Berkeley River LodgeWestern Australia, Australia
Early mornings are all part of the experience at this understated luxury getaway on the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf in remotest Western Australia. The heat makes the hours just after dawn the most comfortable for the activities: driving along beaches looking for turtle tracks, fishing for barramundi on uncharted estuaries or for GT and Spanish mackerel out to sea, taking the boat along the coastline spotting local residents from saltwater crocs to dugongs, or cruising over the dramatic landscape in a helicopter.
Twenty individual lodges are built along sand dunes. Each is decorated with restrained elegance, and has its own sensational outdoor bathroom. The views out over the ocean are stunning, and, when the sun is high in the sky, beneath the shade cloth on the private balcony reading or contemplating the wilderness is the place to be. There’s a pool at the main lodge, where meals created from the best ingredients sourced from around the world are served.
The highlight of any trip to the lodge – if you take away the seaplane transfer from Kununurra – is the river cruise that meanders between soaring red cliffs to Casuarina Falls, where guests can step out on to the rocks and under the torrent of water to cool down.
- Being as far away from everything as is possibly imaginable
- The spectacular sunsets
- Cooked-to-order brekkies and other stunning meals, including some prepared from fish you may have caught
- Exploring deserted beaches, rivers and waterfalls
- The heat – it can be stifling (thank goodness for aircon)
- No mobile reception
- Having only the pool for dips – the sea and estuaries are inhabited by crocs
Berkeley River Lodge is 150 kilometres from the nearest town, Wyndham. However, because there are no roads, most guests take a seaplane transfer with Scenic Air Transfers from Kununurra (about US$650 return).
- King-size bed
- Outdoor bathroom
- Private balcony
- 20-metre lap pool
From about US$1012 per person a night (twin share), includes all meals, most drinks, and activities (except helicopter tours).
There are no roads to Berkeley River Lodge. Guests either fly in on chartered seaplane or helicopter flights from Kununurra or Darwin.