AFTER exchanging vows, popping the champagne and cutting the cake, a holiday is the perfect excuse to take the edge off the wedding hype. But there’s no need to pack the passport, with plenty of options in Australia’s backyard. Louise Wallace took a closer look at the key contenders to bring you Australia’s top honeymoon destinations.
TROPICAL TRAVELS BYRON BAY
Byron Bay is a long time favourite with couples for its pristine beaches and tranquil rainforest hideaways. Throw mountain views, white beaches and renowned surfing spots into the mix, and it’s easy to see why Byron Bay is a favourite among newlyweds. There is no shortage of accommodation in this beachside paradise, with The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa earning a solid list of accolades for its unique blend of luxury and laid back beachside living. With couples massage, five-star dining and complimentary yoga, newlyweds are well catered for. The resort also offers a honeymoon package with three nights’ accommodation, breakfast, a spa voucher, sparkling wine and cheese platter on arrival from $1770 per couple. Rae’s on Wategos is another option which offers five-star accommodation priced from $550 per night for a garden suite.
COUNTRY CHARM DAYLESFORD
Quaint cottages, lush green surroundings and natural hot springs; Daylesford ticks all the boxes for newlyweds. Serving up a perfect blend of country meets city, the relaxed atmosphere is part of its charm but the impressive array of restaurants and cafes delivers a level of chic that makes it a worthy honeymoon destination. Luxury accommodation is easy to come by with the Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel offering garden rooms and self-contained villas from $695 and $1220 respectively per couple for two nights. The Lake House also provides an idyllic backdrop for any honeymoon with rates leading in from $275 per person including dinner and breakfast.
NURTURE NATURE KAKADU
For couples who have had their fill of beaches and city escapes, Kakadu is worth a look in. Around three hours from Darwin, Kakadu’s remote location is a major drawcard for honeymooners, but it’s the wildlife and natural landscapes that have earned this one such high acclaim. Honeymooners won’t find six-star luxury in the Top End, but the trade off is boutique accommodation with a five-star touch. Wildman Wilderness Lodge, a private eco-retreat in the heart of Arnhem Land, is the pick of the bunch. With 10 luxury freestanding cabins and luxury safari tents, all accommodation features premium furnishings complemented by top notch cuisine sourced from local ingredients. The three night Wildman Kakadu Adventure includes three nights’ accommodation, breakfast and three course dinner daily, a billabong cruise and full day Kakadu tour from $2229 per couple. AAT Kings also offers a range of tours including the Top End Highlights from $2350 over six days which visits Litchfield National Park, Katherine Gorge and includes a tour of the rock art garlleries of Ubirr.
CULINARY CULTURE MARGARET RIVER
Romance and fine wine go hand in hand, and the Margaret River caters for both. Renowned for its delicious chardonnay, the region produces over 20% of Australia’s premium wine which is a clear indication of the quality of the stuff. But this picturesque region
also boasts equally delicious scenery with spectacular beaches, towering karri forests and rugged landscapes in every direction. The Merribrook Retreat offers a three night honeymoon package including breakfast, a double massage treatment, flowers and chocolates on arrival, and late checkout from $1155 per couple. The Losari Retreat also has a honeymoon package of its own including three nights’ luxury accommodation, breakfast hamper, a bottle of local bubbly and a cheese platter from $1320 per couple.
SOUTHERN SOJOURN TASMANIA
With remote wilderness, temperate rainforest, and a selection of boutique wineries, Tasmania packs a punch for Australia’s tiny island state. Between the scenery and culinary delights, there are also intimate accommodation options for loved up newlyweds such as Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge which is billed as one of Australia’s most iconic wilderness experiences. Located 2 hours from Launceston and 1.5 hours from Devonport, it’s nestled in the heart of Tasmania, but that’s part of its charm with warm hospitality and spa treatments to rejuvenate after the big day. The resort offers a food and wine package from $784 over two nights including breakfast, a three course dinner and wine and cheese tasting for two. Self-drive is the best way to see this gem, with tour operator Premier Travel Tasmania offering a number of self-drive options ranging from five-day sojourns to 18-day epic adventures so newlyweds can experience Tasmania on their own watch. Agents receive 10% commission on all bookings.
SEASIDE SAFARI WHITSUNDAYS
With cloudless skies, endless white beaches and turquoise waters, the Whitsundays hosts more than 1500 weddings a year. Event planners know how to iron the creases out of any Whitsundays wedding, but this one is also a top location for any honeymoon or romantic getaway. The Whitsundays is all about relaxing, and with a number of five-star resorts and coral reefs, it’s not hard to understand why. Cruising and sailing are among the most popular options for newlyweds with a number of operators offering single and multi-day options. Five-star accommodation tops the agenda, with One&only Hayman Island resort serving up adults only five-star luxury complete with day excursions, hiking and experiences that can be savoured by two. Qualia also boasts 60 private pavilions which look onto the Coral Sea and surrounding Whitsunday Islands, with rates leading in from $995 per night.
Couples massage, five star dining and complimentary yoga, the resort has lovebirds covered’
Byron at Byron One&onlybeach House Margaret River. Alan Lam Peppers Cradle Mountain Lake House, Daylesford