Aussie holiday-goers are notorious nature lovers, and it’s perhaps the diverse landscape we call home that influences this leaning. With a huge backyard to explore, more often than not it’s the uncrowded, oxygen-rich forests, parklands and coastal reserves that appeal to our time away. Because when we can spend our homebound weekends brunching, barhopping and checking out cultural events, of course when we’re ready to take a break we want to really take a break – to unplug, enjoy simple pleasures, and get active in awe-inspiring settings. There’s nothing like being surrounded by nature to help you hit reset, and here at Beautiful Accommodation there’s no shortage of options. We’ve rounded up 15 of the best boutique hideaways near national parks for your next escape; the hardest part will be choosing a favourite.
‘The Prom’, as locals know it, is breathtaking from the drive in. Winding around coastal cliffs flanked by rainforest, eventually you’ll turn to face the bluest water imaginable. Wilderness Retreats at Wilson’s Promontory are the definition of glam camping; with luxe safari-style tents, comfy beds and your own ensuite, you can get close to nature without compromising on creature comforts. All this set in an incredible national park just begging to be explored, and not a bed roll in sight. Now that’s our kind of outdoor adventure.
The Peninsula definitely lives up to its name – at the base of the Huon Valley, this nature-surrounded stay is perched on a headland spanning 250-acres that are yours alone to enjoy. Fronted by the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and Port Esperance Bay, this stunning turn-of-the-century farmhouse combines old and new for a one-of-a-kind experience with incredible views. Once stocked up on local oysters and sparkling, sink into the decadent Jacuzzi on the deck. There are five walking tracks to explore onsite, and you’ll be given a guidebook detailing what can be found along each. Traverse the paddocks and woodlands to hidden coves, and if you’re feeling brave, take a dip in the clear southern sea.
Famed for its spectacular natural beauty and award-winning sparkling wines, the Grampians is a bucket list destination. And on the sunny side of its rocky outcrops you’ll find luxury escape Meringa Springs. The ridge-top location of these three African-style villas means extraordinary views to the neighbouring National Park, a Heritage-listed beauty with majestic waterfalls, ancient rock art, wildflowers and unique wildlife. The outdoor landings here have been carefully thought out – each villa has a private verandah positioned for sunsets and a patio for sunrises. An exposed deck borders a glistening infinity-edged basin; order cocktails from the bar, and sip them poolside overlooking the valley.
Drive an hour from the laidback coastal town of Yamba, and you’ll find Toumbaal Plains set on a private allotment of Yuraygir National Park. With a striking architectural design that opens up to sweeping views of coastal plains, a grassy courtyard with a monumental fireplace at its centre, and an indoor-outdoor bathtub, this place really is something else. Pour a glass of wine, make the hard decision of which deck to sit on, and enjoy.
This is one of those places that looks so incredible you might be skeptical of the reality, but believe us, The Frames really is that good. On a hillside in South Australia’s Riverland – known for its top-notch wineries and natural beauty – this retreat comes highly recommended. There are three separate suites to choose from, the architecture and interior design of each strikingly distinctive. You’ve got your own al fresco dining area, Jacuzzi and swimming pool, all alongside stunning river views. And if you can tear yourself away, the surrounding national parks are just beyond your doorstep.
Pebble Point is the ultimate Great Ocean Road rest for nature lovers. Located right near the end of Victoria's coastal highway, these five tents are within metres of not one but three national parks. And while we say tents, this is certainly not your standard camping. Here you have king-sized beds, ensuites, heated throw rugs, and a deck from which to take in the Otway Ranges and star-filled night skies.
Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village is nestled in Cradle Valley, on the cusp of a World Heritage-listed national park. A series of cottages and chalets screened away by rainforest, this is luxury wilderness accommodation at its best; complete with in-room spas, and private balconies to soak up the lush views. The bucket list attractions are right on your doorstep; circle the photogenic Dove Lake, take on Cradle Mountain, and after working up a colossal appetite, return to dine from a menu of home-grown produce at Hellyers Restaurant.
Elevated above Boat Harbour and surrounded by Tomaree National Park, Beach House 7 is a swanky crash pad you're never going to want to leave. The views out to One Mile and Samurai beaches will make your jaw drop, and with floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides, they can be enjoyed inside or out. One thing that might entice you away from the house is the infinity pool and spa overlooking the coast, located just a minute’s walk from your beachside haven.
At the foot of Mount Abrupt in the southern Grampians National Park, Aquila Eco Lodges provide a true back-to-nature escape. Set on 100-acres of conservation land, you're guaranteed an authentic bush retreat – one where you’ll rest in architect-designed luxury that’s 100% eco-friendly, too. Whether you choose a three-storey Tree House or a Loft House, each comes with soaring rooflines, cosy wood fires, and floor-to-ceiling glass capturing leafy views and star-strewn skies. Bonus: your host will deliver you homemade bread every morning – country hospitality doesn’t get much better.
One of the Great Barrier Reef’s most idyllic spots, Fitzroy Island is largely national park, with walking trails, rewarding lookouts, and plenty of quiet coves to cool-off after treks. Jump on the Fitzroy Fast Cat in Cairns, and a refreshing 45-minutes later you’ll disembark at Fitzroy Island Resort. There’s a range of accommodation types to choose from; including cabins with water views and direct access to the pristine sand. The hotel’s breathtaking oceanfront pool and spa comes complete with a swim-up bar. Nothing spells ‘ultimate tropical getaway’ like having a cocktail delivered to you in a pool that overlooks the beach.
On the edge of Cape Liptrap Coastal Park and fronted by the waters of Waratah Bay, at Bear Gully Coastal Cottages there are five retreats to choose from. Each has views across azure waters to the islands and boulders of Wilsons Promontory; each is just a five-minute stroll to the ocean’s edge. Not only do you have your own beach to swim, snorkel and dive in, you’ve got a huge expanse of parkland to explore. Or, simply layback in your hammock and enjoy the view. Your call.
North Coast NSW is one of Australia’s most frequented shorelines, with laidback surf culture and breathtaking scenery the bases of its appeal. We couldn’t think of a better way to take in its beauty than to stay in a 250-acre rainforest reserve surrounded by a World Heritage-listed national park. Enter Crystal Creek Rainforest Retreat. Ranging from creek-side bungalows to lodges with plunge pools, these architect-designed retreats are both totally lavish and eco-friendly too. With sumptuous king-sized beds, sunken double spas, lounges fronted by wood fires, and lush green outlooks, the hardest part is getting out the door.
Tucked between the dunes of St Andrews beach and its adjoining National Park, Big Blue Backyard is a designer bed and breakfast made for two. Three beachside boltholes offer gourmet food and all the in-house luxuries you could ever need. Whether you go African, Beach or Bush, each has its own deck, double outdoor spa, a big bed topped with plump cushions, a ‘spa bar’ with Olive & Olie beauty products and a mini-fridge stocked with local refreshments. Delicious chef-cooked breakfasts are a highlight, delivered at a prearranged time each day (so no need to get up early). Think champagne poached pears and perfect eggs, Italian coffee and just-baked pastries.
The Kimberley is one of the last truly wild places on earth. And perched along its coast you’ll find Berkley River Lodge. In an otherwise uninhabited area and completely surrounded by nature, the only way to reach this all-inclusive retreat is via air transfer. And when you land, the luxury villas wait – with stunning views, AC to beat the heat, Wi-Fi to share your unbelievable snaps (#nofilter), and Nespresso machines to kick-start days after sleeping late in a plush king-sized bed. There’s a lap pool and restaurant overlooking the beach, and once you’re all settled in you’ll be eager to get into the activities; with hikes, cruises, helicopter tours, wilderness picnics and more, all designed for you to experience the region’s raw beauty in style.
Gipsy Point Lakeside Boutique Resort serves-up waterfront apartments perfect for quiet respite at any time of year. Surrounded by Croajingolong National Park – a UNESCO world biosphere reserve – and fronted by Mallacoota Inlet, the setting is spectacularly beautiful and secluded. With peaceful views from every aspect, sprawling grounds to explore, a swimming pool and covered barbecue area for easy meals, you’ll have switched into a state of Zen in no time. Paddle a canoe, picnic on the banks and return to rest in your luxe retreat. Bliss.