Au­tumn ac­cents

Stay snug as evenings cool and leaves turn

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AUSTRALIA -

MOUNT LOFTY HOUSE — AC­COR MGALLERY COL­LEC­TION, ADE­LAIDE HILLS: Au­tumn is the loveli­est time to visit the Ade­laide Hills, a sea­son of In­dian sum­mer days and cool nights, the soft light artist Hans Hey­sen loved so well il­lu­mi­nat­ing crim­son-leaved trees and steeply ter­raced vine­yards of gold. Vin­tage is wrapped, with pears and ap­ples now piled high on mar­ket stands and lo­cals busy col­lect­ing fire­wood or mush­rooms. Get a taste of this abun­dant sea­son at Mount Lofty House, an MGallery Col­lec­tion ho­tel only 15 min­utes from Ade­laide CBD, perched just below the sum­mit and above the 100ha Mount Lofty Botanic Gar­den. Built in the 1850s by the Hardy fam­ily, who fa­mously lived in a kind of “feu­dal splen­dour”, the house to­day of­fers 33 gue­strooms (many with bal­conies), the sta­ble has been con­verted to a day spa and new lux­ury guest suites are on track. Strad­dling a forested ridge, the house claims stun­ning views of the Pic­cadilly Val­ley and botanic gar­den; pack your walk­ing shoes and al­low a few hours to ram­ble among the maples and dog­woods, around the lake and back up the deep rhodo­den­dron gully. With its own small vine­yard and or­ganic kitchen gar­den, the ho­tel is an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter of all things Hills. More: mgallery.com.

CHRIS­TINE McCABE

PEN­DER’S BARN AND THE POST OF­FICE, CRACK­EN­BACK, NSW: Blink and you might miss Pen­der’s Barn and the Post Of­fice along the Alpine Way near Thredbo. The sis­ter bou­tique prop­er­ties near Kosciuszko Na­tional Park seem part of the high-coun­try land­scape, a re­mark­able feat given they’re sep­a­rated by more than a cen­tury. The Post Of­fice, which sleeps five, dates from the 1890s. When Sonja Schat­zle de­cided to tackle the ren­o­va­tor’s de­light that had been qui­etly fall­ing apart on her fam­ily’s farm, she found the roof re­sem­bled a colan­der and wom­bats had moved in. Pen­der’s Barn, the ad­join­ing prop­erty, which sleeps 11, was com­pleted in 2010. To com­ple­ment the rus­tic ver­nac­u­lar of the Post Of­fice, vin­tage bridge tim­bers and stone sourced from shear­ing sheds were used in the Barn. The vibe through­out both places is luxe Aus­traliana. In the Barn, guests can hun­ker down in front of the stone fire­place sand­wiched be­tween gi­ant pic­ture win­dows. The Post Of­fice kitchen pairs ul­tra-mod cons with an old-fash­ioned Aga stove. If you can tear your­self away from the great in­doors, thrilling out­door ad­ven­tures await. Ride a brumby at Thredbo Val­ley Horse Rid­ing, cast a line for trout or set out for the 2228m-high rooftop of Aus­tralia. More: pen­der­lea.com.au.

KA­T­RINA LOB­LEY THE LAST VILLA, HOBART: In Aus­tralia’s most English cap­i­tal, au­tumn ar­rives with a chill in the air, the first snows on Mount Welling­ton and a car­pet of colour un­furl­ing across the leafy wa­ter­front sub­urbs. For ring­side views of the chang­ing sea­son, pull up a padded red arm­chair to the french doors and juliet bal­cony of The Last Villa’s Parisian-styled pen­t­house, with its sight­lines over the ex­otic gar­dens of Sandy Bay man­sions to the glit­ter­ing-blue Der­went be­yond. Set the mood with a DIY pic­nic of oys­ters and cham­pagne from Lip­scombe Larder up the road (bor­row one of the villa’s two push­bikes) and Con­ti­nen­tal tunes on the stereo. The villa is a five-level folly with themed apart­ments on each floor. If Paris isn’t your style, opt for the faintly Gaudi feel of Barcelona or the nau­ti­cal-ac­cented Cruise Ship. Each of the bo­hemian spa­ces is fur­nished with an eclec­tic se­lec­tion of mid-cen­tury mod­ern, an­tique and re­cy­cled pieces and bold art from owner Steven Last’s pri­vate col­lec­tion. Rug up for walks along the beach, take a taxi into the city for a meal at one of Hobart’s fash­ion­able new eater­ies (try Franklin or Aloft for a spe­cial night out) or spend an evening by the out­door fire­place with a glass of wine, mulled or oth­er­wise. More: the­lastvilla.com.au.

KEN­DALL HILL

VIBE HO­TEL, MARYSVILLE, VIC­TO­RIA: The tiny vil­lage of Marysville, edg­ing the Yarra Ranges, is a 90-minute drive from Mel­bourne, travers­ing the Yarra Val­ley. Much of the re­gion is planted with Euro­pean trees and there is a panorama of au­tumn colour from around April. At times the road as­cends, cathe­dral-like, through soar­ing moun­tain ash for­est (Black Spur Drive links moun­tain ar­eas around Marysville to the Yarra Val­ley). New life quickly es­tab­lished it­self af­ter Marysville’s dev­as­tat­ing 2009 Black Satur­day bush­fires. Vibe Ho­tel opened a year ago on a rise above the town­ship, like a large alpine chalet, with high-pitched roofs and lots of glass. In­side and out are tones and tex­tures of slate, dove-grey, nat­u­ral brick and dark tim­bers. Gue­strooms fea­ture

The Lake House in Dayles­ford, Vic­to­ria, main; the view from The Hy­dro Ma­jes­tic Win­ter­gar­den restau­rant in the Blue Moun­tains, NSW, above

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