Luxe sleepovers in camps and lodges
A WINTER’S TALE: For the first time since its 1999 opening, Paperbark Camp at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast will open during winter this year with 50 per cent off a Taste of Jervis dinner, bed and breakfast package Thursday to Sunday nights from June 13 to July 17 and August 12 to September 4. Set in bushland a few hours south of Sydney, Paperbark Camp features elevated safari-style tents with hardwood flooring, double canvas roofs, outdoor deck seating and indooroutdoor ensuites. More: paperbarkcamp.com.au.
KATHERINE CALLING: The 18-room Cicada Lodge at Katherine in the NT’s Nitmiluk National Park has just reopened after a seasonal refurbishment and has discount tropical summer rates valid to the end of March. Rooms start at $495 twin-share, a saving of $200, and the rate includes arrival drinks, breakfast, Wi-Fi, and evening canapes and refreshments. More: cicadalodge.com.au.
BARGAIN BREAKS: Metro Hotels has a slew of specials for Easter and school holidays, including at Metro Apartments on Melbourne’s Bank Place where onebedroom self-contained units start at $183 a night, including noon checkout, a bottle of wine and Wi-Fi. Valid March 25-April 10. Similar deals are on offer at Metro properties in Sydney and Ipswich, Queensland. More: metrohotels.com.au/promotions.
ON THE BRISBANE BEAT: The opening of the newly built Oaks Woolloongabba marks the 10th property in Brisbane for the expanding Oaks Hotels & Resorts portfolio; the 80-room apartment-style hotel, with rooftop lap and spa pools, features configurations of one or two bedrooms, kitchen and laundry facilities, and private balconies plus extras such as study nooks and Foxtel channels. The location is 5km from the CBD and about 20 minutes from the airport. More: oakshotelsresorts.com.
FEAST AND FORAGE: Southern Ocean Lodge, on South Australia’s Kangaroo Island, is again holding a seven-night KI Food Safari and this year’s star attractions are Maggie Beer (pictured) and regional produce champion James Viles of Biota Dining in the NSW southern highlands who’ll join the lodge’s executive chef Jack Ingram to lead guests on feasting and foraging experiences. From August 20-27; $7700 a person twin-share, including return airfares from Adelaide, transfers, accommodation, wining, dining and excursions. More: baillielodges.com.au.
SEE THE LIGHTS: Enlighten 2016, including the likes of architectural projections and night noodle markets, is in full swing in Canberra from this weekend to March 12; there are Autumn Lantern illuminated dance performances on March 11 in the forecourt of Parliament House and the entertainment group Red Top Creations (think: stilt-walking and street circus) will put on a Glimmer show in the Parliamentary Triangle on March 11 and 12. Most Enlighten happenings are free of charge but ticketed events are part of the mix. More: enlightencanberra.com.au.
THERE BE T-REX: Dinosaurs are the theme of the third annual Vision Splendid Outback Film Festival at the dino fossil site of Winton, Queensland. The “greatest dinosaur and monster movies of all time” form the drawcard for the popular event, from June 24 to July 2, which features workshops, celebrity guests, live music and screenings at venues that include a heritage open- air cinema. Qantas flies from Brisbane to Longreach, from where it’s a two-hour drive to Winton. More: visionsplendidfilmfest.com.
WHALE OF A TALE: Whale sharks have been early to Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef this year; the first sightings were reported in late January, well ahead of the expected mid-March arrivals. Local operator Ningaloo Blue Dive has been running thrice-weekly swim tours and whale sharks have also been spotted off Coral Bay, 150km south of Exmouth. More: visitningaloo.com.au.
Paperbark Camp at Jervis Bay on the NSW south coast
Cicada Lodge in the Northern Territory