Australia’s luxury barefoot paradises are exclusive by virtue of their remoteness, their special location or the small number of guests they accommodate at any one time. The amount of sun, sand and open space in Australia is a luxury of the rarest kind. So toss the suit, kick off the shoes and get some sand between your toes…here are just some of the places where you can leave your cares and worries behind and watch the waves roll in.
At Faraway Bay, a remote luxury coastal bush camp on the northwest corner of the vast Australian coastline known as the Kimberley Coast, you’ll eat and cook fish you’ve caught off the beach, just like Robinson Crusoe. Spectacularly isolated, all six secluded bush-style cabins enjoy 180° ocean views. This place is so remote you’ll have trouble finding it on a map.
In Australia’s island state, Tasmania, the crystal clear waters and white sandy beach of Wineglass Bay on the Freycinet Peninsula are the perfect spot to throw off your shoes. To do otherwise would be sacrilege in this pristine wilderness environment. Stay at Freycinet Lodge on the headland here, or further north, Tasmania’s other top spot for going barefoot is the Bay of Fires on the East Coast.
Queensland has any number of barefoot paradises. Why not escape to your own barefoot island, such as Double Island, a luxurious private island retreat surrounded by the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. It’s only available for rental on a whole-of-island basis so only one party or group can secure the resort at any one time.
At the remote northern end of the Great Barrier Reef off the uninhabited Cape York coastline, Haggerstone Island is an exclusive and unique wilderness retreat. Daily adventures on this privately owned island range from swimming among pristine coral reefs, snorkelling, fishing, exploring uninhabited islands or doing nothing at all. All daily excursions involve catching seafood for the superb lunches and evening meals, which feature the freshest ingredients from the island gardens. Four individual handcrafted “houses”, range in style from the Robinson Crusoe Beach House to the Tree House built amid the forest canopy. Each is uniquely decorated with local artefacts, shells and furniture made from driftwood, and a wooden deck provides views to the ocean.
A very smart person – possibly an Australian – once said that to find yourself, you must first of all lose yourself. And if you must lose yourself, what better place than amidst the world’s greatest natural wonder the Great Barrier Reef.
Lizard Island Resort is an exclusive and remote private paradise located on the Reef, with accommodation for only 20 couples and 24 powdery white sandy beaches – all for you to squish your toes into. Discover secluded, pristine beaches by foot or by motorised dinghy with a gourmet picnic just for two. Or on Orpheus Island, a coral fringed island resort within its own national park, you can eat a gourmet dinner at a single candlelit table laid with a beautifully starched cloth and set out on a jetty that juts out into the water.
Back on the West Coast, Broome’s new eco wilderness retreat, Eco Beach, recently opened its doors. This property includes stunning villas, luxury tents, an infinity pool, on site bar and restaurant, and you’re never expected to wear shoes. You can walk barefoot, laze around sunbaking on the eco-decking or follow indigenous guides on coastal walks.
Just south of Exmouth, a luxury tented camp is hidden among the white sand dunes of the Cape Range National Park on the edge of Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. It only opened in late 2008, but already Conde Nast Traveller UK has named Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef as one of the hottest new hotels in the world in its 10th anniversary Hot List 2009. Taking its inspiration from luxury African safari camps Sal Salis brings the concept of ‘wild bush luxury’ to Western Australia, Renowned for its 280-kilometre-long fringing reef this is known as the best place in the world to swim with whale sharks and manta rays. Five spacious wilderness tents are just metres from the water’s edge and the world’s greatest fringing coastal coral reef.
Off the coast of New South Wales, the world-heritage listed Lord Howe Island is a laid back, unspoilt dot in the ocean, ideal for barefoot lovers. Stay at one of two luxury lodges - Arajilla or Capella - and swim or snorkel off the beach.
In Sydney’s Palm Beach, rent out an exclusive beach house, while at Killcare on the Central Coast a little more than an hour from Sydney, Pretty Beach House has just opened. It’s an exclusive all-inclusive retreat with views through bush over the Bay, your own private chef and nothing to do except lay back and enjoy it.
On South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, stay in one of three private luxury houses, the Sky, Stone or Cliff House, run by Lifetime Retreats. You’ll have your private chef prepare your gourmet meals while you do yoga, fly kites, watch wildlife or paint.
Or why not charter a luxury motor yacht on Sydney Harbour or in the Whitsundays. Your every whim will be catered for by a dedicated crew - superb meals, diving, snorkelling and location requests – while you cruise and explore the coastline, stopping at isolated beaches where the only footprints are your own.
You can even take a helicopter to a private beach in Sydney. Or, off the Queensland coast, pick your own deserted tropical island. Experience the ultimate romantic adventure as your private helicopter soars above the beautiful Whitsunday Islands then lands on a deserted island for a gourmet champagne lunch. From any of Australia’s coastal resorts – east, west, south or north coast, take a resort boat and picnic hamper to a remote beach and paddle around for a day’s seclusion.
So, if its absolute luxury you’re after, in Australia you can get it barefoot! Now that’s true luxury, Aussie Style!
Author: Karen Halabi on behalf of Tourism Australia. This article is copyright free and may be reproduced.