We are blessed in Australia to have some truly amazing luxury accommodation  in some of the most remote areas in the world. What makes them luxurious is not gold-plated bathroom taps or extensive pillow menus with your own butler. Rather,  it is the very fact that you can have your own bathroom with hot and cold running water, a comfortable bed with reading lamps, air-con if you want and beautiful nutritious meals in an otherwise seemingly hostile environment.

Hundreds of miles from the nearest city with views to endless horizons uninterrupted by signs of human habitation, these lodges give their guests the opportunity to experience unique corners of the continent without any of the challenges of having to take your own transportation, shelter, food and water.

We spent a few nights at Crystalbrook Lodge in Queensland recently. It’s three hours drive west of Cairns with the last 40 minutes on the dirt roads of the vast cattle grazing properties that make up this remote area.  Of course we could have flown into the property on a charter flight but we opted to drive to give us that sense of exploration that flattening landscapes and sleepy outback towns bring.

The roomy lodge is set in an oasis of green on a ridge overlooking a well-stocked (barramundi) lake formed decades ago by tin miners damming a small local creek. Activities (if you feel the need) include fishing,  swimming, bush walks, touring the extensive cattle property or visiting the nearby (70kms) outback town of Chillagoe. From there if you take the wrong road it’s more  than 500kms west to the next town – Normanton on the Gulf of Carpentaria!

Our favourite was sundowners on our “own” ridge looking west over the distant ridges. We were abandoned here for a couple of hours by the lodge manager. He had thoughtfully sent ahead with comfy reclining picnic chairs, an esky and a small table covered with a white cloth, chilled champagne in an ice bucket and a platter of canapés.    “Call us on the two-way and we’ll come and pick you up when you want to go home,” were his parting words.

We never called.