Stay snug as evenings cool and leaves turn
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.
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.
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