Nine Luxury Destinations To Visit As NSW And VIC Borders Reopen
Start planning your interstate trips with these desirable locales.
Following the easing of restrictions in Victoria and Melbourne, the possibility of a return to travel to New South Wales has been highly anticipated.
Today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the border between the two states will open at one minute past midnight on Monday, November 23.
The decision comes after Victoria reported its fifth consecutive day of zero COVID-19 cases or deaths. The reopening will also come as a timely reprieve for families separated by the border in time for the holiday season. Victorian’s wanting to travel to other states will have to quarantine in SA, NT, ACT and TAS, and are not yet allowed to travel to WA or QLD.
In light of what is a boost of positivity for the tourism industry – before the peak summer period – we’ve compiled the nine best destinations and experiences for a luxurious interstate getaway. Get planning.
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, NSW
The appeal here is far-reaching—a nature escape that doesn’t skimp on the luxury, a valley steeped in incredible natural history (Darwin made a stop here to study things in the early 1800s) and the fact that there’s no phone reception. Joyous. The famed award-winning eco-retreat offers a chance to truly escape (hello 2,800 hectares to explore) without ever forgoing necessities such as fine dining, private pools, fireplaces, spa, yoga, and tightly held guest numbers.
A 60-hectare working farm in Gerringong might not be the most likely location for two high-drama, architect-designed lodges. But here, on NSW’s South Coast, you’ll find The Headland and The Range, a pair of gasp-inducing villas casting shadows over Werri Beach. Together known as Dovecote, the accommodations—replete with designer fireplaces and outdoor cinemas—are best accessed via helicopter from Sydney. When you land, organise multi-course meals and spa treatments, or take a coastal walk into the sleepy town of Kiama.
United Places, Melbourne
A slice of calm and cool in the middle of Melbourne, United Places is the city’s best boutique hotel. Less hotel and more members’ club, the exclusive experience is all about discretion served with a sense of sophistication. Designer touches like Le Labo products, Redondo couches and quaffable additions from Sullivans Cove fill the tightly edited 12 suites on the property – each of which overlooking the Botanic Gardens. Your UP host can organise a PT, Yoga or in-room massage while the neighbouring Matilda and acclaimed chef Scott Pickett plate up what is surely the country’s best in-room dining experience.
Pretty Beach House, NSW
A short meander north from Sydney—and proof the Central Coast means more than tradies and Jennifer Hawkins. This hilltop guest house is a wonderful weekend indulgence — a place of easy warmth built around inclusive (impressive) meals, just four ‘rooms’ (we’d suggest the two-storey Retreat), incredible views and a chance to explore the area’s magical beaches or trek Bouddi Peninsula. Also… free mini-bar! Grab a seaplane transfer and enjoy.
Raes, Byron Bay, NSW
Sure, opt for a private rental up the hill… or enjoy the direct beach access and relaxed sense of luxury that continues to cloak this Byron standout. Legend has it that the grounds of the ’60s Spanish mission-style property were designed by Salvador Dalí. While we’ve never quite been convinced, what we do know is that Raes remains a byword for heightened levels of North Coast cool—an experience that’s as easy as it is chic, built around seven unique rooms (villa, two penthouses and four luxury suites), impressive spa, pool, fresh in-house dining menus, deep cellar and easy-going service that’s always on-point.
Hermes Estate, Gleniffer, NSW
Prefer to holiday and socially distance at the same time? Freshly minted Hermes Estate is available for exclusive rental only, with all four guests given free run of the entire two-hectare property on the banks of northern NSW’s Never Never River. The only other companions here are the staff: butler, chef, spa therapist, chauffeur. The lush country setting is the perfect complement to the lodging’s French-inspired décor—think opulent antiques, chandeliers, first-edition tomes in the library and original artwork. It’s a 45-minute drive from Coffs Harbour, though we recommend making the most of the private helipad to transfer in style.
A Need For Speed
Fancy revving up a Ferrari 488 GTB? Or a Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4? These are among the supercars in the Prancing Horse portfolio, and you’ll drive them both (and others) on the scenic 200-kilometre journey north from Sydney to the Hunter Valley. NSW’s premier wine region is known for its bold chardonnay, sémillon and shiraz varietals, which you’ll sip over lunch at the applauded Muse Restaurant, on the estate of Hungerford Hill. The experience will re-launch in 2021, though if you can’t wait, supercar food-and-wine tours around the Yarra Valley are available in November.
A Feast Fit For Cleopatra
It’s not every day you get the chance to dine metres from a priceless work of art. But for $39,000, you and seven friends can do just that, in a room housing the National Gallery of Victoria’s most sought-after painting. Italian artist Giambattista Tiepolo’s The Banquet of Cleopatra draws thousands to this Melbourne institution every year. But only 16 eyes will scrutinise the masterpiece while your party enjoys live music and a memorable meal.
The Range, Byron Bay, NSW
Head to the hills, specifically Coopers Shoot outside Byron Bay, and a unique property that brings a sense of Spain (without being naff) to the region. From the husband and wife team who delivered agritourism hotspot The Farm, Tom and Emma Lane, this luxurious retreat comprises three main buildings available for exclusive rental. Interiors and exteriors ooze rustic European designer charm—replete with pool, 48 tranquil hectares