Luxury in the Outback

Some 20 million years in the making, the Kimberley region of Western Australia is regarded as one of the world’s ‘last true wilderness areas’. Among its many scenic wonders are the Horizontal Waterfalls, the beehive like formations of the Bungle Bungle mountains in the UNESCO World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park and 900 sq km Lake Argyle, the largest freshwater lake in the Southern Hemisphere.

Wild, certainly, but there’s no need for visitors to compromise on creature comforts. Wilderness Western Australia in fact is home to some of the country’s most luxurious properties, with the following among them.

El Questro Homestead

Surrounded by the most rugged of Kimberley topography, El Questro is a luxurious homestead set in a million acres. Cantilevered over the magnificent Chamberlain Gorge, its guests, who have included Kylie and Nicole Kidman, have a choice of activities ranging from dining on the top of a cliff under a canopy of stars to private helicopter, 4WD and boat trips.

El Questro

Home Valley Station

Guests spend their days taking walks through towering gorges, horse riding, helping to muster the cattle and boat rides along rivers that cut through the landscapes that inspired Baz Luhrman’s film Australia. Its spacious ‘Grass Castles’ are a unique style of accommodation on Bindoola Creek, shaded by towering eucalyptus abundant in birdlife.

Home Valley

True North

The Kimberley coastline, remote, rugged and exceedingly beautiful, is best experienced from the sea aboard the luxury expedition ship, True North. With a maximum of 36 guests, the 5 star ship is small enough to glide under cascading waterfalls and along turquoise rivers. Guests also explore by the ship’s own helicopter and speedboats that access tropical reefs, deserted beaches and, in safety, enormous crocodiles. On board service ranges from top chefs to marine biologists.

True North

Berkeley River

One of Australia’s most remote resorts, Berkeley River is also one of the newest. Its score of dune top suites all have ocean views and outdoor bathrooms and there’s a communal pool and restaurant in the main lodge. Only accessible by seaplane, Berkeley River guests are invited to explore the pristine wilderness on boat cruises, bush and beach walks and helicopter jaunts. The river – which also offers fishing, is flanked by towering rock escarpments.

Berkeley River

Sal Salis

Sal Salis is an exclusive, ecological-friendly safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia’s Cape Range National Park. It is also within easy reach of Ningaloo Reef, the world’s greatest fringing coastal coral reef, famous for its marine life including the whale shark, the world’s largest fish, which you can join for a swim, plus 500 species of tropical fish. There are nine spacious wilderness tents just yards away from the water’s edge. Guests are also treated to contemporary Australian cuisine with hints of bush food and native produce, all produced from a canvas kitchen.

Sal Salis

Cape Lodge

The recently refurbished Cape Lodge in the Margaret River, three hours south of Perth, is hardly in the same ‘remote wilderness’ category but we think its location, surrounded by top vineyards and close to spectacular beaches, make it a worthy contender in this overview of Western Australia’s top properties. There are 22 rooms and suites, the excellent Lakeside Restaurant (voted number four in the world for food by Condé Nast Traveller) and a new gourmet package which includes three nights’ accommodation with dinner, breakfast , an exclusive wine tasting and a ‘Taste of Margaret River Farmgate’ tour. Celebrity guests have included both Heston Blumenthal and Rick Stein.

Cape Lodge

David Wickers is Director of Bridge & Wickers.

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