Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

It doesn’t get more quintessentially Australian than this: waking up to a symphony of kookaburras and the heady scent of eucalyptus, the sight of kangaroos roaming freely about the 7,000-acre nature reserve. You might be tricked into thinking you’d slept under the stars—if it weren’t for the four-poster bed, flicker of a warm fire, and sunrise reflected from the glittering private pool. A three hours’ drive west of Sydney, this luxury ecolodge feels worlds away, surrounded by sandstone bluffs and sweeping plains filled with leafy gumtrees and Wollemi pines. It has 40 homestead-style villas that are as eco-friendly as they are indulgent: materials sourced within a 60-mile radius, solar panels for hot water and lighting. Highlights include the Aussie cuisine, mostly grown and sourced within 100 miles of the resort (and included in the all-inclusive rate, along with a premium minibar). A fruit orchard and edible garden supplies organic herbs, vegetables, fruits, and nuts.

The most intriguing aspect of the property is an original farmhouse, built around 1832, that hosted Charles Darwin in 1836. Today, the homestead functions as a museum that highlights the Indigenous, settler, and agricultural history of the valley. The comprehensive program of activities gets guests off the homestead: There are peaks to climb, glowworms to ogle, and horses to ride. Following a landslide in 2022, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley has faced access issues. It is temporarily closed.

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Sunset tour with the wallaroos

Located in the midst of a 4,000-acre nature preserve, Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa offers a guided after-dark safari in one of the resort’s safari-like luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles to see the local wildlife (kangaroos and wallaroos galore!) coming out to feed. It was truly amazing to see these gorgeous creatures all come out at dusk.

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