Where Maggie Beer relaxes, Fleur Wood eats and wellness and eco escapes: Good Weekend

Where does Maggie Beer truly relax, and Fleur Woods find a Victorian gourmet getaway? Part of Good Weekend’s 52 ExtraordinaryJourneys that cover wellness retreats and eco-escapes. 

MAGGIE BEER, cook, restaurateur, author
The experience: Consistency, attention to detail and utter relaxation on Kangaroo Island. 
"I have visited the Southern Ocean Lodge four times, as I host a Kangaroo Island Food Safari each year. Recently, I stayed at the lodge for five days. I’m a detail freak and I appreciate every little bit. The luxury is the staff, who are lovely people. It’s in the swivel chairs you sit on. It’s in the way everything is so restful, and how every window is set to capture a view: the first time I walked into the lodge’s great room, it took my breath away. It’s in the greeting on arrival, the freshly made lamingtons served and the good-quality tea. On my last visit, we walked the cliffs to Hanson Bay every morning, and every morning the staff would offer to pack us cut fruit on ice or a picnic and rug. We sat outside for every meal we could, eating the best food, using seasonal, local produce. The lodge’s signature scent is lemon myrtle, so there’s a sense of the bush. I don’t relax easily unless I’m by the sea. Here, I am so relaxed, I just give myself over to it." 
Dream to reality: Regional Express (rex.com.au) flies daily from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island; Sealink (sealink.com.au) has a daily ferry service from Cape Jervis on the mainland. Southern Ocean Lodge, Hanson Bay, two-night stays from $990 a person a night, twin share. southernoceanlodge.com.au

The experience:
 Chardonnay body scrub, pinot bath and a glass of wine.
Snuggled in the wild dunes of Tasmania’s far north-east, Barnbougle Lost Farm’s spa menu includes vinotherapy – embracing blends from the nearby Tamar Valley’s cool-climate wines. Think chardonnay exfoliant, pinot noir body mask, then a still-water pinot bath.
Dream to reality: Barnbougle Lost Farm, Waterhouse Road, Bridport, is one hour’s drive from Launceston. Fly direct from Melbourne’s Moorabbin Airport. Rooms from $190 a night, twin share; 150 minutes of vinotherapy from $320 a person. lostfarm.com.au

The experience: Waterfall “treatment” in subtropical climes.
Nature’s hand replaces that of the therapist, no booking is required, and there are no man-made products – just an invigorating pummelling. In and around beautiful Litchfield National Park south of Darwin, the popular Florence Falls, Wangi Falls, Sandy Creek (Tjaynera Falls), Surprise Creek Falls and Buley Rockhole can deliver neck-and-shoulder workouts. The best time to try is early in the
dry season, May-June.
Dream to reality: Litchfield National Park is a 90-minute drive from Darwin. Walk from carparks to individual waterfalls. travelnt.com

The experience: A splendid bolthole and secluded beach in the south-west.
Injidup Spa Retreat’s 10 villas have heated plunge pools, ocean views, in-villa dining and an in-villa massage service. A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World network, Injidup is adjacent to Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and within driving distance of the Margaret River wine-and-dine bounty, yet well suited to travellers who seek to be alone, but pampered, near a brooding sea.
Dream to reality: Injidup is a three-hour drive southwest of Perth. Two-night weekend villa stays from $650 a night. injidupsparetreat.com.au

The experience: Barossa bush bathing.
The seven-suite Kingsford Homestead, built in 1856, has an alfresco two-person bath set in a private corner of the estate. Guests are handed a basket containing a bathrobe and salts before they walk into the bush to bathe.
Dream to reality: Kingsford is an hour’s drive north of Adelaide. Two-night stays from $1780 for two. kingsfordhomestead.com.au

The experience: A Noosa ‘‘bodibreak’’ for those made of tough stuff.
Train like a pro under the direction of Life’s A Gym coaches: think bootcamp-style sessions on the beach, in the ocean and pool, as well as running, bike riding, and stand-up paddling and surfing sessions. The regimen is bespoke and includes fitness and nutrition advice.
Dream to reality: Fly direct from Sydney or Melbourne to Sunshine Coast Airport. Stay at Outrigger Little Hastings Street, Noosa. Four-day ‘‘bodibreak’’ from $1650 a person, twin share. lifesagym.com

The experience: Savannah meets wetlands meets lodge comforts.
Wake to a chorus of brolgas after a night’s sleep in an African-style tented stay overlooking the 2000-hectare Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve in
the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns, in Far North Queensland. The Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland spent 10 years developing the reserve.
Dream to reality: By car, it’s about a 90-minute drive from Cairns or Port Douglas. Lodge stays from $229 a person a night, twin share. Cairns-Mareeba train and bus services available. Transfers from Cairns to the Jabiru Safari Lodge are available by special request. jabirusafarilodge.com.au

The experience: Stylish digs deep in native forest.
Winter and early spring bring forth flowering plants and orchids at the spectacular Tanonga, a 100-hectare property on the Eyre Peninsula where more than 25,000 native trees, shrubs, grasses and sedges have been planted to help restore the land. It’s a robust landscape of incredible views, with two architect-designed, self-contained lodges sitting among it.
Dream to reality: Regional Express flies daily from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. Tanonga Luxury Eco Lodges are a 20-minute drive from the airport. Lodge stay is $310-$340 a night. Minimum two-night stay. tanonga.com.au

The experience: At home on the edge of the wild Tarkine.
Corinna is a former goldmining settlement, its riverside workers’ cottages and stores since renovated and an additional 14 retreats built to complement the settler vernacular. On the southern side of the Tarkine – the largest temperate rainforest in Australia – Corinna has rainwater on tap. While you’re there, take a Pieman River cruise on the stunning Arcadia II, a 17-metre vessel made of huon pine in 1939.
Dream to reality: Corinna is a three-hour drive south west of Stanley or 90 minutes north of Strahan, on Tasmania’s west coast. One-bedroom retreats from $200 a night for two people. corinna.com.au

The experience: Corrugated-iron "bush shelters", courtesy of architects.
Self-contained studios insulated with sheep’s wool and decorated with found and recycled materials form The Odd Frog, built on
4.2 hectares in Bright in Victoria’s north-east. It’s a solar-powered stay, with grey water going to the orchard, walking and cycling tracks (including the sealed Murray to the Mountains rail trail) nearby, and Bright’s shops a short stroll away.
Dream to reality: Bright is about a three-hour drive from Melbourne. Nearest airport is Albury, NSW. Studios from $150 a night. theoddfrog.com

The experience: No plastic, thanks, we’re permaculture people.
Tucked between a sandstone escarpment and the Morton National Park, Kangaroo Valley has National Trust-listed landscapes and village buildings, a long-standing ‘‘no plastic bags in shops’’ policy, and tourism operators who are upfront about their efforts to reduce their carbon emissions. About 1300 people live in the valley, and it’s
a badge of honour for many that there are no traffic lights in the area.
Dream to reality: Kangaroo Valley is a two-hour drive south of Sydney. kangaroovalleytourist.asn.au

FLEUR WOOD, Sydney fashion designer
The experience: Towns that let the tables do the talking. 
"Victoria’s Daylesford region is a foodie revelation All we did on a weekend visit was eat. My favourite restaurant is Kazuki’s – modern, Japanese-inspired bistro food. There’s beef and foie gras on the menu, but it’s very light. It’s my kind of food and I wanted everything on the menu. Wombat Hill House cafe, in the botanic gardens, is a great place to take kids and the food is fresh, organic and healthy. We had lunch in the conservatory and were struck by the delicious salads with fresh herbs and the local spring water. I did manage to get to Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa and visit Lavandula, a Swiss-Italian-style lavender farm for the signature lavender scones, of course. It is really beautiful, a good place for a post-spa afternoon tea. There are so many restaurants, yet there’s still an Australian country town aesthetic about Daylesford. With a husband and young baby, plus restaurants and spa treatments to experience, I didn’t have much time for shopping, but we took home some home-made apricot and almond jam. So much of the food is local and organic and there’s a real pride in growing and producing your own foods. It’s such a great community. If it was just outside Sydney, I’d be there every second weekend." 
Dream to reality: Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges is north-west of Melbourne. Self-guided touring recommended. visitvictoria.com

This article originally appeared in 
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Source: Belinda Jackson, Good Weekend Magazine

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