Wilderness Escapes Worth Discovering
Posted by Megan Osborne on Wednesday, January 31, 2018
From windy cliff-top vistas, to rainforest trails, if you prefer your next getaway to be as far from the city as possible, then these wilderness escapes are for you.
Secluded seascapes and stretches of bushland wait for you to discover by foot, surfboard, car or even bike. And after a day of immersing yourself in nature and peace and quiet, retire to these serene escapes at the end of the day.
If your idea of a great getaway is to make it through the wilderness, and you didn’t know how lost you were until you found this article, then read on to find your next adventure.
Great Ocean Road, Victoria
Perfect for: Coastal walks and secluded beaches.
Image Credit: Twelve Apostles Tour, Great Ocean Road, SDP Media, Tourism Australia
The seaside setting of the Great Ocean Road is a nature-lovers paradise, and a short 90-minute drive out of Melbourne will take you to the starting point of Torquay. Enjoy a leisurely drive down the iconic coastal road, and find a park in Lorne. Here’s where you can strap on your hiking boots or trusty sneakers, and take your pick of more than 30 bush and coastal walks.
From the brief 100m walk of Teddy’s Lookout, to the 4.8km Cherry Tree Track, both are steep with spectacular views. Or perhaps you’d prefer the tranquility of the St Georges River Walk, with verdant rainforest converging on eucalypt bush, traversing two river crossings.
Image Credit: Erskine Falls, XM2 for Visit Victoria.
Perhaps you’ll head inland to the stunning Erskine Falls, where you can simply absorb the tree fern fringed waterfall from one of two lookouts, or embark on the Erskine River Trail which stretches 7.5km towards Lorne, through Straw Falls and Splitter Falls.
Continue down this iconic route, stopping at Apollo Bay to take in the Twelve Apostles (or what’s left of them), then along through the Great Otway National Park to Johanna Beach. Large swells are ideal for experienced surfers, or for those wanting to take in the landscape wandering across the mesmerising rock pools at low tide.
Image Credit: Johanna Beach, Andrew Paoli for Great Ocean Road Marketing.
Where to Stay Along the Great Ocean Road:
Qii House Eco Retreat, Lorne
Tucked away in the lush surrounds of the Great Otway National Park, Qii House Eco Retreat is a unique architect-designed accommodation nestled in nature. Explore the surrounding walking trails, or meander through the house’s very own Japanese gardens. Crack open a book on the daybed under the gazebo, and submit yourself to serenity.
Overlook native bushland and a stretch of untouched coastline from the sleek retreat of Rotten Point House. Floor to ceiling windows bring the outside-in, allowing comfort and climate control in this modern pad, while still being immersed in the natural surrounds.
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
Perfect for: Close encounters with wildlife and beautiful natural wonders.
Kangaroo Island is teeming with wildlife and rugged landscape, and covered with national parks, with plenty of untouched wilderness to explore. This South Australian sanctuary is perfect for a secluded coastal escape.
While it does play host to its namesake, furry marsupials similar to the Eastern Grey kangaroos, you’ll also find echidnas, wallabies, possums and even bandicoots. You can visit the colonies of sea lions at Seal Bay Conservation Park, where you’re bound to catch a glimpse of these creatures in their natural habitat.
Image Credit: Seal Bay, Greg Snell for Tourism Australia.
Climb the state’s first lighthouse at Cape Willoughby Conservation Park, or for some stunning views, ascend Cape Borda’s lighthouse.
The landscape is unique and memorable on this remote atoll, with limestone caves in the Kelly Hill Conservation Park, and for a truly breathtaking sight, the Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park can’t be missed.
Where to Stay on Kangaroo Island:
Located on the eastern side of Kangaroo Island, Sea Dragon Lodge is close to Cape Willoughby and Cape Hart Conservation Park. Choose to stay in eco-villas or the main lodge, with options for couples or families. Soak in a Jacuzzi on a deck that overlooks the ocean, or snuggle up by the log fire in wintertime.
High Country Victoria
Perfect for: Mountaintop views and winery trails.
Image Credit: King Valley Vista, Cormac Hanrahan for Visit Victoria.
Along Victoria’s Great Alpine Road in the High Country you will discover a stunning mountainous landscape with a range of terrains and some breathtaking vistas. Winter is a popular time to visit Mount Buller or Mount Hotham for their snow-capped peaks, but autumn is high season in towns such as Bright and Beechworth, where the red and yellow leaves line the streets and attract photographers in droves.
Image Credit: King Valley Road Vineyards, Josie Withers.
King Valley is known for its gourmet offerings, and with vineyards dotting the countryside along the Alpine Valley, you’d be remiss to not embark on a wander through the vines. Rent a bike and cycle between regional wineries, or if you’re into a more active experience, tackle one of the mountain bike trails through the Alpine National Park.
Image Credit: Mount Buffalo, Tourism Australia / Time Out Australia.
Mount Buffalo is a destination worth visiting no matter the season. Rock climbing and abseiling is a must for the adventurous, with this location’s impressive granite cliffs. Visit Lake Catani in summer for a spot of canoeing or fishing, and when it’s blanketed by snow in winter; traverse the plateau via toboggans.
Where to Stay in Victoria’s High Country:
Surrounded by green pastures, sloping vineyards and a working cattle farm, Mt Bellevue is a royal escape set in the King Valley of Victoria’s High Country. Get away to one of the stylish suites in this charming homestead cottage, and immerse yourself in the slower pace of country life.
Margaret River and the South West, Western Australia
Perfect for: Seaside exploration and treetop adventures.
Image Credit: Elephant Rocks, Tourism Western Australia.
Think of WA's South West and your mind might automatically conjure thoughts of Margaret River, however the wider region is unique in the Australian landscape due to its proximity to respected vineyards, stunning beaches, tall-timber forests and even caves.
If you’re looking for one of Australia’s best beaches, look no further than Denmark in WA’s South West. From the iconic Elephant Rocks, to the pristine coastal strand of Greens Pool that boasts sparkling turquoise waters and soft white sand. Sheltered by the bay, it’s an ideal spot for a tranquil swim or perhaps even discovering the world beneath via snorkel.
Image Credit: Greens Pool, Denmark. Greg Snell.
Alternatively you may want to discover the South West from higher up, and there’s no place with better altitude than the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk. Western Australia’s Tingle Trees make up this majestic forest, and you can climb 40 metres up into the forest canopy to enjoy a spectacular bird’s eye view.
Where to Stay in WA’s South West:
Skyhouse Retreat, Denmark
Escape to your own tree canopy with the sky-high accommodation, Skyhouse Retreat in Denmark. Stained glass windows look out to surrounding nature, with green views from any angle. Owner Graeme Hodges also runs a yoga class nearby, to fully complete your meditative getaway.