26 September 2019
Social media-savvy travellers are increasingly choosing their digs based on how good they’re going to look on Instagram. In the diverse landscape of New South Wales, there are highly photogenic stays around every corner. Some might already be Instafamous – others are waiting for their moment in the sun.
Situated on a working 2,800-hectare farm, this is an Australian country experience for the style-conscious. Go off-grid in one of three ultra-elegant eco huts, get countrified in one of two cottages, or gather a group in The Shearers’ Quarters, complete with contemporary washhouse and large open kitchen.
This former motel – a once-faded relic from the 1970s – has been transformed into an Instagrammers’ heaven by two stylish sisters. The interiors are the hero at Halcyon House, combining bold textiles, antique furniture and interesting mementoes from around the world. There are vintage bikes to borrow, a Mediterranean-style pool and a renowned eatery, Paper Daisy. Byron Bay is a 40-minute drive south.
The Greenhouse Retreats are two beautifully styled homes in the Central Coast communities of Green Point and Pearl Beach. The Green Point home is a three-level, five-bedroom, five-bathroom hub of luxury, complete with pool; at Pearl Beach, the vibe is a little more relaxed in the pretty beach cottage.
The Old Clare occupies two heritage buildings – an old brewery and an art deco hotel – in the hip-and-happening inner Sydney suburb of Chippendale. Rooms are minimalist, with high ceilings and delicate lighting; the rooftop pool and bar are really something. Don’t leave without trying the five-course degustation menu at Automata – it’s an Insta foodie’s paradise.
Gourmands flock to this Hamptons-style boutique hotel in the quiet coastal village of Killcare, 90 minutes’ drive north of Sydney. During the day, laze by the pool or at the beach; at night, sample seasonal, sustainable – and highly photogenic – Italian food at the inhouse restaurant.
Love Cabins operates seven idyllic hideaways in the Blue Mountains, but none quite as Instagram-friendly as the Dream Cabin. Sit by the sandstone fire and admire the views through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors; or settle into the tub in the outdoor bathhouse and soak the city away. Oh, and there’s a ‘secret’ upstairs loft, accessed by a stone doorway – the perfect adult hidey-hole.
This trio of restored 1960s caravans can be hired for any campsite in the greater Byron Bay region, and make for a quirky, retro-style holiday. Helen and Pete from RetroPod set up your van of choice at your site of choice, kitting out one of their immaculately restored fleet with an annex and everything from linen to tea.
There is something slightly other-worldly about these domes, perched on a hillside overlooking the expansive Capertee Valley about an hour beyond the Blue Mountains. The three transparent spheres—named after zodiac constellations—sit atop wooden decks, with dazzling views of the stars at night and the valley during the day.
With interiors straight from the pages of a design magazine, this restored, French-style 1920s stone farmhouse is a little slice of high-brow heaven. Located on a working farm in Berry, two hours’ drive south of Sydney, it’s the perfect place to gather the tribe (it sleeps 10) and do as much, or as little, as you like.
A stay at Hotel Ravesis in Bondi Beach is all about beachside glam, bikinis and bling. The two levels of hotel suites above the public bar have a Palm Springs vibe, with oversized couches to lounge on post-swim and beach views from most rooms, either from petite Juliet balconies or more expansive terraces.
Want an experience that’s quintessentially Australian? At Broger’s End, a 65-hectare farm set on the Kangaroo River in the valley of the same name, the former milking shed has been restored into three-bedroom guest accommodation. Old sheets of galvanised iron, well-worn fence palings and antique windows and doors create a rustic, and highly Instagrammable, feel.
This row of petite, pastel oceanside cottages was way ahead of the tiny home movement. Built in the 1920s, the seven one-bedroom cabins all feature north-facing verandahs and are within walking distance of Hyams Beach, which has some of the whitest sand in the world.
Housed in the former Gowings building, the QT Sydney’s exterior drips with gothic glory while the dimly lit interiors showcase eccentric objets d’art. The dark mood continues in the rooms, which feature charcoal-hued bathtubs and crimson faux fur throws.
Deep in Mudgee wine country is this breathtaking property, which offers glamping in three eco-minded, five-star tents. The ‘tents’ – we use the word loosely – are luxurious and spacious, with wooden floors, king- or queen-sized beds, and deep freestanding bathtubs (in two of the tents only).
Tucked among eucalypts on the edge of the Hawkesbury River, Calabash Bay Lodge is only accessible by boat or seaplane. Every nook of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home has been impeccably styled, and the lodge has north-facing views of the Hawkesbury as it winds its ways through the peaceful enclave of Berowra Waters, north of Sydney.
This architect-designed, eco-friendly tower was built as a retreat from the world for its owner, who kindly decided to share his copper-clad hideaway with the world. Downstairs, there’s a kitchen and wood-fired slow-combustion fire; upstairs is a cosy sleeping loft, accessed by a ladder. Suitable for two people only.
Tilba Lake Camp occupies a gorgeous piece of countryside surrounded by mountains, the lake and ocean in Tilba, on the Far South Coast. Opt for one of the glamorous bell tents, or one of two tiny eco-pods – christened Bonnie and Clyde – which feature queen-sized beds in the loft, well-equipped kitchens, outdoor fire pits and wooden decks.
These traditional log huts sit in a secluded spot in the Snowy Mountains, a stone’s throw from the Moonbah River. They’re equally appealing whether they’re snow-covered or sunlit: come in winter and you can ski and chill by the fire. In summer, rock climb, swim in the clear river water or kick back on the porch with a book.
Instagrammers will love the exterior of this 1960s stone and timber ski hut, and probably the interiors too: all wood, stone, timber finishes and vintage ski equipment. It’s quite a remote locale in the Kosciuszko National Park, so make a list of everything you need – and check it twice.
This boutique hotel consists of four airy beach cottages divided into a series of rooms, all white and bright, with louvres, lots of timber and plenty of decorator touches. An Instagram dream, basically. In the larger compound, laze on a day bed in the tropical garden and swim in the enticing pool, or, if you’re feeling energetic, borrow a surfboard or head into Byron on a bike.
This former homestead in the Southern Highlands was converted into a boutique hotel in 1984 by two doctors, both with a passion for the grand country hotels of Europe. With a cypress-lined driveway, wisteria-covered archways, fields of bluebells and an ivy-covered poolhouse, Milton Park remains one of the State’s grandest stays.
For more information on planning your trip to New South Wales, head to VisitNSW.com