It’s the perfect time to take a tropical break in Queensland and soak up the sun while sipping a cocktail.
There’s much more to Queensland than surf beaches, tropical islands and pineapples – think rainforests millions of years in the making, hinterland wineries and restaurants and attractions like mineral pools and glow worm caves.
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to stay on a seductive Summer vacay:
If you yearn for a luxurious Bali-style break, head to the magnificent Mossman Valley, just a short drive from Port Douglas and chill out at Bali Hai. Life here is all about defining luxury from the stunning wet edge pool to looking out to the Daintree Mountains, there’s not a soul to break your peace and privacy among 80 acres that are solely yours.
Bali Hai has been thoughtfully designed reflecting the balance between tropical living and South-east Asian architecture to create an idyllic hideaway, where every room has mountain views, surrounded by lush rainforest, a freshwater creek and manicured lawns. Whether you holiday with friends, honeymoon or getaway with the family, the separate thatched bures have all the mod cons you are looking for.
While in Port Douglas, stop by Melaleuca restaurant on Wharf Street for ocean views, balmy breezes and a fabulous alfresco courtyard, with giant mango trees forming a shade canopy for guests. This FNQ fine diner combines relaxed and casual service with a Modern Australian menu to set the mood for a memorable meal, with dishes like grilled yellowfin tuna, Sicilian salad and sautéed kipflers.
Nestled alongside Trinity inlet in Cairns, the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino provides elegant accommodation, dining and entertainment options for those seeking a hot night in FNQ. With a rooftop pool, sauna and gymnasium, 127 beautifully appointed rooms with unmistakable tropical Queensland style and a range of dining options, this is an ideal venue for a family holiday or romantic getaway.
Each luxury hotel room boasts a spa bath and a private garden balcony overlooking the city or water, while a cool and stylish lobby provides a glimpse of the simple elegance of this hotel, with plantation shutters and light timbers designed to catch cool ocean breezes.
An exotic sensory feast awaits diners at multi-award winning Tamarind, the hotel’s signature restaurant. The journey begins in an ambient, low-lit dining room set with crisp white linen among warm timber walls, leading to a contemporary culinary fusion of Eastern flavours and the finest local regional produce.
With a regularly changing seasonal menu, expect tempters such as whole crispy baby barramundi with tamarind, chilli and garlic sauce; or delve into organic Tablelands braised pork belly, croquette, crackling, spicy plum sauce and cashews, with sides of steamed jasmine rice and green papaya salad, peanuts and nahm jim.
For a romantic vacay with old-world charm, head to the heritage listed Vacy Hall on Russell Street in Toowoomba. With all the convenience of a CDB hotel and the grand style of the late 1800s, Vacy Hall whisks you away to another place and time with antique furniture, fabrics and period artwork; nestled among an acre of gardens in this quiet residential neighbourhood.
Five different types of rooms cater for corporate guests, small business meetings, family reunions and weekend getaways – be tempted by the shade of the verandah on hot Summer days, before retreating to your large Queen ensuite with a brass bed, air-conditioning, leather wing-back studded armchairs, free NBN wi-fi and Netflix.
Eclectic, sophisticated and curious, Ovolo Inchcolm on Wickham Terrace in Brisbane’s CBD takes on the artistic concept of Gertrude Stein’s Paris salon, where Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso and Matisse would comfortably rub shoulders, while sharing trailblazing ideas and indulging in gourmet food and wine.
Once a private residence and medical practice, the building was first constructed in the 1930s – it’s now a glamorous boutique hotel, with avant-garde colour schemes blending distinctively with old-fashioned textures, quality furnishings and signature pieces; alongside free high-speed wi-fi, Queen beds and Apple television.
While staying at Ovolo, head to Salon de Co for a truly unique dining experience, playing on the idea of mixing home interior design with an artistic hospitality venue. Immaculately styled with inspiration from the Art Deco era, you are greeted by grandeur as seen in high ceilings, herringbone flooring, floral wall murals, an eclectic mix of bright furniture and moody private dining nooks.
Graze on plates of brisket doughnuts with Piccalilli, before delving into whole rainbow trout, nduja, buttermilk and roasted fennel to share; finishing with a dessert of choice matched with a cocktail, such as pineapple pina colada.
If you’re daydreaming about an intimate getaway, look no further than Songbirds Rainforest Retreat on Mt Tamborine, in the Gold Coast hinterland. Six rainforest villas await promising an experience like no other – give yourself over to your surrounds, unplug and immerse yourself in the tastes, sights, smells and sounds that are all around you.
Sometimes we just need a break away from it all and Songbirds delivers on all fronts; soak away stress in your double spa bath after a pristine rainforest walk, or take a therapeutic massage to relax and revive, before heading to the onsite restaurant for a fine dining experience like no other.
Songbirds’ Chef Meyjitte Boughenout will delight tastebuds with creations such as confit alpine salmon, ginger and Parmesan; Bangalow braised pork belly, celery and blue cheese, or perhaps duck two ways with an orange and vinegar reduction. For a sweet escape, dive into chocolate and honey cube, red berry sorbet and honeycomb.
After a sunset walk along Burleigh Heads Beach, retreat to the understated luxury of Ambience on Burleigh Beach to sip a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the balcony, capturing cooling ocean breezes. Located on the Esplanade, Ambience’s two towers adhere to organic curves to complement the urban and natural character of this absolute beachfront precinct.
With one, two and three-bedroom apartments, a pool terrace with sunlounges and BBQ facilities, alongside a fully equipped gymnasium, spa, sauna and steam room, there’s everything you need for a chilled-out vacay on the Gold Coast. Escape the heat in sub-tropical gardens linking the two towers or kick back on the balcony and watch surfers hitting the iconic Burleigh waves.
Twinkling fairy lights, wicker furniture and polished tiled floors set the mood for romantic dining after a beach day, at The Belvedere Stone Mill on Gold Coast Highway in Burleigh Heads. This new Italian eatery - the brainchild of Fabio Rocco Ricciardi (former in-house Chef for the Ferrari racing team) and wife Frederica Scalambra – boasts traditional methods and rustic flavours, as seen in handmade pasta and pizza, crafted fresh daily.
Embark on a seductive culinary journey with a starter of arancini filled with forest mushrooms, porcini and provolone; before mesmerising mains of slow-cooked hand-rolled pork, garlic, rosemary, sage, seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes and red wine jus. Pizza lovers are satisfied with slices like diavola, with Pomodoro passata, fior di latte mozzarella and hot salami.