Seascape at Annandale; Pod at The Lindis; Lidgbird Pavilion at Capella Lodge; Luxury Tent at Longitude 131; Ocean Pavilion bedroom at Southern Ocean Lodge; Cliffside Retreat bedroom at El Questro Homestead.

    10. Most Unique Experience

    Unique nature-based experiences are the highlight of a trip for many travellers. They offer the chance to experience something new, to challenge yourself, or simply to create a special moment in a pristine natural setting.

    Black Diamond Dining Experience, The Lindis, NZ - This special high-country private dining experience begins with a guided horseback ride, walk or heli flight to a secluded corner of the Ahuriri Valley where a glass of chilled champagne and a selection of delicious canapes await at The Lindis' exclusive Black Diamond Picnic Hut. You'll then enjoy a delicious three-course picnic platter or chef-hosted barbeque lunch overlooking the valley.

    Swim at Zoe Falls on Hinchinbrook Island, Orpheus Lodge, QLD - Start with a private boat trip across the waters of the Great Barrier Reef to Hinchinbrook Island National Park, before disembarking for your guided walk on a short section of the iconic Thorsborne Trail. After hiking to the top of Zoe Falls, enjoy a dip with a view you'll never forget.

    Barramundi fishing and lunch on a Kimberley Island, Kimberley Coastal Camp, WA - Join your fishing guide at the remote Kimberley Coastal Camp for a morning boat trip to catch a barramundi, and later enjoy a glass of bubbles while your chef prepares your catch for lunch on a deserted Kimberley island.

    Aboriginal Rock Art gorge tour at Bullo River Station, NT - Cruise down a Kimberley river passing between gorge walls before discovering ancient Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng Aboriginal rock art sites on foot with your host. The Station’s rugged red cliffs and ridge lines feature rock art sites only available to lodge guests. With the limited capacity of the lodge and the short Kimberley season, this is about as exclusive an experience as you can get.

    Mt Gower expedition, Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island, NSW - A hike up Mount Gower is one of the most unforgettable – and demanding – experiences on Lord Howe and is only available with experienced local guides. The challenging ascent to the summit rewards walkers with spectacular views across the island and ocean and a misted forest of thriving endemic plants.

    Seal Bay Sunrise, Southern Ocean Lodge, SA - Take a sunrise excursion to Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island, where a walk among the local seal colony on the beach at dawn offers an experience that's reminiscent of the Galapagos. This unique wildlife experience is followed by a freshly cooked beach breakfast.

    Swim with a whale shark at Ningaloo Reef, staying at Sal Salis WA - People travel all over the world to swim with the gentle giants of the sea and we are fortunate to have one of the best spots to experience this right here in Western Australia. Stay in barefoot luxury at the beachfront eco-lodge, Sal Salis, and include a day cruising Ningaloo Reef and swimming with whale sharks with an expert team of spotters, naturalist guides and crew.

    Heli-ski or hike from Blanket Bay Lodge, NZ - Surrounded by the Southern Alps and close to the Remarkables and Cardrona, it's possible to heli-ski or hike the Great Walks of New Zealand while based at Blanket Bay. What makes this option unique, is setting off on your private heli adventure from the lawn out the front of the lodge. You'll feel like royalty.

    Horse ride and picnic on a high country station at Mahu Whenua NZ - If you like horse riding, the onsite stables and high country mountainous trails of Mahu Whenua Homestead offer a unique opportunity. With guided short and full-day trail rides available to suit all levels, we recommend an afternoon ride with a picnic of cheese and bubbles to enjoy in an alpine setting.

    Images (L-R): Black Diamond Picnic Hut, The Lindis; Aboriginal Rock Art Gorge Excursion at Bullo River Station; Horse riding at Mahu Whenua Station; Swimming with whale sharks from Sal Salis; alpine heli-hiking from Blanket Bay Lodge; Mount Gower hiking from Capella Lodge; Zoe Falls experience from Orpheus Island Resort; Seal Bay Sunrise Experience, Southern Ocean Lodge.

    11. Best Family-Friendly Luxury Lodge or Resort

    We think those luxury lodges that cater to families offer a much-needed option in the Australian and New Zealand luxury travel space, so we gratefully acknowledge these deserving winners.

    Bullo River Station, NT - Located in the Kimberley, just across the WA border in the Territory, Bullo River is as remote as they come but surprisingly easy to access from Kununurra. It's the perfect outback lodge for the family, with no minimum age and activities ranging from kayaking or boating down the river, gorge walks and watching the cattle dogs, to toasting marshmallows under the stars on the bonfire at night. The staff here are exceptional and make every effort to win over the kids each day with fun options and personalised service.

    Orpheus Island Resort, QLD - Orpheus Island is a firm favourite for luxe-loving families visiting the Great Barrier Reef. Children of all ages are welcome at Orpheus, and hosted activities cater for the whole family. Snorkelling and boat trips keep active kids busy, but it's just as easy to relax with little ones here with the vast lawns and calm waters in front of the resort.

    Mt Mulligan Lodge, QLD - This luxury lodge is a three-hour drive inland from Cairns, and offers a unique adventure for families with riverside water sports and buggy tours on offer. The lodge excels at warm outback hospitality, and the two-bedroom Outback Pavilions are just perfect for families. The pool will be a hit with the kids too.

    Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, NZ - Stay in a two-bedroom treehouse, or the Olive House for larger families, at Hapuku Lodge. Located on a deer farm, there is plenty of wildlife for the kids to discover here - Bertha the pig is a favourite resident. The kids can get their hands dirty helping the gardener in the veggie patch and later, when they dine at the pass, they'll know just where the chef has sourced his produce. It's an interactive kid-friendly space the whole family will love.

    Mahu Whenua Homestead, NZ - The Homestead is one of our favourite spots for families in New Zealand, with the Komako Suite just perfect for a family with its connected bunk room and parent's suite, and attentive staff making every effort to win over children who visit (cue special treats prepared by the chef). Located between Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park, there are lots of lake activities and nature trails you can access while here, and the big pool will be a hit with the kids.

    Rosewood Cape Kidnappers, NZ - The hilltop family villas are perfect for a family of four, and activities at The Farm are great for kids. There is a big pool, lots of rolling green hills to run around on, and not unexpectedly some fun farm activities. We recommend taking a Can-AM buggy tour along the Hawke's Bay coast and enjoying a beach picnic and swim.

    Swell Lodge, Christmas Island - This hidden gem, located off Western Australia's coast, offers just two private glamping tents on a clifftop overlooking the most magnificent ocean view. Your private guide and driver will whisk you around the island to visit waterfalls, swim in sea caves, enjoy short walks and view rare wildlife. There are even boating trips for longer stays. You'll love the relaxed island atmosphere while feeling well cared for by your private host and personal chef.

      Images (L-R): Orpheus Island Resort; Bullo River Station; Mount Mulligan Lodge; Mahu Whenua Homestead; Hapuku Lodge & Treehouses; Rosewood Cape Kidnappers; Swell Lodge.

      12. Best New Opening or Renovation

      We all love discovering something new while travelling. It's a chance to be surprised, and impressed. This category features some new gems plus existing favourites that we think should be on your list to rediscover post-renovation or extension.

      Onboard Expeditions, TAS - This brand-new floating Luxury Lodge of Australia launched in 2023 and offers privileged access to Port Davey and Tasmania's Southwest Wilderness Area. Sleeping just 12 guests across its luxury ensuite cabins, expect excellent local produce and wine onboard and an attentive crew including your expert guide and personal chef. Activity options range from guided walks and shore excursions to view wildlife and explore caves, to tender boat excursions and wilderness cruising. A scenic flight is included to access the cruise. Trust us, put the 4 Day Port Davey luxury cruise on your 2024 adventure list.

      Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island SA - Rebuilt following the devastating bushfires of 2020, Southern Ocean Lodge reopened in December 2023 to much applause with the new build capturing the best of the original lodge with a few tweaks to modernise and showcase the location and view to its full potential. The view from the new Osprey Suite and the spaciousness of the premier Ocean Pavilion are next-level luxe and may very well b the very best rooms in Australia, but the experiences on offer in Flinders Chase National Park will have you stepping outside before too long.

      Jabiru Retreat, Bamurru Plains, NT - The newly built two-bedroom pavilion is connected via a boardwalk and features a private plunge pool overlooking the landscape. Families can also stay in the Kingfisher Suites at Bamurru, with swag beds for the kids placed in the parents' room, but the Jabiru Retreat is a premium family option and the first two-bedroom villa at Bamurru.

      True North II, Kimberley WA - The iconic True North's sister ship was relaunched in 2023, and following a refurbishment over the Summer, is looking fresh and ready for a new Kimberley sailing season. While not the replica of the larger and newer True North I, the service, excursions and dining experience onboard True North II meets the same excellent standard. The lower price point makes True North II a compelling option for accessing the remote Kimberley rivers and coastline in 2024.

      New Lodges at Bells at Killcare - Sister property of Pretty Beach House, we have long enjoyed the dining and service at Bells at Killcare and now there is an exceptional new accommodation option soon to open at the property. The brand-new two-bedroom, three-storey private lodges will offer coastal views in an eco-sanctuary setting with mountain bikes included to explore the area. A stay here includes daily breakfast and dinner, with a choice of a la carte dining or chef's tasting menu at night.

        Images (L-R): The Great Room at the new Southern Ocean Lodge; Onboard Expeditions Port Davey Cruise; the new Jabiru Suite at Bamurru Plains; Dining onboard True North; new Private Lodges at Bells at Killcare.

        In Australia and New Zealand, luxury travel is closely linked with accessing our natural landscapes and world-class food and wine, and trips that prioritise these elements are our absolute passion. If you need help planning your next luxury lodge stay or private adventure, our local Journey Designers are here to assist seven days a week.

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