With the popularity of Airbnb and designer hotels, accommodation is becoming an attractive destination in its own right. Here are some of Australia’s most especially Instagram-friendly places to stay.
Satellite Island, near Hobart – TAS
Essentially the base of a small venison and off-shore salmon farm, the owners of this private island have only recently opened the 34-hectares of jagged sea cliffs, towering blue gums, native bush and pristine waters to the public.
Guests get exclusive access to the entire island during their stay, and can choose from two lodgings. The Boathouse, once a feed shed for the salmon farm, is set on a deck that juts out over rocks and the edge of the ocean. Roll-up garage doors allow you to watch the sea’s dance from inside the two-bed shack, or cast a line from the deck’s edge.
A short stroll up the hill is The Summer House. This three-bedroom residence has timber floorboards, a wood-fire stove, piles of books, Norwegian crystal glasses and shucking knives with deer-antler handles. Tasmanian sparkling and wild oysters are served on arrival, and the kitchen larder is stocked with breakfast provisions. You can also pick from the organic vegetable patch and orchard.
Walking tracks take you past chickens, sheep and deer, before weaving in and out of coves and pebble beaches. And if your party is feeling adventurous, there’s kayaks, snorkels and fishing rods to use. A morning visit by friendly stags Bert and Henry is another highlight.
Satellite Island is set in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, about 1.5 hours from Hobart. You’ll have to ferry over to Bruny Island before you arrive – to stop for cheese, wine and other supplies – before catching a speedboat from Alonnah to your island escape.
Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach – NSW
Sydney architect Virginia Kerridge and Brisbane-based interior designer Anna Spiro worked together to turn this 1960s motel, set partway between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay, into a 21-room luxury boutique hotel. From patterned walls, cushions, bedding and lamps, to blue-and-white handmade tiles, and the lime-washed timber flooring, it’s a riot of Mediterranean and coastal Australian summer feels.
Your Instagram adventure begins on arrival, when guests are met by an ice-cream cart filled with treats made by the on-site restaurant’s chef, Ben Devlin (ex-Esquire, Noma), and escalates to each artfully plated dish from the restaurant, Paper Daisy. You can also have a soak in the freestanding bathtub in your hotel room, and a wander along one of the many coastline trails surrounding the sun-drenched Cabarita Beach.
Hotel Hotel, Canberra –ACT
Since opening in 2014 this 68-room boutique hotel has become a photogenic base for exploring Canberra. Rooms are a medley of clay-rendered walls; chipboard paneling; beds made from salvaged oak; soft, natural-wool carpets; and mid-century vintage and commissioned modern furniture. Everything is designed to improve with age, so Hotel Hotel will remain a theatrical and other-worldly accommodation experience for years to come.
As well as being beautiful to look at, Hotel Hotel offers more than most accommodation options do. Yoga classes are on the house, there’s an outdoor cinema in summer, Goodspeed bikes are available for exploring the city, and there’s a library curated by Melbourne’s Perimeter Books if you prefer to hibernate. And post.
St Jerome’s Hotel, Melbourne – VIC
This boutique hotel is a mid-city camping ground, only the earth underfoot is Astroturf and the surrounds are a rooftop three-storeys up in the CBD. Each “room” is a spacious canvas bell tent from Homecamp kitted out with a proper bed (no inflatables here) and bedlinen from Linen House. An Esky stocked with beers from Brunswick’s Temple Brewing Company and Wondersnack nuts replaces the standard mini-bar fridge. There are robes to lounge in, books to read and tablets for in-room digital entertainment.
Naturally, everything is carefully positioned (or pre-styled, if you will) so you can quickly capture that perfect Instagram snap. Every evening guests can indulge in a custom gelato-based dessert from Messina – think chocolate spaghetti in a tin, or DIY s’mores complete with a blowtorch to toast the marshmallows with. In the morning, breakfast hampers are delivered to your tent (there’s a vegan option), and an on-site barista will make your coffee.
The Treehouse, Blue Mountains – NSW
Set on 600 acres of wilderness between two national parks and a World Heritage-listed rainforest, The Treehouse is a couples-only secluded retreat. The soundtrack for your stay is the rustling leaves of the towering gums, birds calls, and the treehouse set 12 metres off the ground, gently creaking in the wind. There are no curtains on the floor-to-ceiling glass windows, so you’ll wake naturally with the sunrise. Take a photo from under the covers, or wrap a blanket around your shoulders and head onto the deck for an uninterrupted view.
The Treehouse, with its ceiling of locally felled timber and recycled corrugated iron, and its sandstone floor, doesn’t just look eco-friendly, it’s functionally off-grid, too. It has solar-powered lights, a composting-worm toilet and used water is used on the vegetation below. There’s an in-room telescope for star-gazing, a sunken spa and a wood-fire heater to keep the space toasty in the cooler months. It’s the kind of accommodation made for staying indoors, rather than for venturing out.
If you do choose to wander there are local cliffs and canyons to explore. You’ll need to pack your own food, but there’s a two-burner stove and a fridge to work with, and plenty of roadside stalls along the ascending Bells Line of Road. It’s a 1.5-hour drive from Sydney.
This article is presented in partnership with ANZ. The ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card gives you a complimentary return domestic flight each year (until the card is cancelled), when you spend $500 on eligible purchases in the first three months.
Eligibility criteria, T&Cs, fees, charges and flight restrictions apply.