In 2008, while on garden leave as I transitioned from one firm to another, I took a phenomenal seven-week journey across Australia and New Zealand with my wife. The highlight of the memorable trip was the Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia —the ultimate safari spot in Australia. We also adored Barossa, the Napa Valley of Australia and the nation’s answer to Cape Winelands of South Africa. Trade lions for kangaroos lazily grazing nearby as you enjoy breakfast as a guest at the stunning properties of the Baillie Lodges portfolio, our stand-out Australian suppliers. Our clients have highly requested these one-of-a-kind locations ever since we were lucky enough to visit them.
The Opulent Explorer’s team of luxury travel experts has built on my personal experience to create bespoke expeditions for our clients that maintain a core ethos of conservation and sustainability, respect and education regarding aboriginal culture, and of course, ultimate luxury everywhere we go. From the enigmatic energy of Uluṟu/ Ayers Rock to epic road trips along the Great Ocean Road, novel wine flavors in Barossa Valley to glitzy nights out in Melbourne, Australia is a continent with a lifetime worth of experiences to savor.
Luxury in the Most Unexpected of Places
When we think of luxury, we may think of days spent at the spa, sports cars, and high-end shopping, but that’s not the only face of luxury. Merriam-Webster defines luxury as “a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort, a sumptuous environment.” For many Opulent Explorers, their moments of greatest luxury are not those of being primped and pampered but those where they connect with nature in the most fascinating places off the beaten track. What could give us more ease and comfort than finding a place of belonging among our vast, sumptuous natural environment?
“Safari” is a Swahili word meaning “journey,” our Australian adventures are the incredible experiential journeys you’ve come to expect and are distinct cousins to an African safari. I am a safari expert, having been fortunate enough to partake in these once-in-a-lifetime experiences on three separate trips to Zambia, South Africa, and Tanzania; Botswana is in the books for 2025! As a Luxury Travel Advisor and lifelong ultraluxe traveler, I am always looking to recreate the most authentic and moving moments I have been able to enjoy for my clients. I proudly boast that ‘I have been where you are going next,’ and as soon as I discovered Safari Experiences in Australia, I knew it was an opportunity I had to share with fellow Opulent Explorers.
Let’s take a look at all of the touching, exciting, and surprisingly luxurious moments you can enjoy when traveling in Australia with The Opulent Explorer, how we can help you create the journey of your dreams, including professional wildlife photography services and coaching from me, and how to get the most out of your travels.
The Safari Experience in Australia
The thrill of witnessing Australia’s unique flora and fauna from an open-topped Land Cruiser is unparalleled, as the wind blows your worries away and you inhale the earthy aroma of eucalyptus, a sense of smallness among the vast empty landscape creates a feeling that is at once humbling and life-enhancing. Embarking on an Australian safari is an experiential journey that elicits a great sense of adventure by leaning into the rugged surroundings and embracing a sense of freedom to discover expansive beauty thousands of miles away from the pressures of everyday life.
Skilled, hand-chosen field guides will help you navigate 4WD tracks to secluded and undisclosed locations unreachable by standard vehicles, offering a genuine reconnection fostered by the solitude found off the beaten path. Adventure among unique and delicate ecosystems with private expert guides, leaving you with a newfound appreciation for conservation and community that will travel with you long after you return home. Insights from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander guides in select locations serve to deepen our comprehension of the intimate bond between humans and nature, and remind us of our shared role as guardians of the land.
Safari Experiences in Australia are as diverse as they are profound, not to be missed by Opulent Explorers who love the feeling of being changed by their travels. Here are some of the experiential journeys you can take on visits to our suppliers across this breathtaking continent.
Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island Safari
Vacationers seeking the tamer side of Oz, and perhaps a little indulgence, might start their journey atop a gentle hill in the iconic Barossa Valley. There, The Louise offers an idyllic luxury retreat amidst sprawling vineyards. Featuring fifteen elegant suites with private terraces and contemporary, art-inspired interiors, visits are enhanced by fine dining from the esteemed Appellation restaurant. Paired with the unique wines of the region and from around the world, guests dine on exquisite culinary artworks crafted from fresh, local produce. The Barossa region, boasting over a hundred wineries and exclusive tasting experiences, is a haven for connoisseurs seeking unparalleled food and wine encounters. With personalized introductions to winemakers, hot air ballooning, scenic helicopter rides, and unique experiences like Breakfast with the Kangaroos, this is the ultimate gateway to Australia’s revered wine region.
Travelers wanting to dive straight into the wild and wonderful side of this beautiful land have finally got the perfect opportunity once more. On pristine Kangaroo Island, our suppliers’ original Southern Ocean Lodge was tragically destroyed in the devastating Australian wildfires three years ago, leaving adventurous travelers to Australia short of the best location to enjoy Australian safari. Now in December 2023, the new SOL 2.0, recreated in stunning detail by the original local architect, will be open to Opulent Explorers once again.
The alluring new sustainable retreat will bear almost the same footprint as the original, with its 25 guest suites newly reoriented to take in more of the coastal wilderness. Retreat from long safari days in the Southern Spa featuring three treatment rooms, a gymnasium, sauna and hot and cold plunge pools. From the comfort of the retreat, Opulent Explorers can enjoy experiential journeys like Outback drives and boating alongside dolphins, spotting koalas and wallabies, visiting Cape du Couedic Lighthouse and the Remarkable Rocks, or relaxing with sea pups at the fur seal colony at Admirals Arch.
These were my personal highlights from Australia and a travel photographer’s dream to visit. However, there’s much more of this amazing continent for ultraluxe travelers of all tastes. Here are some of the other magnificent properties from our suppliers across Australia.
Incredible Wildlife Photography and Other Additional Services
Did it really happen if there are no photos? Incredible photography to show for your travels is one of the main draws of a trip to Australia. If you want out-of-this-world documentation of your Opulent Experiences, I offer a range of services as a professional travel photographer that can enhance the value of working with The Opulent Explorer on your dream Australia journey.
- A comprehensive photography guide written by me. A full breakdown of the settings I use with comprehensive explanations
- An in-person photo walk in NYC. Pro tip: street photography and wildlife photography are cousins. If you want to practice, I can guide you in person in a parallel setting by meeting you in NYC
- Photo Editing. Opulent Explorers can ask for five of your best photos to be professionally processed by me in Adobe Lightroom. Professional prints can be mailed at your expense or digital results can be shared with our compliments.
- Help picking the right camera and setting it up.
Australia is the ultimate destination for unforgettable safaris across a diverse and awe-inspiring continent, redefining luxury with a profound connection with nature. From Kangaroo Island and Barossa Valley to the furthest reaches of the nation, our Australian suppliers offer Opulent Explorers some of the most incredible stays on the globe. We know that you will never be satisfied with a run-of-the-mill holiday. Our knowledge and background as extensive world travelers and our hard-earned industry relationships with suppliers makes us your best ally in designing the vacation of your dreams. Check out our sample AU & NZ itinerary for more life-changing travel experiences.
A snapshot of some Lodges in Australia we love:
Located in Australia’s Northern Territory, the lodge is Australia’s answer to Botswana’s stunning Okavango Delta and a stronghold for Aboriginal cultures. This bush retreat seamlessly blends luxury with untouched wilderness and some of Australia’s greatest climatic extremes. This twelve-room, sustainable camp immerses guests in the breathtaking beauty of the Top End, where the rugged landscape comes to life with prolific bird and wildlife.
Southern Queensland, outside of Brisbane
Sitting atop an 8,000-acre mountain in Queensland High Country, this lodge cocoons you in a nature-inspired wilderness setting just a short drive from Brisbane. Its architectural design seamlessly blends contemporary and classic styles like century-old Scottish blue stone and recycled timber and offers an exclusive and intimate escape surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park and the Great Dividing Range. Guests can savor the paddock-to-plate cuisine at their restaurant and enjoy a range of outdoor experiences tailored to the pristine landscape, from bushwalking and mountain biking to wildlife-spotting.
The Lodge sits riverside near one of the world’s oldest living rainforests, offering a luxurious eco-retreat where guests can immerse themselves in the wonders of Far North Queensland. With its open-sided Treehouse Restaurant, contemporary custom-designed suites, and access to hiking trails through the Daintree National Park, Silky Oaks is the perfect spot to explore the Daintree Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef, and the rich cultural heritage of the region.
Where the outback meets the reef, the lodge offers an extraordinary escape on Western Australia’s coral coast, with the limestone back-drop of Cape Range hiding deep gorges of spectacular beauty. With just nine luxurious tents overlooking a marvelous reef, the true luxury is the opportunity to reconnect with nature, swim with majestic Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales, and explore the coastal dunes and gorges teeming with wildlife, while savoring unique local cuisine and wines. This remote and beautiful camp gives you an immersive wilderness experience with style, while leaving a minimal footprint in its pristine environment.
Tasmania’s luxury coastal sanctuary. A sophisticated and intimate haven discreetly perched overlooking the Mountains and the sea. With 20 opulent suites, a premium spa, and innovative dining that celebrates the freshest local produce, this exquisite retreat seamlessly blends sustainability, well-being, and the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding landscapes, creating a truly inspiring and rejuvenating escape where luxury meets nature.
Nestled in the untamed wilderness of North Queensland, the Lodge is a remote and secluded outback sanctuary with a 37,000 year Aboriginal history. This luxurious retreat, shrouded by the backdrop of the magnificent Mount Mulligan, offers a modern take on pastoral living, inviting guests to immerse themselves in the rugged beauty, rich history, and tranquil landscapes of this expansive cattle station.
A hidden gem, nestled on the shores of picturesque Lake Daylesford in Victoria’s Spa Country, it is a celebration of people, produce, and place just 90 minutes from Melbourne. This village-like retreat, surrounded by lush gardens and winding paths leading to the lake, is a food and wellness destination that immerses you in a world of culinary delights at its famed restaurant, serene spa treatments at its award-winning spa, and vibrant, artistic local culture.
Western Australia. bordering the Northern Territory
Western Australia’s rugged Kimberley landscape surrounds a stunning ten-suite oasis hidden on a cliff top, providing an intimate retreat for a maximum of 20 guests. With breathtaking vistas, a pool overlooking Chamberlain Gorge, the nearby Zebedee Thermal Springs, and personalized tours through the diverse Kimberley landscape, this homestead allows visitors to unwind, explore untouched terrain. Renowned for serving gourmet cuisine in dramatic locations – this is the spot to enjoy an intimate dinner beneath the stars or over a waterfall.
South of Perth
In the heart of Western Australia’s Margaret River wine region, this lodge is surrounded by its vineyard and 40 acres of manicured parkland. With romantic rooms, a world-class restaurant featuring French-influenced country fare, and proximity to renowned wineries, this stylish and sophisticated private country estate is ideal for those seeking outstanding food, wine, and a taste of the Margaret River’s idyllic beauty.
An intimate outback retreat recognized as one of the most beautiful properties in the country. An exclusive sanctuary, just 10 guests share 60,000 acres of ancient geological wonders, Aboriginal history, and diverse wildlife. This private conservancy, once a sheep station with a remarkable conservation story, immerses you in the rich stories of the bush while experiencing the understated yet up-cycled Australian Homestead style.
Outside of Sydney:
New South Wales
A serene haven nestled in Bouddi National Park 90-minutes north of Sydney, is the ultimate spot to unwind and be pampered in seclusion among the trees. Four pavilions make up this exclusive retreat known for its intimate personalized service, fine dining, and breathtaking natural beauty, making it the perfect escape for those seeking tranquility and sophistication in the heart of nature.
Perched in the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains this multi-award-winning destination is a must. A chic conservation retreat immersed in 7,000 acres of protected wilderness and surrounded by two national parks, this carbon-neutral oasis features freestanding villas with private swimming pools, seasonal organic cuisine, and a range of outdoor activities — a tranquil escape that reinvigorates the soul.
Lord Howe Island
A lodge marked by contemporary island-style, with suites designed to harmonize with white-sand beaches and a riot of marine color. This paradise lost in time invites you to experience barefoot luxury with fine dining, spa treatments, mountain walks, and exceptional service for an unforgettable escape, embodying the carefree spirit of Australian beach culture along the world’s southernmost coral reef.