The most extraordinary places to stay in NSW’s national parks have been brought together in Naturescapes – The Collection, a selection of seven superb nature stays across the state that people can book instantly.
Restored historic lighthouse accommodation and homesteads, re-imagined beach shacks, a restored colonial quarantine precinct and a luxury tent make up the eclectic mix of accommodation in natural areas protected by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
The Collection has been introduced for the first time as part of a broader program of showcasing the best experiences and attractions to be found in national parks across NSW. Other initiatives include the new Naturescapes magazine – replacing the previous annual Visitor Guide – and the introduction of the first stage of what will be a three-year project to redevelop the NPWS website.
Curated into a free app for iPad, The Collection shows that visitors don’t necessarily need to bring a tent in order to stay in some of the most spectacular natural places in Australia.
“The Collection breaks the stereotype of staying in a national park. Most people would be unaware there are a large number of homesteads, cottages and huts dotted throughout the hundreds of national parks across NSW, many of which can be rented as holiday accommodation,” said NPWS Director of Tourism and Partnerships, Carl Solomon.
“The Collection captures the best examples of places to stay in national parks across the state. Each stands alone as a truly unique experience, while together they demonstrate the diversity of types of accommodation and natural environments that can be found in NSW.
“While each is a unique place to stay in its own right, it’s their surroundings that make them truly extraordinary. A tour of The Collection will take a visitor from our spectacular coastline through dramatic valleys to the untamed outback, showcasing carefully preserved and restored examples of our Aboriginal, pastoral and colonial past. The Collection represents a trip through history and an immersion in the impressive natural environment that makes NSW such a wonderful place to live and visit.”
Naturescapes – The Collection showcases seven destinations across NSW, including:
Best in Byron Bay: Natural beauty remains one of the key reasons why visitors continue to flock to what is one of Australia’s most celebrated beachside communities, where you’ll find the Cape Byron Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage and four beachside cottages. All set back from the dunes on a beautiful stretch of coastline, these range from the beach shack-style Partridge Cottage at The Pass through to the architecturally-designed Mildenhall Cottage on Main Beach and gorgeous Thomson and Imeson Cottages on Clarkes Beach.
Best Hideaway: Deep in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park on the Macleay River, East Kunderang Homestead has been carefully restored as a wilderness retreat. Dating back to the 1890s, this homestead captures the isolation and ruggedness of life as an Australian pioneer, in a part of the country known for its deep canyons, spectacular valleys and amazing rivers and waterfalls.
Best Romantic Stay: For sheer natural beauty, it’s hard to go past three lighthouse keepers’ cottages nestled below Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse at Seal Rocks on the State’s mid north coast. Built in 1875, steeped in history and boasting spectacular beach and ocean views, these fully-restored cottages are nothing short of idyllic.
Best Tent: Tandara in Lane Cove National Park does away with the notion that sleeping in a tent means roughing it. Just 10km from the Sydney CBD, Tandara combines luxury tented accommodation – including a king-size bed, electronically-controlled entertainment system and a bathroom not unlike anything found in a five star hotel – with the seclusion of a peaceful bush retreat.
Best Heritage Accommodation: Today, the guests of Q Station on Sydney Harbour, east of Manly, are of a very different ilk to those early settlers who were quarantined here before joining the fledgling settlement. Fully restored, Q Station today represents one of Australia’s best examples of heritage hotels, bringing to life a deep connection with Sydney’s Aboriginal and colonial past.
Best of Nature: Nature is the star attraction at the wonderful wildlife sanctuary of Montague Island, 9km off Narooma on the far south coast of NSW. The restored lighthouse keeper’s cottages are an indulgent base from which to join in the ongoing volunteer program to help protect the island’s colonies of Australian and New Zealand fur seals, sea birds and little penguins – or just relax.
Best of the Outback: The unique location surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Mungo National Park makes Mungo Lodge particularly special. This stylish, eco-friendly accommodation is enhanced by its place in the vast, timeless spaces that have made Mungo a natural and cultural icon.
The Naturescapes – The Collection app for iPad can be downloaded free from the iTunes store. It includes short video tours and spectacular images, stay details and links for booking accommodation online.