For a bespoke experiential Australian holiday call +61 2 9571 6677


Take me back to the Royal Mail Hotel

The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, just 3 hours drive from Melbourne, was our final stop on a road trip exploring the coastline between Adelaide and Melbourne to see what interesting snippets of the country lay still undiscovered. Having heard all the accolades about this boutique, award-winning gastro-hotel it was a pleasure to finally experience it in person.

The setting is spectacular – Dunkeld is a cute country town at the southern tip of the Grampians with a backdrop of the impressive Mt Sturgeon. Kangaroos galore hop over fields of wheat, and huge river red gums line trickling creek beds.


The Royal Mail has a huge range of accommodation to suit any needs – there are garden or mountain view rooms and one or two bedroom apartments all located at the main hotel, or for those wanting more of a country immersion and privacy, there are one or two bedroom bluestone cottages and the Mt Sturgeon Homestead (sleeps 12), which are just three kilometres away on 70 acres of land with outstanding views of Mt Sturgeon.

And whilst the luxury accommodation is lovely, it’s not for the extremely comfortable beds and amazing rain showers that people come to the Royal Mail – it’s for the food. But as I discovered, there is a lot more to Dunkeld and the Royal Mail than just the food. We stayed for two nights but I’m inclined to think it’s worth staying for three to really make the most of it.

Food Glorious Food

The Royal Mail really does know how to do food with two highly acclaimed dining options; fine-dining Wickens at the Royal Mail and the more casual Parker Street Project. Even our breakfast at Parker Street Project took things up a notch with exceptional house-cured salmon smoked with eucalyptus leaves, mushrooms marinated in a sweet vinegar and french toast on a level I’d never tasted before.

The chefs in action at Wickens


But it’s the eight-course degustation signature experience at Wickens restaurant that gets tongues wagging. Executive chef and restaurant namesake Robin Wickens along with his talented team, create a daily menu based on fresh produce from the orchards, olive groves and extensive organic kitchen garden, which grows more than 400 edible species per year.

Food or Art? One of our eight courses.


There’s a wine-list is almost as thick as a PhD thesis and the floor to ceiling windows with views of Mt Sturgeon and Mt Abrupt give a feeling of dining in nature. When we arrived as the sun set, two kangaroos grazed peacefully out front. Delivered with a service that is second to none, our eight-courses took us on a flavour journey that highlighted the skills of the chefs and the in-season local produce.



Activities at the Royal Mail Hotel

To balance out the calories from the epicurean delights, there is plenty to keep guests busy and fit. On our first afternoon we strolled along a beautiful hotel walking trail that took us past mobs of kangaroos to a grove of ancient river red gums. The following day we tackled a walk to the summit of Mt Sturgeon where we were rewarded with 360 degree views and on the way down an emu crossed our path as an added bonus. There are several other walking options –  some start straight from the hotel or some within a short drive. In the coming years track upgrades and new track openings to create the world-class Grampian Peaks Trail will give guests even more reason to visit.

Kitchen Garden Tour at the Royal Mail Hotel

At 11am each day, the Royal Mail Hotel offers guests free kitchen garden tours. We were guided by Wickens chef Tom who gave us insights into the workings of the garden and how the menu is decided for the restaurants. White ducks waddled freely (they were put there to eat the insects) and bees buzzed busily between flowers as we learnt about the ton of zucchini growing beneath our feet and how the pretty marigold flowers were planted for more than just aesthetic value.

For wine lovers (and who isn’t?), there are daily cellar tours which include comparative tasting of a local and international wine from the cellar.

The Royal Mail also has a conservation department with a captive breeding program that aims to increase numbers of and raise awareness of threatened species such as Eastern Quolls and Tiger Quolls. Guests can join the local conservationist each day as she feeds them. It’s a rare opportunity to get up close to these endangered (and nocturnal) carnivorous marsupials and to see the work that is being done to protect them.

The Royal Mail Hotel also makes a great base to see regional Victoria by helicopter. Day trips can be organised to local wineries, Port Fairy for lunch or to see the Twelve Apostles.

Talk to Alquemie to include The Royal Mail in your next Australian itinerary.



The Royal Mail Hotel has been awarded scores of esteemed accolades including;

Two Chef’s Hats by the The Age Good Food Guide 2015, 2016 and 2017, The Best Wine List Australasia at the 2014 Fine Wine Awards and Three Stars by the Australian Gourmet Traveller in both 2012 and 2013. The Australian Gourmet Traveller also awarded the Royal Mail Hotel the Regional Restaurant of the year for four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012.

Wine Spectator USA has awarded its highest accolade, the Grand Award, to the Royal Mail Hotel from 2012 to 2017. The Hotel was also added to the Hall of Fame for both Wine List of the Year and Country Restaurant List at the 2013 Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards.

On 12 July 2016, the UK’s Fine Wine awarded the Royal Mail the top ranking of three stars. Furthermore, the Royal Mail Hotel was charged with a Jury Prize, an award which saw the hotel selected by the judges as having one of the top 50 wine lists in the world.

In 2016 & 2017 the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards named the hotel as Victoria’s Best Deluxe Accommodation. In 2017, QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards named the Royal Mail Hotel winner of Tourism Restaurants, recognising excellence in food and wine tourism.







Tanja Lagoon Camp – Connect with nature

Tanja Lagoon Camp is one of those beautiful conservation stories that you dream of creating in retirement. Once a dairy farm with nothing but grass and cows, this gorgeous property has been converted by labour of love into a peaceful wilderness camp with tall trees and abundant wildlife.

A chilled out mob of Eastern Grey Kangaroos call Tanja Lagoon Camp home, as do Swamp Wallabies, Echidnas, White-footed dunnarts, Ring-Tail Possums and a variety of other mammals. In conjunction with funding from the Local Land Services, owners Loz and Sam are planting vegetation across the property to create a wildlife corridor for the rare and endangered Long-Nosed Potoroo.

Located on the Sapphire Coast about 6 hours drive south of Sydney, this small pocket of privately owned land sits on the edge of a coastal lagoon surrounded by National Park. The region is know as Australia’s Coastal Wilderness and blissfully remains relatively unvisited due to the distance from any capital cities or major airports. You’ll often have miles of beach entirely to yourself.

Both Loz and Sam are former outdoor education guides and have a wealth of knowledge on the natural world.

Luxurious Safari Tents

Just four large, luxurious safari tents overlook the lagoon. Inside each tent is a beautiful and comfortable handcrafted queen size bed positioned to enjoy the best of the view when the tent is fully opened. There is also a lounge area with a sofa and writing desk. During the cooler months there is a Noirot heater to take the chill out of the room.

The ensuite bathroom of a safari tent at Tanja Lagoon Camp

Off the back of each deck is an ensuite bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen with fridge/freezer, microwave and cooking equipment. There is no restaurant on property however there is a quality gas barbecue with a hotplate, grill, oven chamber and side burner for you to self cater if you choose.

The spacious front decks have views of the lagoon, a comfortable dining setting, an ethanol brazier in the cooler months and the sofa is easy to move outside to be enjoyed as a daybed.

Each tent also has it’s own fire drum with camp chairs and fire wood provided to allow guests to enjoy the pleasure of sitting around a camp fire.

Middle Beach is just a short bush walk from Tanja Lagoon Camp.

Activities at Tanja Lagoon Camp

At Tanja Lagoon Camp you can be as active or as lazy as you please. Nearby is Middle Beach where the lagoon meets the ocean. Here you can surf, swim or explore the rock pools and sand bar that divides the lagoon from the sea. To access this magical place there’s a short bush walk, or you can take a canoe and paddle your way to the ocean. There is also a walk through the Mimosa Rocks National Park forest amongst the spotted gums and cycads. No matter what you choose, you’ll be sure to see the abundant wildlife and feel at peace in this natural wonderland.

Within an hours drive of Tanja Lagoon Camp are a variety of other activities both on and off the water. Beaches abound for surfing and swimming. There are a range of mountain bike trails for the active, and art trails for the creative. You can discover the Aboriginal heritage of the area at Aragannu, a site of special cultural significance to the local indigenous people or visit nearby oyster farms. You won’t get bored!

One activity that is recommended is to enjoy the sunset over the lagoon from the deck of your safari tent with glass of cold wine in hand.

Tanja Lagoon Camp is perfect for those who are after a wilderness experience near the beach. It is set up for those who self drive and self cater as there is no restaurant on site, however it can easily accomodate those who need full service.




Kimberley Coastal Camp

Kimberley Coastal Camp in the far north of Australia is one of our favourite places in the Kimberley region. With no ensuites, only cold showers, and sandy floors it may be seen as an odd choice but these details are minor compared to the incredible experience you will have. This unique destination is so remote that there is no road access, and with a maximum of just 16 guests, you will truly feel like you are one of the luckiest people on earth.

The small lodge is nestled unobtrusively on the pristine shores of the Admiralty Gulf, opposite the Mitchell Plateau and famous Mitchell Falls in one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the Kimberley. The camp has been built in a rustic style with timber beams and corrugated roofing with an eclectic combination of books, fishing tackle and beachcomber treasures for decoration. There are no pre-set itineraries here. You set the pace and can be as active or laid back as you like.

Kimberley Coastal Camp
Kimberley Coastal Camp


The area is a fisherman’s paradise and if you can catch it, they can cook it!  Guided bush walks take you to Aboriginal rock art galleries that include the unique Bradshaw paintings and the younger but equally beautiful Wandjina art.  Other activities during your stay will include boat trips to fish, visits to remote islands and beaches or even a helicopter flight over the Mitchell Falls.

This is one of the least explored and most spectacular coastlines in Australia – the craggy cliffs coming down to the water’s edge, with sandstone and shell covered beaches make this area nearly inaccessible.  All the ingredients for a perfect wilderness holiday are here – a pristine environment, deserted beaches, wildlife and birds, marine adventure, delicious fresh food, a cooling pool and magnificent scenery.

The Lodge

The Lodge at Kimberley Costal Camp.  Photographer – Travis Hayto

The ‘Shed’ is the open sided living area with high raked ceilings and is the place to socialise or chill out with a good book.  An open plan kitchen and ‘help yourself to the fridge’ attitude ensures a relaxed, friendly camp atmosphere. The nucleus of the lodge with its high raked ceilings is open to the gentle sea breezes and features rustic handmade furniture from recycled timbers, designer soft furnishings, a unique outback bar, and is the setting for wonderful gourmet meals Kimberley Coastal Camp has become famous for.


Kimberley coastal camp

Accommodation is provided in hand built spacious guest gazebos scattered amongst native grasses and red sandstone. Just sixteen guests can be accommodated in the comfortable but simple wooden chaletsEach gazebo takes full advantage of the tranquil views over the Admiralty Gulf and is elegantly furnished with 5 star king size or twin single beds fitted with luxurious Sheridan linen, screened walls, handmade timber furniture, reading lamps and a ceiling fan.  Crushed coral and sand make up the floor with small bedside mats and there is a bedside lamp, mirror, bedside table and a fan.  The shared bathroom facilities that open to the sky are utterly in tune with this wild and remote environment and are not in any way an imposition.

Incredible Indigenous rock art

The ultimate in experiential travel, Kimberley Coastal Camp is ideally located at the centre of one of the world’s finest repositories of indigenous rock art. With many rock art panels and caves within close walking distance, guests are invited to experience intimate encounters with this ancient culture via fully guided bush walks or scenic boat rides. The rare Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) is dated no less than 17 500 years old (some suggest older) and is currently testing the world’s best scientific minds. The more recent Wandjina rock art with radiating headdresses and mouthless faces decorate thousands of caves throughout this country known to traditional owners as Yalrundair.

Superb fishing

Superb fishing conditions entice the most avid anglers and adventurers. The Admiralty Gulf is considered one of Australia’s greatest  fishing destinations. Guests can choose to take their catch ashore on an island fringed by Boab trees where our guide will prepare it ‘bush style’ on the open coals.

Even by Kimberley standards, Kimberley Coastal Camp is isolated. With access limited to helicopter and float plane, and numbers kept to a minimum, fishing here is for the privileged few.


Fish these abundant waters for Barramundi, Mangrove Jack, Fingermark, Mulloway (Northern Black Jew Fish), Threadfin Salmon, Giant Trevally, Spanish Mackerel, Tuna, Queen Fish, Coral Trout, Blue Bone and numerous other tropical species. In one day it is possible to catch everything from Barramundi to Blue Bone to Blue Fin Tuna.

Fishing Conditions

Huge tidal rivers together with mangrove lined creeks, estuaries, flats, offshore reefs and islands as well as blue water, ensure an exciting variety of fishing options. Kimberley Coastal Camp is one of very few fishing destinations in Australia able to offer such diverse options to the keen angler.


Wild dingoes, sea eagles, olive pythons, endangered quolls, and many other native animals share this country known to traditional owners as ‘Yalrundair‘, a rich expanse of land made up of towering escarpments and sandstone rock formations. This is true wilderness, unspoiled by the introduction of feral animals, roads and pollution.

Guided walks cater to those wishing to venture on a short stroll or a challenging all day hike. Explore by boat scenic river systems and abundant bird life. Or relax on the daybed and admire wild dingoes, sea eagles and Brahminy kites as they descend at sunset to enjoy their share of the day’s catch.

Kimberley Coastal Camp has been catering to the discerning traveller since 1994 with personalised itineraries, a staff to guest ratio of no less than 1 staff member per 3 guests, and gourmet food utilising fresh local produce and native Australian bush tuckers. This is hosted accommodation at its best.

Why you should put the Mornington Peninsula on your Australian itinerary

In recent years the Mornington Peninsula has stepped up it’s game. It’s always been a favourite weekend retreat of Melburnians but these days a plethora of world-class luxury accommodation and wineries, along with incredible scenery make it a must-do add on if you’re visiting Melbourne, and at only 90 minutes away from the city you’d be silly not to go. Here are just a few of the reasons you should visit:

Wineries & restaurants galore

Polperro by Even Keel winery has some delicious wines

The Mornington Peninsula is idea for producing cool climate wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Tempranillo and Pinot Gris, and there are more than 50 cellar doors to keep you busy. Being only 90 minutes away from Melbourne makes a day visit much more accessible than regions such as the Hunter Valley in New South Wales or Barossa Valley in South Australia, but given the huge number of wineries this wine region is best explored with time on your side.

Some of the standouts are:

Polperro by Even Keel
Small and boutique in a beautiful setting. Also with four luxury villas. (see below)

A great place to stop for lunch or dinner or stay a few days. (see below)

Port Phillip Estate
A large and commanding winery with some boutique accommodation. Also a great spot for a long lunch with a view.

Foxey’s Hangout
Excellent casual dining with scenic vineyard views. Just go with the Chef’s Menu where you’re served up what the chef decides on the day. It is great value but unfortunately you can not book.

Popular and well-known winery with stunning views overlooking vines and a sculpture park.)

Ocean Eight
One of the most spectacular vineyards on the Peninsula.  The cellar door openings are a bit limited but we have access to private barrel tastings.

Merricks General Store
Excellent for lunch. Also serves as the Cellar Door for Baillieu Wines and Elgee Park (Baillieu Myer’s vineyard).

Golfer’s paradise

Play on some of Australia’s best golf courses on the Mornington Peninsula

If you love golf then you’ll want to come to the Mornington Peninsula. Australia’s premier golfing region plays host to 15 clubs and 20 golf courses. Three of these are in Australia’s top ten, plus another six in the top 100. There’s a golf course to suit every skill level and many boast spectacular ocean views. No where else in Australia offers such a broad range of courses in such a small area.

Click on the links below to find out more about two of the top golf clubs in Australia.

St Andrews Beach Golf Course

The National Golf Club

Beaches and Nature

Sorrento back-beach on Mornington Peninsula
Sorrento back-beach

From the calm crystal clear waters of shallow beaches all the way along Port Phillip Bay from Mornington to Portsea to the rugged back-beaches of the wild ocean on the other side of the Peninsula, there is plenty of choice for the novice to the experienced swimmer or surfer. The back-beaches could be said to resemble the coastline of the Great Ocean Road with wild waves, dense tea-tree covered sand-hills and eroded outcrops. There are some great walks along the back-beaches and at low tide there are plenty of rock-pools that are deep enough to swim in and cool down.

Note: There are life-guards at some beaches during summer however only confident and strong swimmers should venture into the surf.

Point Nepean National Park

Well worth a visit if you enjoy walking and history is Point Nepean National Park. It’s the furthest point from Melbourne on the Peninsula and was once a defence base. There are a series of military fortifications as well several walking tracks that lead to interesting viewpoints of Melbourne and Queenscliff on the opposite side of the bay.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse

There are numerous walks at Cape Schanck of varying lengths that take you along rugged coastal landscape. Visit the lighthouse, Bushrangers Bay and enjoy the several lookouts with views of Devils Desk and Pulpit Rock.

Boutique Luxury Accommodation

Jackalope Hotel

Jackalope Hotel
The impressive Jackalope sculpture greets guests upon arrival

This sleek new hotel has hit the ground running and got tongues wagging. Ultra modern and sexy, the juxtaposition of it’s black walls and unique art works are at odds with the surrounding vines and makes a striking impact.

With 42 suites, 2 onsite restaurants (Doot Doot Doot and Rare Hare), a cocktail bar and it’s own winery, Jacklaope is a destination in itself and a must for people wanting a lively funky escape from Melbourne. Find out more >


Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer
Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer.

Polperro is perfect for that peaceful romantic getaway and a great base for exploring the region. We love the gorgeous suites (only four in total) overlooking the vineyards. You could spend all day in them, if only there wasn’t so much to do! Find out more > 



Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula

If you thought the Mornington Peninsula needed a boost of creativity then look no further than Jackalope Hotel. Like it’s namesake creature of American folklore, Jackalope is designed to offer guests an escape from reality. Arriving in early 2017, this mythical hybrid of old and new is just what the region needed. Already winning the accolades of Hotel of the Year, New Hotel of the Year and Regional Hotel of the Year in the Gourmet Traveller Hotel Awards 2017, Jackalope has set tongues wagging for a conceptual approach to art and it’s dark colour palette which is at odds with the more traditional accommodation offerings near by. I visited Jackalope in September 2017 and was impressed with what I saw.

Jackelope Hotel
The striking black exterior is in contrast with the surrounding vineyard


With 46 rooms, a 30-metre outdoor pool over looking the vineyards, on-property winery and cellar door, a casual and fine-dining restaurant, plus a cocktail bar, Jackalope has filled the much needed gap where mid-sized luxury hotels were lacking on the Mornington Peninsula. Plus it’s only about 1 hour from Melbourne and the nearest helicopter landing is only 15 minutes away.

Jackelope room with vineyard view

Quirky commissioned art installations, nightclub style hallways and unusual architecture all add up to one fantastic feast for the eyes. Despite it being out of place, it all seems to make sense once you’re there.

Jackelope hotel
Jackelope’s hallway wouldn’t be out of place in a nightclub

The 42 luxury rooms have private terraces and the option of deep soak baths in four luxury suites. Sizes range from 52-85 sqm and you can choose from Garden view or Vineyard view (recommended).  In contrast to the abundant art in the common areas, the room interiors are decidedly understated with simple black walls and lush furnishings leaving the view as the key piece of art.

My recommendation would be to take a Signature suite with loft ceilings, an expansive 30 sqm terrace overlooking the vines, a double sided indoor/outdoor fireplace, a six-seater indoor dining table, kitchenette, cocktail bar and a personal wine cellar.

  • Inside: 85 sqm/914 sqft
  • Terrace: 30 sqm/333 sqft
  • West-facing (sunset aspect), overlooking Willow Creek vineyard
  • King Bed
  • Alfresco dining for six and outdoor lounge
  • Double-sided indoor/outdoor fireplace
  • Kitchenette, bar, private wine cellar
  • Deep soak, black stone bath tub
  • Complimentary breakfast served in Doot Doot Doot
  • Complimentary minibar (excluding wine)
Rooms are luxurious but sparsely decorated

Whilst there is no on-site spa, the hotel has several in-house masseurs ready to take your relaxation to the next level. You can enjoy a massage in the privacy of your own room (followed by a soak in your deep Japanese bath) or there are other private areas to accommodate you.

Enjoy an in-room massage on your private balcony.

When it’s time for an afternoon beverage then Jackalope won’t disappoint. You certainly wouldn’t expect to find an on-site cocktail bar like Flagerdoot amongst the vineyards. Sample the alchemy of experimental in-house creations such as ‘Mushroom & Maple’ made from Shiitake mushroom, maple, chocolate bitters, bourbon whiskey. With dark parquet floors, handpicked gold leather seating and a chic, industrial-chemistry lab feel to it, Flagerdoot attracts the curious hoards on a weekend, eager to see what all the fuss is about.

Flaggerdoot cocktail bar is an unexpected delight.

Also attracting day visitors and guests alike are the two superb dining options and rumours of the delicious food at Jackalope are true. Doot Doot Doot, the upmarket fine-dining option has a ten thousand bulb chandelier, five-course seasonal degustation of local produce fresh from the kitchen garden and a unique selection of limited-release wines. It’s visually impressive by day and even more so at night when then chandelier comes alive.

Open for lunch: noon – 3pm, Saturday and Sunday and dinner: 6pm – 9pm (last order), 7 days.

For more casual dining head to Rare Hare. I ate a sumptuous lunch there and despite the winter rain outside it was warm and toasty and buzzing with diners. Highly recommended is the Negroni cured trout with horseradish cream and dill on rye toast, and the Salmon cutlet cured in white miso, sesame and ginger. Open from Monday to Thursday 11am to 5pm and Friday to Sunday from 11am to 9pm it makes a great place for a lazy long lunch or a dinner whether you’re staying in the hotel or not.

Nearby Red Hill properties Polperro and Port Phillip Estate both mentioned that they send guests to Jackelope to dine.

The casual dining option of Rare Hare serves up fantastic share plates.

Before or after you feast, visit the Cellar Door of Willow Creek Vineyard. The entrance of Rare Hare backs on to a great room where wine barrels line up to the ceiling and guests can sample the wares. If you like Rosé you’ll be in for a treat.

Rare Hare Range
The Rare Hare Range

It was winter during my visit but the 30 metre pool will be the perfect place for guests to wile away a sunny summer afternoon, glass of wine in hand. Overlooking the vineyard, it’s for guests only and even in the winter the steamy attached jacuzzi was being used.

Overall the hotel feels like a place to enjoy with friends or for a celebration rather than for romance and peace and quiet. Maybe this is due to the two on-site restaurants and quirky cocktail bar, or maybe it’s just the funky vibe of the place – it’s all about good times, great laughs and a unique experience to be shared. Jackalope has made an impression and is here to stay. To add Jackalope to an Australian itinerary contact

Polperro Villas at Red Hill – A boutique luxury accommodation on the Mornington Peninsula

If you’re after a peaceful weekend getaway from Melbourne then look no further than Polperro Villas at Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula.  Only 90 minutes from the city, it is simply the perfect place for romance and relaxation. Just four luxurious villas are privately located on 25 acres of working vineyards in the heart of the famous wine region Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula. Here’s why we love it….

Polperro Villas sit on 25 private acres of vineyards.
Polperro Villas
The villas have a gorgeous large spa bath.

Each luxury villa features a king size bed, designer styling, an open fire place, a central spa bath and a private deck with vineyard views.

Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer
Polperro Villas are perfect in winter or summer.

On the property is also an intimate cellar door showcasing the full range of wines from Polperro and Even Keel founder and winemaker, Sam Coverdale.

Polperro wines
Sample wines made onsite at the cellar door.

There’s also a delightful bistro overlooking the vineyards with dishes like ‘Glazed lamb ribs, soft pancakes, garlic labneh, tomato relish, cucumber’ or ‘Duck breast, coffee chestnut purée, black quinoa, balsamic reduction’.

Polperro Bistro with indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the vineyards
Polperro Bistro with indoor and outdoor dining overlooking the vineyards

Guests can grab a picnic pack and wine and venture out to explore the grounds for a long lazy afternoon in nature.

Polperro picnic
Grab a picnic pack and spend the afternoon relaxing outside.

For visiting guests there’s plenty to do, see and taste, with over 50 boutique cellar doors to explore, many celebrated restaurants to eat at, and pristine beaches and natural surrounds to feed nature lovers.

Polperro wines
Red Hill hosts more than 50 cellar doors

Polperro also offers guests Hot Hut yoga classes 7 days a week

HotHut yoga at Polperro
HotHut yoga

The accommodation here is our pick of the Mornington Peninsula. It is simply stunning and perfect for summer or winter. While one night here would be enough, we recommend two to really absorb and relax into the environment. To include Polperro Villas on your Australian itinerary contact

Capella Lodge – Luxury Lodges of Australia

Capella Lodge, on World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is Australia’s answer to Tahiti with the magic of the ocean and spectacular views.  Elise Johnson, Sales Manager for Capella, tells us more about this Luxury Lodge of Australia.

Describe Capella Lodge in 3 words.

Stylish barefoot luxury.

Tell us a little bit about Capella Lodge and what makes it so unique beyond great food, great wine and a very comfortable place to sleep?

Capella Lodge is a luxurious retreat on Lord Howe Island, a small, breathtakingly beautiful island that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982. The island is bordered by a reef-fringed lagoon, rolling surf, and the world’s southern-most coral reef. Only a fortunate few enjoy this stunning island paradise, with a small number of residents and only four hundred visitors permitted at any one time, to ensure that the island is preserved as nature intended.

Capella Lodge is Lord Howe Island’s premium boutique accommodation and a close-kept secret amongst those in-the-know! It’s inspired by the authentic Australian beach house, with nine island-styled suites designed to reflect Lord Howe’s pristine natural environment. A unique feature of Capella Lodge is its prime location, resting above Lord Howe Island’s tiny, secret beach at Lovers Bay and at the foot of the island’s famous twin peaks, Mounts Gower and Lidgbird. Capella prides itself on its contemporary cuisine, first name service and relaxed sophistication, which delivers an exclusive Lord Howe Island experience. Despite all of this, it is the genuine hospitality that each guest receives from the Lodge Managers, Mark and Libby, along with their team of warm and welcoming staff, that always leaves a lasting impression, long after our guests have left our little spot of paradise.

Capella Lodge is a luxurious retreat on Lord Howe Island
Capella Lodge is a luxurious retreat on Lord Howe Island

What activity should guests not miss during their stay at Capella Lodge?

Take a stroll with our resident naturalist guide, Caitlin, who offers interpretive nature excursions around the island. Caitlin is a walking encyclopaedia on Lord Howe’s flora and fauna, and has a natural knack of discovering the shyest of rare sea birds or cleverly camouflaged marine wildlife!

Best dining experience at Capella Lodge?

Capella Lodge has a regional approach to cuisine ensures the finest and freshest produce from Lord Howe Island and New South Wales is showcased in every inspired menu. The light and airy, beach-house styled Restaurant and Bar has spectacular views of the lagoon and mountains, providing a dramatic backdrop for all dining.

My own memorable dining experience was a relaxed BBQ lunch with my husband on our anniversary. We rode bikes (complimentary for Capella Lodge guests and the best way to get around the island!) to Ned’s Beach, where Capella Lodge arranged a BBQ pack and bottle of wine to be delivered in time for our arrival. We spent the afternoon enjoying a BBQ lunch, along with fresh salads and dessert, followed by fish feeding and paddle boarding in the blue waters of Ned’s Beach. Bliss!

Sea-birds abound on Lord Howe Island
Sea-birds abound on Lord Howe Island

Please describe a typical guest at Capella Lodge.

We have welcomed a diverse range of travellers from all over the world, each looking to capture a piece of our island paradise! Our guests return again and again to reignite the magic they discovered at their secluded beach hideaway and to enjoy a warm ‘welcome home’ from their Capella family.

Is Capella Lodge child friendly?

We welcome children 10 years and older at Capella Lodge.

Capella Lodge at Lord Howe Island has fabulous marine life
Capella Lodge at Lord Howe Island has fabulous marine life

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Capella Lodge is just one property in the ‘Baillie Lodges’ collection, which offers premium experiential travel in some of Australia’s most inspiring locations. See the real Australia, in style, by visiting our sister properties: Southern Ocean Lodge on the coastal sanctuary of Kangaroo Island, and Longitude 131° at Australia’s spiritual heart, Uluru-Kata Tjuta.


Elise Johnson
Sales Manager for Baillie Lodges (Southern Ocean Lodge, Longitude 131, Capella Lodge)

Elise Johnson is the Sales Manager for Baillie Lodges, a collection of intimate luxury lodges in unique wilderness destinations.


Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie


Longitude 131 – A Luxury Lodge of Australia

Longitude 131, one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia is uniquely located in the Central Australian outback near World Heritage listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Elise Johnson, Longitude 131°’s Sales Manager , tells us more.

Describe Longitude 131° in 3 words.

Timeless, spiritual and authentic.

Tell us a little bit about Longitude 131° and what makes it so unique beyond great food, great wine and a very comfortable place to sleep?

Imagine waking to the sight of Australia’s most iconic view – the sacred red rock of Uluru – literally at the end of your bed! Situated discreetly adjacent to the World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Longitude 131° offers 15 elevated luxury tents with unrivalled views of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the surrounding desert landscape. A custom itinerary of guided experiences offer guests a first-hand encounter of Australia’s Red Centre. Guests might walk among the majestic red domes of Kata Tjuta, dine outdoors under the stars and witness the changing lights over Uluru at the magic moment of sunset, with glass of champagne in hand. At Longitude 131°, we promise our guests a special connection with the spiritual heart of Australia, with that little touch of luxury!

At Longitude 131° Uluru (Ayers Rock) can be seen from your bed!
At Longitude 131° Uluru (Ayers Rock) can be seen from your bed!

How is Longitude 131 pushing the boundaries in guest experiences?

An exceptional signature touring program designed exclusively for Longitude 131° guests is included in the wilderness experience and a personalised itinerary is presented upon arrival. This touring program showcases the world’s largest monoliths: the Red Centre’s gem, Uluru (Ayers Rock), and the sacred red domes of Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). For further exploration, we can arrange additional bespoke experiences that cater to a wide range of interests, including scenic helicopter flights, camel rides, motorcycle tours, dot painting workshops and plenty more!

At Baillie Lodges’ we pride ourselves on our ongoing commitment to product excellence, the result of which our guests are thrilled to experience. One recent example is the iconic ‘Field of Light’ display, an incredible light installation created by British-born installation artist Bruce Munro. Longitude 131° guests have an exclusive experience of the interactive artwork as part of the lodge’s Signature Experiences program. As the twilight cools the day, guests walk uninterrupted along the pathways in the Field of Light, just as the tiny buds are lighting up in the evening sky. When it’s time to depart, the field is fully lit, mirroring the billions of stars in the midnight blue of the desert sky and offering an unforgettable transformation of the landscape. Field of Light will be lighting up the Red Centre until 31 March 2018 ~ you won’t want to miss it!

The new balconies complete with swag at Longitude 131°
The new balconies complete with swag at Longitude 131°

What’s a recent (last 6 months) innovation at Longitude 131°?

Earlier this year, Longitude 131 revealed its new balconies, a modern addition to the existing tent-style pavilions that fit so naturally it’s hard to imagine the tents without them. The balconies offer luxurious outdoor lounging with comfy armchairs, an EcoSmart fire for the evenings and generous daybed for relaxing into views of Uluru. A luxury evening turndown service includes an after-dinner snack with accompanying digestifs, and the rollout of the new custom-designed Baillie swag under the open night sky. Perfect for lazing and star-gazing under a blanket of stars, this is glamping at its most marvellous!

What activity should guests not miss during their stay at Longitude 131°?

A scenic helicopter flight showcasing spectacular bird’s eye views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, or further afield discover Lake Amadeus and Mount Conner.

A helicopter experience at Longitude 131° is not to be missed.
A helicopter experience at Longitude 131° is not to be missed.

Best dining experience at Longitude 131°?

Our daily changing menus reflect the best of contemporary Australian cuisine, combined with outback flavours and native ingredients like lemon myrtle, quandongs and desert-foraged herbs to create a uniquely local dining experience. Whilst dining under the canopy of the Dune House, guests are encouraged to feel at home by helping themselves to a diverse range of Australian wines, beers and premium spirits from the open bar. There’s always a friendly team member on hand to assist with mixing up a special ‘outback’ cocktail!

A truly memorable dining experience is Table 131°, a spectacular dinner under the stars enjoyed with fellow travellers among the red desert dunes. Guests are welcomed to their table by the sounds of the didgeridoo, reflecting on their day of discovery whilst enjoying four delicious courses complemented by the finest Australian wines. The evening is complete as our resident astronomer shares stories of the Southern night sky. Exclusive to Longitude 131°, Table 131° is an incredible outback experience like none other.

Table 131°, a spectacular dinner under the stars
Table 131°, a spectacular dinner under the stars

Please describe a typical guest at Longitude 131°.

There are no typical guests at Longitude 131, each are unique with their own personal desire for visiting this magical part of Australia!

Is Longitude 131° child friendly?

We welcome children 10 years and older at Longitude 131.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Longitude 131° makes a perfect outback complement to the coastal wilderness on offer at sister property Southern Ocean Lodge and to the subtropical coral reef paradise at Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island. Let Alquemie create the ultimate luxury itinerary for your visit to Australia!


Elise Johnson
Sales Manager for Baillie Lodges (Southern Ocean Lodge, Longitude 131, Capella Lodge)

Elise Johnson is the Sales Manager for Baillie Lodges, a collection of intimate luxury lodges in unique wilderness destinations.

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The Louise – Luxury Lodges of Australia

The Louise, is an intimate Luxury Lodge of Australia in the Barossa Valley with just fifteen beautifully appointed suites. We talked to Ruby Stobart, Director of Sales and Marketing to find out more.

Describe The Louise in 3 words.

Luxurious, private, authentic.

Tell us a little bit about The Louise and what makes it so unique beyond great food, great wine and a very comfortable place to sleep?

A stay at The Louise is more than a memorable dinner just a short stroll from your luxurious suite, it’s a place where you can find a genuine connection to the people and land of Barossa through food, wine, and experiences. Our luxurious suites, dinner, informed and intuitive service understands the need for our guests’ breathing space and privacy, to allow reconnection to each other, self and the beautiful region that is Barossa.

Nestled in the heart of Barossa, Australia’s most famous wine region, The Louise offers absolute luxury and inspired design with private spaces and breathtaking vineyard views together with Appellation restaurant, one of Australia’s best contemporary regional dining experiences. With a passion for fresh local ingredients, Executive chef Ryan Edwards and his team are guided by the rhythms of the seasons; harvesting from their kitchen garden, baking their own breads, butchering and curing their own meats; and see wine and food as the most natural of partners.

The Louise restaurant Appellation - chef's picking fresh food


The Barossa is home to over 80 cellar doors and over 50 small producers who are not open to the public; we have great relationships with local producers and are happy to share these with you. Whether it be a one-on-one masterclass at an iconic winery, a private lunch and tasting with an artisan winemaker or a behind-the-scenes look into a working winery with the winemaker, there are many ways for you to enjoy what is magic and special about the Barossa.

How is The Louise pushing the boundaries in guest experiences?

Surrounded by stunning vineyards, The Louise suites are designed for you to revel in beautiful vineyard views, offering breathing space as well as a sense of privacy. A stay at The Louise seeks to cocoon and pamper, all suites have spa tubs for relaxation and many with gas log fireplaces for cosy days, and outdoor private rain showers – showering under a Southern sky is one of those special experiences! Appellation’s sunset terrace is the perfect place for cocktails and fine wines overlooking verdant vistas. Our infinity edge lap pool sits adjacent to vines and overlooks olive groves, casting glorious light as the sun sets. In-suite massages can be arranged in your private courtyard too.

The Louise pool

We pride ourselves on our local knowledge and relationships to deliver unique and special off-site guest experiences. Some of my favourites are:

Breakfast with the Kangaroos – walk amongst Australian flowers, birds and wildlife then sit back and enjoy a sunrise picnic breakfast with kangaroos in native bushland.

Most Brilliant Blend – for the wine enthusiast, make your most brilliant blend of wine at the famous Penfolds and have our chef prepare a dinner to match.

Farmer’s Market Tour – join our chef while he peruses the local farmer’s market for dinner provisions, meet the makers and share in his passion for the food of the region.

Hot air balloon flights – float over ancient vineyards and natural landscapes whilst enjoying a birds eye view of wine valleys.

Cooking classes – Roll up your sleeves and get into the kitchen at either of two cooking schools in the Barossa; the Italian inspired Casa Carboni or the intimate kitchen studio of Food Luddite.

The Louise dining at Appellation

What’s a recent (last 6 months) innovation at The Louise?

We’ve partnered with Australia’s most exciting winery Two Hands Wines and their Vineyard Experiences to bring you a ‘vineyard safari’ like no other. Your guide will pick you up from The Louise in a luxury Land Rover Defender, for a day of exploring iconic Two Hands Wines private vineyard estates. You’ll stand in the vineyard, drinking the wine from the vines you see before you, with views unrivalled in Barossa, flagship wines and a wood-fired pizza lunch to finish. This is a one of a kind behind the scenes experience in Australia.

We love this experience so much it is part of our 3 night Best of Barossa package!

What activity should guests not miss during their stay at The Louise?

My perfect day – Taste for yourself the bounty of great Australian wine and genuine Barossa hospitality:
Tour the Barossa Farmer’s Market with our chef on a Saturday (he’ll even buy you a coffee!), chat with the growers and shop for the evening’s meal. Enjoy a day wine touring with a local guide – start with the Influences of Oak tasting at Murray Street Vineyards hosted by the winemaker, a great insight into the whole winemaking process, then join one of the family for a tasting at the famous Elderton Wines, and make sure you head over to Fino @ Seppeltsfield for a delicious lunch and a stroll through the JamFactory artists’ studios, return to The Louise for a soak in your tub and a sundowner on your private terrace.

Best dining experience at The Louise?

Appellation’s wine paired four course dinner: our menu offers you the opportunity to enjoy the very finest of seasonal produce from our friends, neighbours, and regions of South Australia. You simply select your own ‘four course tour’ of the menu, and our Sommelier will pair wines from our award winning 400+ wine list.

The Louise restaurant Appellation

Please describe a typical guest at The Louise.

The Louise is perfect for couples seeking a romantic getaway, experience seekers

Is The Louise child friendly?

Appellation at The Louise is designed for adults and caters for children 10 years and older, who will be accommodated on the same basis as adults.

Ruby Stobart
Director of Sales and Marketing – The Louise and Appellation

Born in New Zealand and with many other stops along the way, Ruby has enjoyed a life of travel. Her adventures have taken her to many parts of the globe; living in Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, England and the USA as well as trips to Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Cambodia, the Caribbean and Bahamas. Her passion is for great food and wine and this drove her to study wine in various levels at Adelaide University, Court of Master Sommeliers, Australian Wine Research Institute and WSET UK. Her work in the industry includes roles in wine buying, wine sales, marketing and management.

Ruby oversees The Louise and Appellation brand communication and takes care of all trade and media relationships and has been with the company for over 9 years. She genuinely relishes working in the hospitality and tourism industries and along with her work at The Louise is currently Deputy Chair for Tourism Barossa and co-founder of non-profit meal service Kind Hearted Kitchen. Married to a winemaker and mother of two, living and working in the Barossa with like-minded passionate people, Ruby feels she is living ‘the good life’.


Ruby Stobart
Ruby Stobart

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Bamurru Plains – Luxury Lodges of Australia

Bamurru Plains, a Luxury Lodges in Australia’s Top End is one of the most stunning destinations in Australia. A profusion of bird and wildlife are on the doorstep of this unique bush lodge that brings a touch of style to the discovery of a remote and beautiful wilderness. We talked to the manager of Bamurru Plains to find out more.

Tell us a little bit about Bamurru Plains and what makes it so unique beyond great food, great wine and a very comfortable place to sleep?

Bamurru Plains is located on a 303sq klm pastoral property just to the west of Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory of Australia. With approx. 1/3 of this property being floodplain and with a saltwater river system and coastline as part of its boundaries the property boasts a huge amount of wildlife and different eco systems all with their own unique story to tell.

The Kingfisher Suite at Bamurru Plains
The Kingfisher Suite at Bamurru Plains

How is Bamurru Plains pushing the boundaries in guest experiences?

I would like to think it is through the deliverance of the experience to the guests. You are not just a spectator on the tour where you simply take photos of a magnificent landscape. It is through the guided experience where guests get to touch, smell, visualise and hear the stories of the environment so that they can take away knowledge as well.

What’s a recent (last 6 months) innovation at Bamurru Plains?

We have recently purchased seven Yamaha Grizzly quad bikes for our guests. It allows us to get into areas of the property which our safari vehicles cannot access, which form a guided experience is something unique, but it also allows the guest to be in control of their own machine which has been a winner with the guests.

What activity should guests not miss during their stay at Bamurru Plains?

An airboat tour across the floodplains (weather permitting).

Best dining experience at Bamurru Plains?

It has to be the communal dining experience which we do for every meal at Bamurru Plains. To me I think one of the key fundamental social issues is people do not communicate face to face anymore. Everywhere you look in the cities it is people communicating by phones etc. Whereas at Bamurru people are dining in what I believe to be the true outback way….together at one big table swapping stories of their travels and making in some cases lifelong friendships.

Please describe a typical guest at Bamurru Plains.

There is absolutely nothing typical about our guests. Everyone who stays here has a particular interest and it is up to us as the hosts to find what that is. Similar to our environment it changes daily and so do our guests.

Is Bamurru Plains child friendly?

Yes from 8 years old and above. Some great experiences for kids are doing a quad bike tour with their parents, swimming in the edge pool, an airboat tour across the floodplain or a river cruise spotting the resident saltwater crocodiles.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes…..see you all soon!

Click here to find out more about Australian travel with Alquemie