Five Best: Outback lodges

Discover the wonderful wilderness and wildlife of Oz in style.


Longitude 131º, Northern Territory

This luxury tented camp opened in 2002 but the following year had to be rebuilt after a fire. Located by the border of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, the lodgings are a string of glass-fronted "tents", with an uninterrupted vista of the sacred rock. Each room is named after an Australian pioneer and is decked out in five-star colonial style. There's a pool, a library and a cosy sitting room. Special touches include dinners served on a sand dune.

Longitude 131°, Yulara, Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory (00 61 2 8296 8010; www.longitude131.com.au). Tents start at A$1,980 (840) full board, including activities, national park entrance fees and transfers.

Wrotham Park Lodge, Queensland

On the brink of a craggy escarpment overlooking the Mitchell River, Wrotham Park Lodge is in classic outback country. All around this sprawling cattle ranch of just under 1.5 million acres, are views of burnt ochre-hued earth and scrubby vegetation grazed by thousands of Brahman cows. Using local architectural style as their foundation (timber structure, corrugated iron roofs, verandas, squatter chairs), the 10 individual guest villas feature luxurious interiors, with floor-to-ceiling windows, leather armchairs and black slate bathrooms. Guests convene at The Homestead, where a sundeck and infinity pool provide the perfect place to spot kangaroos, wallabies and scores of birds, from kookaburras to rainbow bee eaters.

Wrotham Park Lodge, near Wrotham, Cape York Peninsula, North Queensland (00 61 2 8296 8010; www.wrothampark.com.au). Double rooms start at A$1,240 (525), full board. Price also includes activities.

The Bush Camp Faraway Bay, Western Australia

Touting itself as a camp so remote that it can't be located on a map, The Bush Camp is a collection of eight rustic cabins on a secluded bay overlooking the Timor Sea. The site is in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia around the same size as California and there's nothing but wilderness for miles around. Guests are free to soak up the seclusion, or venture out to explore coral reefs or nearby Leseur Island. To round off the day, home-baked bread and freshly caught barbecued fish are served in the open sided dining room.

The Bush Camp Faraway Bay, near Kununurra, Western Australia (00 61 8 9169 1214; www.farawaybay.com.au). Cabins start at A$2,100 (890), full board and including activities and airstrip transfers; minimum two-night stay.

Arkaba Station, South Australia

From bush camping to a converted stone shed, the vast Arkaba sheep station offers accommodation as diverse as its setting, amid plains, dry creeks and mountains. But the place to stay is at its owners Dean and Lizzie Rasheed's homestead, where a taste of outback station life is offered to visitors. Accommodation is in two cosy, Country Living-style rooms, so the ambience is intimate. The Rasheeds will take guests around the station to meet the thousands of merino sheep, and to the 19th-century shearing shed. Also, for a different perspective, small-craft flights can be arranged.

Arkaba Station, Flinders Ranges, South Australia (00 61 8 8648 0004; www.arkabastation.com). Doubles from A$1,280 (548), full board and including activities.

Burrawang West Station, New South Wales

Burrawang cattle station is home to 1,000 breeding cows and 500 sheep, which are raised by its owner Bill Royal, who has lived there for 30 years. The station is also within the homelands of the indigenous Calara river people of the Wiradjuri Nation, with whom a strong relationship has been forged, enabling guests to gain insight into their culture and traditions. This is also a twitcher's paradise, since the surrounding wetlands and waterways provide a habitat for myriad birds. When not exploring, guests can enjoy the traditional elegance of the homestead, with its contemporary but antiques-filled suites and award-winning cuisine.

Burrawang West Station, near Ootha, Central New South Wales (00 61 2 6897 5277; www.burrawangwest.com.au). Doubles from A$1,540 (659), full board and including activities and transfers.

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