Australia’s Most Incredible Country Escapes
Winter has finally arrived and, with its long nights and icy winds, so too has the perfect excuse for a gourmet mid-year break.
Swapping office life for a weekend of luxury and indulgence, of curling up in front of a roaring fireplace with a glass of red wine in one hand as you reach for the cheese platter with the other… it’s an experience worth taking time out for.
And though our big cities have luxury down to a fine art, they’re not the only places where you can relax, de-stress, and get ready to tackle the final six months of the year with the gusto it deserves.
To that in mind, here are five incredible Australian country estates worth embracing this winter.
Mona Farm, Southern Tablelands, NSW
Mona Farm is not your typical sheep and cattle station. Set on a historic 124-acre estate in Braidwood in the Southern Highlands, less than an hour from Canberra and three hours from Sydney, it offers an authentic taste of country life with a luxurious, artistic twist.
Though dating back to 1836, contemporary art and sculpture now form a large part of the Mona Farm DNA, with no less than 20 installations by Australian and international artists throughout the property. The emphasis on art continues with the guest quarters too.
The first of six buildings to be restored on the property – The Homestead, built in 1853, and The Coach House, built in 1903 – are adorned with carefully curated art and statement pieces, yet still retain much of their original character and charm. Once restorations to the four remaining buildings are complete, the property will welcome up to 44 guests.
Mount Mulligan Lodge, Northern Outback, QLD
The rugged Queensland outback is perhaps the last place you’d expect to find an opulent, all-inclusive hideaway, but then, Mount Mulligan Lodge is no ordinary outback property.
The latest offering from Northern Escape Collection, which operates the similarly luxurious Daintree Ecolodge and Orpheus Island, Mount Mulligan Lodge is an intimate escape with eight luxurious suites, an infinity pool, sunset bar and truly out-of-this-world vistas.
Set on a 28,000-hectatre estate located 180km west of Cairns, the Lodge welcomes just 16 guests in three stunning room types – Outback Room, Retreat and Pavilion – with each room assigned an electric buggy to explore the jaw-dropping property with ease.
Food and wine are a key focus for the lodge, with its extensive wine cellar and innovative menus featuring the likes of kangaroo tataki and grass-fed beef with charred peppers and smoked chimichurri, showcasing the bounty of locally caught and sourced produce.
Cape Lodge, Yallingup, WA
On the sunny west coast, there are two words you need to know: Cape Lodge. Three hours south of Perth, surrounded by the gorgeous Margaret River wine region, this local favourite strikes the perfect balance between privacy, relaxation and gourmet delights.
Featuring 22 generously appointed rooms, each elegantly furnished and spaced throughout its 16 private hectares, the hotel welcomes just 44 guests at any one time. Add to this its award-winning French-influenced restaurant by chef Tony Howell, a private three-hectare vineyard, inviting swimming pool, and day spa, and it really is the complete package.
Beyond its stunning lakes and emerald gardens, the wonders of the Margaret River region are within easy reach. Vasse Felix, Cape Mentelle Wines, Voyager Estate and Cullen Wines are just a handful of the essential nearby wineries worth taking time out to explore.
Nimbo Fork, Snowy Mountains, NSW
In the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, Nimbo Fork is a hidden gem among Australian country estates worth discovering. Though its name may conjure images of the cutlery drawer, this ultra-stylish estate actually derives its moniker from the fork of the Nimbo Creek and Tumut River, over which it commands impressive views.
Indulging in great food and fabulous wine are essential parts of the Nimbo Fork experience, with the fine-dining restaurant onsite offering homemade gourmet breakfast hampers and an exciting evening menu of locally source and seasonal ingredients. A seat in front of the roaring, stone-clad fireplace is destined to become a preferred hangout.
Each of its six private cottages and six lodge suites features a creamy neutral palette, an homage to the Hamptons aesthetic, accented by wooden floors and exposed beams. From the moment you set foot on your private deck, relaxation is almost guaranteed.
Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills, SA
Just 15 minutes from the Adelaide CBD, Mount Lofty House is an icon of South Australia. Built in 1852 as a summer home for a wealthy statesman, the manor estate and its gardens exude heritage charm from every angle – and it’s just upped the sophistication even further.
The five-star hotel recently completed a $6 million refurbishment of its 32 guest rooms, its three Chef Hat Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant, reception, bar and conference area, ushering in a new era for the heritage estate. Sequoia at Mount Lofty House, a luxury lodge within the estate featuring 14 brand new suites, is earmarked to open later this year.
Though it’s tempting to stay in, just lock that escape in – the wine’s not going to pour itself.
(Lead image: Cape Lodge Margaret River / supplied)
Published 12 June, 2019