Why Australia's a great honeymoon choice

by Amanda.Statham

Australia isn’t the first place people tend to think of for honeymoons but with incredibly varied landscapes and some amazing hotels, it’s actually perfect romantic break territory

Whatever type of honeymoon you desire, a trip down under delivers. From beautiful golden beaches and waters teaming with exotic marine life to soaring mountains, the exciting and isolated outback and the world’s oldest rainforest, this vast country can satisfy even the most hardened of travellers. And having worked my way round a number of the country’s top hotels, I can recommend some really good places to stay wherever you head…

Head for the reef

The Great Barrier Reef, which runs alongside the northeast coast of Queensland, is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, so it would be a shame to miss out. It’s the longest coral reef on earth, brimming with jaw-dropping marine life, from sharks and stingrays to rainbow coloured fish and turtles. For those that don’t fancy diving and snorkelling, the 900 tiny islands scattered throughout the 2,600km stretch of coral are ringed by some of the best white sand beaches in the world.
Where to stay:
One of Australia’s most idyllic escapes is Bedarra Island, which lies in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Cairns. There are just 16 villas, each with a plunge pool, nestled among rainforest and just a coconut’s throw from the white sand, palm-fringed beach. While the ethos of the island is relaxation, there’s lots to do, including catamaran trips, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, snorkelling and diving and romantic picnics on a deserted stretch of beach. You can also enjoy a massage on the beach or in-villa, plus dining on exquisite fresh seafood in the open terrace restaurant.
Best time to go:
October, November, December for warm water temperatures and sun. January to March is the wettest time, though still warm.

Stay in the city

Australia’s cities are legendary. Fly to the southeast of the country to experience two of the finest – Sydney and Melbourne. Situated on the coast of New South Wales, Sydney is home to the iconic harbour bridge and opera house plus five-star hotels, gourmet restaurants, fab bars and even a beach. Melbourne in the nearby state of Victoria, is known as the cultural capital of Oz, plus it’s a magnet for celebs – if they weren’t born here, like Kylie and Danni Minogue and Cate Blanchett, then they started off here, like Nicole Kidman and Natalie Imbruglia.
Where to stay:
The gorgeous The Langham, Melbourne is one of the Leading Hotels of the World for good reason. Lying on the banks of the Yarra River with views of the city’s skyline, it’s a luxurious base from which to explore the city’s shops, galleries and nightlife. Sybarites will love the new Chuan Spa with 40 treatments on offer, Melba, the signature restaurant with breathtaking views of the city and Aria Lounge, which even has a special chocolate bar!
Best time to go:
The Australian winter; December, January, February, when the sun shines and the beach culture is rife.

Make for the mountains

Some of the best views on earth can be found from the mountains of Australia, so it’s worth the climb. Among the dozens of mountain ranges to choose from, ones that stand out for newlyweds include the Blue Mountains, thanks to their picturesque views and easy access, being just an hour from Sydney. Uluru, or Ayers Rock as it’s also known, in central Australia is a natural icon of the country and a magnet for tourists. Here you can marvel at waterholes, rock caves, ancient paintings and incredible sunsets when the rock appears to glow red. Or head for Tasmania, the remote island just off the southeast coast of Australia that's home to the stunning, World Heritage-listed Lake St Clair National Park.
Where to stay:
There are endless options, but for honeymooners it has to be Cradle Mountain Lodge Voyages in Lake St Clair National Park. It’s outrageously romantic, from the cosy cabins with roaring log fires and wood decks with hot tubs to the walk-in wine cellar and chocolate fondue delivered to your room! You’ll be exhausted from horse riding, canoeing, fly fishing, mountain biking and tobogganing in the winter, so the Sodashi Spa, using native Australian products, is very welcome.
Best time to go:
If you want sun, go between January and March, if you’re after snow-filled days, June to August – though snow flurries have been known year-round.

Retreat to the outback

Australia’s mystical outback conjures up images of Ned Kelly, swagmen, Aborigines and millions of acres of deserted landscape. If this sounds like an odd choice for a honeymoon you’d be wrong - it's actually incredibly romantic. You get perfect peace and tranquillity, the star-lit skies are the clearest you’ll ever see, the isolated luxury lodges that have opened up in recent years are über swish and it’s a fantastic place to spot wildlife, such as kangaroo, dingo and camels.
Where to stay:
The latest outback hideaway to open is Bamurru Plains in the Northern Territory, surrounded by floodplains and savannah woodland where buffalo graze. By day you can enjoy all the amazing activities on offer, including Sampan River cruises to spot birds and crocodiles, safari drives, an airboat trip across the plains, fishing and bush walks. The luxury camp has nine safari-style bungalows built among vegetation on the edge of wetlands. Each has a king-size bed swathed in crisp white cotton, gorgeous bathrooms with views of the plains and balcony – the ideal place for sundowners. The main lodge building has a pool, library and BBQ area with fire pit, which is great for sitting around at night.
Best time to go:
The dry season runs from April to October, the wet season from November to March, but temperatures are consistently warm.