Luxe escapes and ancient art in Australia

A one-stop hop to Hayman Island in the Great Barrier Reef, plus exploring Nitmiluk National Park

The One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef
The One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef

Once, flying into remote territory could be a risk to life, with the Hump – as the Himalayan wall of mountains separating Burma and China was known during the second world war – bringing down some 600 planes. In 2014, however, every wild place seems within easy reach, including Hayman Island, which is the northernmost of the Whitsundays – off the Queensland coast in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Accessed through nearby Hamilton Island (a 55-minute boat ride away), via the reinstated direct Qantas flight (www.qantas.com.au; from £326 return) from Sydney, it’s your one-stop hop to luxury, staying at the new One&Only Hayman Island (www.oneandonlyresorts.com; from £408; pictured). The company has taken an existing private-island resort, given all 160 rooms a head-to-toe fix and pumped the place with dive experts, chefs, kids’ clubs and more.

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For a side of Australia that’s more about the gravitas of the ancient than the glamour of the new, check in with Brad Horn of Epic Private Journeys (www.epicprivatejourneys.com). Australian by birth, but with 10 years of guiding in Africa under his belt, Horn takes on the Outback, including the Northern Territory, and gets it bang-on perfect. Here you can stay at newly opened Cicada Lodge (www.cicadalodge.com.au; £359), which is owned by the indigenous Jawoyn people. Located inside Nitmiluk National Park and close to the seriously beautiful – and crocodile-filled – Nitmiluk (or Katherine) Gorge, this is where to come to find spectacular rock art that’s around 40,000 years old.

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