12 romantic weekend stays in NSW
From Spanish villas and bubbletents under the stars to secluded rooms within caves, treehouses and refurbed silos, explore some of NSW’s most unique getaways perfect for two.
Art, architecture, history & opulence: The Ark Coolamon
Set in a restored church, The Ark Coolamon is an extraordinary and unique accommodation where gothic arch doors, vaulted ceilings and Art Deco touches meet underfloor heating, lavish linen, silk robes and a clawfoot bath. Watch sunlight stream through the leadlight windows and into the nave, prepare a romantic meal together in the modern kitchen, or just relax in the sunny courtyard and cottage gardens. Beyond the Ark, the winding country roads around Coolamon, 40 minutes north-west of Wagga Wagga, bisect rolling landscapes and lead to pretty hamlets, walking trails, and the Riverina’s artisanal providores. The Ark Coolamon is – appropriately – perfect for two.
Secluded, self-contained & off-the-grid: Farmers Hut at Wilga Station
A scenic, three-hour drive from Sydney or Canberra, the Farmers Hut at Wilga Station is a modern, architecturally striking retreat for couples who want to seriously get away from it all. Start the day with a complimentary gourmet breakfast hamper and end it with a complimentary bottle of premium local wine and a sunset over the valley from your Scandi-inspired cabin. This working sheep station is also just 12 minutes from heritage-rich Bathurst, and 40 minutes from the wineries and fresh produce of Orange.
A silo stay: Melrose Park Mudgee Silos
If you’re looking for totally different digs - and an amazing accommodation anecdote – check out the Instagram-friendly Melrose Park Mudgee Silos, 260km north-west of Sydney. Ideal for couples, there’s a bathroom silo, a kitchen/dining room silo and a bedroom silo all for your exclusive use. Huge, high doors are cut into the sides so you can stare out and up at the stars and Mount Frome. Spend your days exploring the local Mudgee wineries, or drive, hike or kayak among the canyons, forests and rivers in Wollemi National Park, just a two-hour drive away.
Dog-friendly Blue Mountains idyll: Kookawood Rural Retreat
Nourishing for the soul – and any relationship – Kookawood Rural Retreat near the town of Rydal is a bucolic, two-bedroom farmhouse accommodation 35 minutes from Katoomba. Boasting dazzling views of the Blue Mountains from the deckchairs and outdoor bath, you’ll be sharing the property with pet cows and miniature horses, as well as local birds, kangaroos, wombats and echidnas. A fenced rear garden provides a safe space for any furry friends you bring along. Swim – or canoe, ski or fish – at nearby Lake Lyell in summer and snuggle by the log fire in winter. Explore the walking trails in any season and head to nearby Oberon for the sheer beauty of the Jenolan Caves and Mayfield gardens.
A trip to Basque country: Spicers Tower Lodge
A fusion to fan romantic flames, Spicers Tower Lodge in pretty Pokolbin is part hot-blooded Basque culture, part Pamplona-themed hacienda and part luxury villa, all set in one of Australia’s finest wine regions, the Hunter Valley. White walls, water features, terracotta stairs, Art Deco stonework and a restaurant inspired by Spanish pintxo bars set the mood, and you can keep the romance going with a trip over the Hunter in a hot air balloon or a tour of the local cellar doors. You can even order in a flamenco lesson for two. Olé!
Love on the rocks: the Enchanted Cave
One of seven romantic Love Cabins getaways in the Blue Mountains, the Enchanted Cave near Bilpin is a self-contained slice of primal wilderness for two. Built on – and partially carved into – a rocky outcrop, the hot tub and bed overlook the valley’s ever-changing scenery, from the crisp light of dawn to the tapestry of the night’s stars. Explore the picturesque valley, book an invigorating in-cabin massage or just relax by the fireplace.
Love island: Arajilla Retreat, Lord Howe Island
Just a two-hour flight from Sydney, the pristine paradise of Lord Howe Island is restricted to just 400 visitors at any one time. And set on the sheltered, northern end of the exclusive island, Arajilla Retreat offers luxury suites – and an even more luxurious beach house – each with king beds, private decks and (at least one) bath. As a hint as to what you can expect, two of their packages are entitled ‘Elopement’ and ‘Honeymoon’. Think palm trees, privacy, spa treatments, intimate picnics, long walks by the lagoon and Lord Howe’s renowned snorkelling, scuba, hiking, cycling, fishing and water sports.
It’s in the stars: Mirumiru Bubbletent
A starry-eyed night awaits at the glamping-with-a-difference Mirumiru Bubbletent, just south of the Queensland border on the Northern Tablelands plateau. A short drive from historic Tenterfield in the pretty New England region, your Bubbletent home among the gum trees features a transparent roof – your own window to the arcing milky way. Each tent is equipped with a deck overlooking the high-country, undercover gas cooking and campfire cooking facilities, as well as a private outdoor bath, shower and eco-toilet.
Rainforest serenity: River Room, Bellingen Treehouse
Perched in the branches like a lovebird, the River Room, Bellingen Treehouse sits beside the Never Never River on the Mid North Coast. Designed by legendary Australian architect Richard Leplastrier, the River Room is a spacious, comfortable and intimate treetop immersion. Open an entire wall like a garage door and invite the rainforest into your bedroom. Swim in the fresh waterhole in the front garden off your own pontoon. Listen to the river, the birdlife and the rain on the roof. Walk, canoe and ride in the adjacent national parks. Breathe. Repeat. Cooking options are limited so dine out in Bellingen – with excellent restaurants just 10 minutes away.
Headland heritage: Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages
Built on a clifftop looking out to sea, Seal Rocks Lighthouse Cottages offer a unique, romantic and secluded weekend getaway. Built in 1875, the two Assistant Keepers’ Cottages are heritage-listed, self-contained, classically furnished and feature a full kitchen. Located on the Mid North Coast, the cottages also boast expansive outdoors areas, where you can barbecue, eat and drink with an up-close-and-personal ocean view. Visit the still-active lighthouse, explore Seal Rocks village and wander the trails and beaches of Myall Lakes National Park.
Luxury for animal lovers: Jaguar Stay
Jaguar Stay promises to be a fiercely fun weekend. It is set beside – and within roaring distance of – Mogo Wildlife Park. This internationally regarded private zoo is home to more than 250 exotic and rare animals. Each of the six private, luxurious villas has a king bed, ensuite bathroom, deck, fire pit and plunge pool; one villa is wheelchair accessible, and its plunge pool is fitted with a sling-style lift. Huge windows gaze out at surrounding farmland and pristine Australian bush. Take the short drive to Tomakin and Broulee beaches, paddle upstream to Mossy Point, wander through the bush or cycle the nearby tracks. And don’t miss the nearby bohemian village of Mogo.
A night on the water: Runaway Bear houseboat
One of many Berger Houseboats operating on the winding Tweed River in northern NSW, Runaway Bear is a compact vessel perfect for two. No boat licence or experience is required – just a quick lesson and you’re on your way. Pull up wherever you like and cook on the barbecue or in the kitchenette, which includes a fridge, stovetop and grill. Explore the inlets, bays and islands of the Tweed, fish and swim, and use your complimentary dinghy to reach shops, galleries and taverns along the riverbank.