Setting off on a search for the finest Australian vino will take you along serpentine roads and rocky tracks into the rolling hills of the picture-perfect winelands. Balance out days of driving with stays in luxurious lodges, inns and chateaux that overlook miles of verdant vineyards. Culture Trip rounds up the best nature-wrapped hotels in the region.
The Vine Inn, deep in the Barossa Valley, is a short stroll from a handful of wineries and flourishing vineyards. Sleep off wine-fuelled headaches in simple rooms decked in soothing earth tones ,or go for a morning swim in a lagoon-style pool fringed by slabs of rock and crooked palm trees – a grill is also available for poolside BBQs. Inside, slot machines offer the chance to win extra gas money, Billy Jack’s Bar lets you catch the game over a beer, while the Vine Garden Bistro serves up juicy burgers and local wines.
You’ll want to take your foot off the gas at this luxurious retreat. Ringed by a patchwork of vineyards, fields and bushland, The Louise’s secluded suites are entered through doors framed by twisting vines and fountaining shrubs. All come with Bose docking stations, a private sun terrace and deep spa tubs, while Premiums step it up a notch with a gas fireplace and an outdoor rain shower. After days snacking on the road, the farm-to-table fare of the Appellation restaurant will be heaven – tuck into black Angus beef, pressed potato and miso butter paired with a sommelier-recommended wine.
Chateau Elan sits in the heart of Hunter Valley, surrounded by rolling vineyards and the pristine fairways of its championship golf course. The spa, one of the largest in Australia, includes a hydro lounge with two Jacuzzis and a deck where you can sip on fizz and tuck into a cheese platter with romantic mountain views providing the backdrop. Rooms range from the deluxe spa suite – decked out with a deep spa bath and ergonomic bed with massage functions – to the family-suited two-bedroom apartments, and all come with private balconies or terraces.
Ensconced by thick woodland, Hermitage Lodge is home to an award-winning restaurant and saltwater swimming pool. After exploring the nearby wine cellars, go for a cooling swim before pulling up a seat at Italian-inspired Il Cacciatore and devouring the prosciutto-wrapped chicken involtini. A walkway flanked by gnarled potted trees and swooping vines takes you to Lodge Rooms with homely patchwork blankets and king-size beds, while open-plan suites spoil you with deep soaking tubs. All rooms also include decks overlooking the hotel’s own Shiraz vineyard.
With an interior straight from the pages of a Jane Austen novel, Chateau Yering exudes historic elegance. The hotel occupies an 1854-built Victorian mansion and retains original features such as cedar timbers and polished marble fireplaces, as well as antique furnishings and old-world portraits. Floral-themed rooms are decked out with fringed drapes, cascading bed canopies, clawfoot baths and private balconies that overlook the enchanting grounds. You’ll lose track of time while exploring the heritage-listed gardens, taking a refreshing dip in the pool or knocking a ball about on the tennis courts – but evenings will be leisurely, sipping on drams of whisky at Bar1854.
The Tuck Inn puts a contemporary twist on the frills-and-doilies image of a traditional B&B, exchanging flowery patterns for crisp white walls, exposed beams and leather chesterfield sofas. Once a masonic lodge, the building has been reimagined as a guesthouse: stripped-back rooms are flooded with natural light and stocked with Eco.Fresh toiletries, a complimentary home-cooked breakfast is served under vaulted ceilings, while pillowy garden furniture sits in the plant-filled veranda.
Vibe Hotel sits in the bucolic foothills of Marysville, its sleek and modern facade infused with elements of its surroundings. Glass-ensconced walkways are paired with dark wood panelling and neat stone walls, while silver birch trees and manicured shrubbery border the concrete paths. The monochromatic rooms are softened with photos of mossy streams and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the valley and mountains, enticing you into the great outdoors. A gym and rooftop swimming pool offer the chance to do some exercise, or you can take it easy in the sauna.
Stepping into the Jackalope – named after a jackrabbit-meets-antelope creature from folklore – feels a bit like entering the polished lair of a Bond villain. Drenched in onyx-black, the hotel injects character with theatrical decor: the Flaggerdoot cocktail lounge is decked out with Tron-style lighting, defaced ceramic busts and electric-blue pool tables, while restaurant Doot Doot Doot serves malt-glazed short rib under the glow of a Ten Thousand Light Bulbs art installation. The neo-noir rooms are brightened by rust-orange accents and treat you to deep-soak Japanese baths (or rain showers) and views of the local vineyard.
The Serafino hotel is made up of numerous red brick bungalows clustered around the towering trunks of 200-year-old gum trees. Hemmed in by vine-laced fields and a sprawling lake, the grounds are an idyllic sanctuary where you can take a dip in a solar-heated swimming pool or soak in spa baths before dressing up for an evening of wine-tasting on the Cellar Door’s deck. The sizeable rooms are simple but tranquil spaces to recharge after hiking through the Instagram-worthy wilds of nearby Onkaparinga River National Park.