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6 Luxury resorts near Sydney

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue MountainsCREDIT: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Setting the scene for a picnic lunch at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.

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6 Luxury resorts
near Sydney

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains CREDIT: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Setting the scene for a picnic lunch at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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If you’re hankering for a return to nature but fancy a more high-end experience than campgrounds and convenience foods, these lavish resorts, all within a couple of hours’ drive from Sydney, offer exceptional accommodation in spectacular settings and some of the finest dining in the state. Mountainside or coastline, north, south or west, indulge in a taste of the good life. 

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains 

If foraging and farm-to-plate are terms that warm your heart, make this your next out-of-town adventure. Acclaimed chef James Viles heads up the kitchen at the sublime Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley resort, where his passion for locally sourced produce is well matched to the hotel’s sustainable ethos.The resort, a three-hour drive northwest of Sydney, is nestled in the wild beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains and features 40 freestanding villas, each with private pools, that embrace the splendour of the landscape. Two restaurants in the main homestead offer authentically Australian fare with a focus on seasonal and regional organic produce. Quality, flavour and a connection to nature are the stars, which shine extra bright in this blissfully secluded part of the world. Add to your diary sampling the resort’s own 1832 Wolgan Gin, featuring botanicals from the Wolgan Valley. 

Jonah’s, Whale Beach 

International guests sometimes arrive by seaplane for their stay at Jonah’s boutique hotel and restaurant, high on the cliffs at Whale Beach in Sydney’s dazzling Northern Beaches. But if you’re happy with a more conventional transit, it’s a mere one-hour drive from the city centre. There are 11 rooms, decked out with five-star extravagances and all with gape-worthy views, but it’s the award-wining restaurant that is often the main drawcard of this exclusive enclave. Chef Matteo Zamboni has worked in well-regarded Sydney Italian restaurants Ormeggio at the Spit and Pilu at Freshwater and brings a much-welcomed Italian influence to the menu.  

Pretty Beach House, Bouddi Peninsula 

There are just four villas, or pavilions, at Pretty Beach House, a refined coastal getaway 90 minutes north of Sydney on the spectacular Bouddi Peninsula of the NSW Central Coast. Surrounded by forest and secluded bays, the resort is tucked among gum tress and gives you a sense of visiting a secret hideaway. The stellar reputation of its restaurant, however, is no secret. Under head chef Dean Jones, who worked at London’s River Café, the simple, elegant fare is a reflection of place, with a Mediterranean-inspired, modern Australian focus. A stay at Pretty Beach House is extraordinary in itself, but even more so with the rare privilege of having a leading chef prepare food for you and only a handful of other guests in an intimate setting.

Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach CREDIT: Anson Smart

Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach.

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Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach CREDIT: Anson Smart

Pretty Beach House, Pretty Beach.

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Jonah's, Whale Beach CREDIT: Jonah's

Looking out over Whale Beach from Jonah’s.

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Jonah's, Whale Beach CREDIT: Jonah's

Looking out over Whale Beach from Jonah’s.

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Bannisters Port Stephens  

The seaside holiday area of Port Stephens, a 30-minute drive from Newcastle, or a 2.5-hour drive north of Sydney, is home to the second Rick Stein at Bannisters, the renowned seafood restaurant that first came to acclaim at the Bannisters by the Sea at Mollymook on the South Coast. Bannisters by the Sea’s sister hotel Bannisters Port Stephens is a vibrant renovation of a pre-existing retro motel, with the revamp inspired by its sister property: laid-back luxury with a Hamptons-style aesthetic. Surrounded by bushland and sea, it’s also set on a vast marine park, giving Stein access to top-notch seafood. It’s all freshly caught and perfectly prepared — settle in for a long, leisurely lunch or sunset dinner.  

Bangalay Luxury Villas, Shoalhaven Heads 

For Sydney-dwelling gourmands, the Shoalhaven region of the South Coast is a heavenly escape a mere two hour’s drive from the city centre. Popular for its pristine beaches and pretty native bushland, it’s also home to passionate food producers and food lovers. Bangalay Dining, the signature restaurant of Bangalay Luxury Villas in Shoalhaven Heads, plays to that advantage with its emphasis on premium native ingredients and a paddock-to-plate ethos. Bangalay Dining’s innovative modern Australian fare showcases the region’s best produce, and with the likes of kangaroo with wattleseed, muntries and hazelnuts on offer, it’s a chance to expand your palate in elevated bush tucker style. After a memorable meal, it’s a few steps to one of the resort’s 16 spacious, light-filled private villas, each a showcase of chic coastal style with golf course and garden views.

Bendooley Estate, Berrima 

Set in 80 hectares of magnificent gardens with a romantic vineyard, the grand Bendooley Estate in Berrima, a 90-minute drive southwest of Sydney in the Southern Highlands, will fulfil all your dreams of being lord or lady of the manor. Book one of the rustic-chic cottages – complete with tranquil views, blissfully deep baths and heated tiles – and, after browsing through the resident Berkelouw bookstore The Book Barn, settle in for some serious feasting at Bendooley Estate’s lunch-only restaurant. The Australian contemporary menu has something for everyone, with woodfired pizzas a favourite. If you’re keen to throw some pots around in your own fully functioning cottage kitchen, swing by the Bendooley Larder, a 10-minute drive away in Bowral, which offers an abundance of the wine region’s meats, cheeses, seasonal produce and goodies. After tastings at Bendooley’s cellar door, you’re sure to have the drop to match. 

Rick Stein, Bannisters Port Stephens CREDIT: Lydia Napoli

Rick Stein's Singapore Chilli Crab at Bannisters Port Stephens

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Rick Stein, Bannisters Port Stephens CREDIT: Lydia Napoli

Rick Stein's Singapore Chilli Crab at Bannisters Port Stephens

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Bangalay Dining, Shoalhaven Heads CREDIT: Destination NSW

Dish made from local and native ingredients available from the menu at Bangalay Dining, Shoalhaven Heads.

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Bangalay Dining, Shoalhaven Heads CREDIT: Destination NSW

Dish made from local and native ingredients available from the menu at Bangalay Dining, Shoalhaven Heads.

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