From a floating room for two to a suite in the trees, here are five New South Wales properties that put nature on your doorstep
It doesn’t get much more unique than this. A one-bedroom floating villa recently opened to the public in Sydney’s exclusive Palm Beach… and we do mean in Palm Beach. Previously a members-only venue, Lilypad is located metres off-shore in the ocean, offering complete walk-on, walk-off service. The design of the unique space, which runs completely off solar power, was created by Chuck Anderson and combines innovative design with traditional craftsmanship and modern luxuries. Given the villa had to have an entirely stable surface that still allowed the structure to drift with the movements of the ocean, Lilypad is a feat of engineering and is worth booking if only to see it with your own eyes.
The luxury factor is nothing to turn your nose up at, either. The villa’s rental fee even includes a private host/concierge; private tender transfers to and from Lilypad for the duration of the stay; an additional self-drive luxury personal vessel so guests can explore, swim and picnic at local beaches at leisure; on-board breakfast supplied by The Boat House Palm Beach; complimentary on-board wine cellar with bottles of Veuve Clicquot, Cloudy Bay and Cape Mentelle; use of water equipment including paddleboards, fishing rods and floating daybed; and one complimentary meal for two at the iconic Barrenjoey House with private boat transfers, valued at $350.
For those really wanting to kick back in style, you can also purchase extras like seaplane transfers to Rose Bay, on-board massage and beauty treatments and luxury chauffeured vehicle transfers. With all these extras and the gorgeous coastal surrounds, you’ll be positively floating. lilypadpalmbeach.com.au
If you’ve ever wanted to watch the sun rise without leaving your bed, book a stay at the Virgo Bubbletent. Not only will you bear witness to 360 degrees of Blue Mountains beauty, but you’ll do it in climate-controlled comfort. Beyond the bubble ‘walls’ you’ll find a wood-fired hot tub, telescope, fire pit, outdoor shower and a love swing to share with your better half. You’ll need to take your own food and drink for your stay, including all your drinking water, but with such an idyllic setting, we don’t think anything can burst your bubble – not even a bad pun.
Tent Suite, Spicers Sangoma Retreat
Another unusually beautiful wilderness retreat on the cusp of the Blue Mountains, Spicers Sangoma Retreat offers a range of unusual and beautiful room options, including the gorgeous Tent Suite. With 66-square-metres of space, an overhead chandelier, stunning open-plan bathroom with freestanding tub overlooking the forest canopy, timber flooring and air conditioning, we think this is about as luxurious as a tent can get. The space also showcases a king-size custom-made bed, a wood-burning fireplace, a private deck with sun lounges and a Bose sound system. Better yet, Spicers Sangoma Retreat is all-inclusive, so all gourmet meals and beverages as well as the premium mini-bar, replenished daily, are covered in the nightly rate. With rates starting at $1299 per night, it might be at the top-end of some budgets, but this style of relaxed luxury is hard to put a price on.
Tallarook Tiny Home
There are myriad options for choosing a tiny house escape, but none, perhaps, as luxurious or remedial as Tallarook Tiny Home. Architecturally designed, Tallabrook is located on the South Coast on a 50-acre property surrounded by native Australian bushland, with a kilometre of river frontage on the unique Clyde River.
This traditional-meets-contemporary beauty sleeps three people comfortably and boasts polished hardwood floors, modern furnishings, a breakfast bar, kitchen amenities, a refrigerator, a gas cooktop and an electric oven, a compact bathroom with a steaming hot shower and even air conditioning for those sultry summer evenings.
The tiny home also has a beautiful deck with a table and chairs and a Weber barbecue overlooking the river, making it the perfect spot for a morning cups of tea or afternoon tipple. In the morning, wake up to locally-sourced breakfast supplies that include farm fresh eggs, bacon, bread from the local bakery and a selection of jams from the Clyde River Berry Farm. It’s off-grid, but with all the trimmings.
Glamping, bubble tents and tiny houses might be all the rage now, but back in the 1990s the very idea of a luxurious Australian camping experience was almost laughable. This didn’t stop Jeremy and Irena Hutchings, though, who wanted to bring the elevated safari experience they had had in Africa in the 1980s, to their home turf. Their goal was to create a bush camping experience with the added comfort of hot showers, contemporary decor and a gastronomic restaurant, and two decades later Paperbark Camp remains one of Australia’s most impressive – and luxurious – glamping experiences.
Just a 2.5-hour drive south of Sydney, Paperbark Camp is positioned just eight minutes from the Maldivian-style beaches of Jervis Bay, making it one of the NSW south coast’s most attractive places to stay. The scenic walking trails nearby and surrounding bush are teeming with wildlife and offer sightings of kangaroos, possums, colourful birdlife, whales and dolphins.
The bush bolthole’s elevated, wood-panelled dining room and communal space, The Gunyah – aboriginal for ‘meeting place’ or ‘place of shelter’ – is the heart and soul of the camp and on sultry days guests can dine outdoors on the verandah for a beautiful Aussie bush experience. Winter escapes have their own charm, too. The Gunyah’s candlelit tables make the space perfect for romantic couples’ weekends, and the comfy lounges in front of a roaring fire create a cosy cocoon amid the treetops.
Paperbark Camp’s restaurant is not only impressive for a glamping eatery, it’s impressive for a restaurant, full stop, and has received numerous awards over the years. On the plate you’ll find exceptional courses like blue swimmer crab, congee, crispy chicken wing and fennel puree; braised Junee lamb neck, baby winter vegetables, white onion puree and minted salsa; and espresso brulee with sour cherries and chocolate hazelnut biscotti.
As for your ‘room’, Paperbark’s raised tents are strategically positioned to create utmost privacy, camouflaged by the surrounding spotted gums and paperbark trees along the banks of Currambene Creek. But the camp doesn’t just take the eco factor seriously. The luxury element is notable, with tents having polished hardwood flooring, double canvas roofs, an outdoor deck with seating and a gorgeous open-air bathroom with a free- standing bathtub and hot shower. The private premium toiletries made with fragrant Australian botanicals elevate the whole experience, and add to a feeling of being truly immersed in the Aussie bush.
The beds are so comfortable it will be hard to get up in the morning, despite the birds’ calls, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself in bushy-tailed company. The resident possums and sugar gliders are as unfazed by humans as they are curious about what’s in your toiletries bag… so make sure you zip up.