Less than 30 minutes from the Brisbane Airport in the upscale beach suburb of Margate, this stylish boutique hotel offers contemporary rooms with private balconies overlooking Moreton Bay. The beach boardwalk is just outside the door, or stake your spot around the rooftop pool for a view from on high. Our accommodations are in deluxe 420-square-foot rooms furnished with a modernist vibe in tones of gray and white with burnished accents. Spacious bathrooms have large glass walk-in showers. Amenities include high-speed Internet, LCD TV with free movies, multimedia hub with radio, in-room safe, mini bar and Illy coffee machine. The Margate Beach House restaurant features contemporary Australian cuisine showcasing fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The Margate Beach Bar has an oversized deck with uninterrupted ocean views, the perfect spot to sit back and enjoy a special cocktail as you survey the sea.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. It is located within a highly protected "Green Zone" that provides sanctuary for more than 1,200 marine species, including an abundance of manta rays, turtles and healthy corals. The island is home of the second-highest diversity of seabirds on the barrier reef. This low-key, family-run ecolodge is the island's only accommodation, licensed to operate with the Marine Park and designed to have minimal impact on a fragile ecosystem. Outstanding snorkeling is available directly from the beach, with additional snorkeling offered on boat excursions farther afield. Twenty different dive sites surround the island, and certified guests may choose a guided dive for an extra fee.
Rooms are simple but comfortable, just steps from the beach, with en suite bathroom, private balcony with lagoon view, a mini fridge, microwave and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Meals, which often feature fresh seafood, are served in the Beachfront Dining Room, while the Lagoon Bar offers cocktails, spirits and Australian and international beer and wine. So guests can truly connect with nature, there are no telephones, televisions or radios in the rooms. Limited Wi-Fi access is available for purchase at a central hotspot point. Enjoy a selection of books, movies and games in the Manta Lounge, and visit the Reef Education Center to learn about the flora, fauna, marine life and history of Lady Elliot Island and the Great Barrier Reef via informative wall graphics, fact sheets and educational videos. Recreation activities in addition to snorkeling and nature exploration include beach volleyball, table tennis, a pool table, and a saltwater swimming pool.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has been a conservation leader in the Great Barrier Reef region since it opened in 1985. Under the stewardship of its passionate custodians, the resort has earned Australia's Advanced Ecotourism Certification, Climate Action Leader Certification and Green Travel Leader status from Ecotourism Australia, as well as numerous other state and national tourism awards including the Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism and TripAdvisor GreenLeader status for its low-impact operations and commitment to sustainability including reducing carbon emissions, water use and waste; protecting and improving the island’s biodiversity in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and private industry; and inspiring its guests and the surrounding community to join in its mission to protect the Great Barrier Reef for future generations.
Daintree Wilderness Lodge
Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Surrounded on all sides by World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, this acclaimed ecolodge is secluded within the heart of the world's oldest rain forest. Its Advanced Eco Certification acknowledges its minimal footprint on the pristine environment. And despite the lodge's off-the-grid status, guests are assured every comfort, via innovative sustainable means.
Tucked beneath the canopy and shaded by cooling fan palms, seven wooden cabins—for Nat Hab's exclusive occupancy—are built on stilts and connected by elevated private walkways. Each cabin has a skylight overhead, offering a view into the treetops while flooding the space with natural light during the day. Wide-plank wood floors and hardwood accents lend a tropical feel to the interior, which feels fresh and relaxing with minimalist furnishings and a soaring ceiling. Cabins have air conditioning, ceiling fan, window screens, one queen or two twin beds, en suite bathroom with glass shower, TV, mini bar stocked with Australian beer, wine and soft drinks, and a private balcony with a small table and two chairs.
Soak in the outdoor heated spa pool, or follow the property's nature trail through the surrounding rain forest that leads to a seasonal creek, perhaps spying a cassowary or a bright Ulysses butterfly along the way. Among the trees on the lodge grounds are some of the oldest Hope’s Cycads in the world, which take 100 years to grow a mere meter. Named for this ancient tree, the Cycad restaurant on site offers a range of organically grown and locally sourced dishes, including wild-caught barramundi, king tiger prawns, Atherton Tablelands prime beef, and a substantial daily breakfast featuring seasonal tropical fruits, locally grown tea and coffee, Mungalli bio-organic dairy produce and free range eggs.
Kakadu National Park, Australia
This luxe safari-style camp in the savanna bush features stilted tent-style bungalows with unobstructed views over a floodplain that teems with birdlife and other animals. Bamurru Plains is the perfect spot from which to explore Australia's wild bush in absolute comfort and understated elegance, with nature taking the front row seat while you're out of range from Wi-Fi or cell service. Mesh, semi-transparent screens serve as the walls on three sides of your bungalow, offering the most immersive experience with wildlife and wilderness. Beds are supremely comfortable, with organic cotton linens and a pillow menu, and spacious en suite bathrooms have high pressure showers. In addition to corrugated iron and lantern lighting, the decor reflects the region’s earlier indigenous, hunting and pastoral history with buffalo horns, explorer’s maps, Aboriginal art work and fish traps, and historic photos that show the area's heritage. Each room has a cold water thermos, local flora and fauna reading materials and species list. After days spent exploring the bush, the main lodge provides an oasis of tropical calm with comfortable wicker sofas, a well stocked library, an infinity pool and sprawling deck. Meals feature local ingredients, and the bar offers all the perfect accompaniments for a spectacular sunset. The camp was consciously built to minimize its impact on the environment. Sustainable measures include solar-generated hot water, solar electricity generated by an array of 240 solar panels, organic cotton linens that are hung to dry without ironing, locally produced and chemical-free soaps with native herbs, an absence of plastic water bottles and a commitment to environmental education through active interpretation and debate.
Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
This trendy modern hotel overlooks the lagoon in the heart of Darwin’s vibrant seafront promenade, steps from cafes, gastropubs and boutiques. Air-conditioned rooms are bright and airy and furnished with minimalist flair, mostly in white. Each room has one king or two single beds, a work desk, telephone, safe, flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, mini bar and tea and coffee facilities. A restaurant is located on site, along with two poolside bars. Guests can enjoy the spa pool and fully equipped fitness center, or catch some gentle surf at the palm-fringed Wave Pool right next door in the heart of the Waterfront district.
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