Australia

Rainforest retreats in NSW for weekends of wildlife and wilderness

For back-to-nature breaks, rainforest retreats are waiting in NSW. Away from the buzz of city life, you'll relax among the zen-inducing sights of the wild.

Hike through eucalyptus forests, keeping watch for colourful native birds and spotted tiger quolls. Alternatively, send your pulse rate soaring with adrenaline-fuelled activities – or simply admire the lush landscape from a lofty lookout spot.

There’s no shortage of rainforest accommodation here. You can keep things cheap and cheerful in a comfy Lithgow motel, or wake to sounds of songbirds on the balcony of a wooden chalet. For full-on luxury, you can go with a dazzlingly decadent spa suite. Whichever rainforest resort you choose, prepare for a breathtaking break that will soothe your soul.

Rainforest hideaway dripping with luxury

Think refined decadence is reserved for sizzling city breaks? The Promised Land Retreat will make you think again. This boutique accommodation is nestled in a sun-drenched rainforest, close to the town of Bellingen. Serenity reigns supreme here, with just three wooden chalets providing bespoke back-to-nature escapes.
You’ll wake in a plush queen bed to the soothing sound of figbirds. Tiptoe out to your private deck for hot coffee with an audience of cheeky rainbow lorikeets, before drifting inside for a soak in your private spa bath.
You’re just a 40-minute drive from the wilds of Dorrigo National Park here, though you could also just hop on one of the available bikes to explore the area. Cool off with a dip in one of the natural watering holes, then head back to base for ping-pong in the games room.

Promised Land Retreat

Bellingen

Cosy couples' retreat by a shimmering lake

Slip away with your special someone to Eagle View Escape. This Lake Lyell gem is purely for couples, with all 25 spa suites geared towards romance. For the ultimate treat, settle in at The Chateau for an intimate breakfast in the courtyard – or prepare your own in your fully equipped kitchen.
Meanwhile, the nearby Blue Mountains beg to be explored. You can drive 40 minutes to the dreamy Mount York Lookout for an afternoon of hiking, or get comfy with a pre-packed picnic for two. Later, relax in the hotel’s plush guest lounge with board games by the picture window – a great spot for soul-stirring sunset views.

Hotel Eagle View Escape Rydal

Top rated
Lithgow
8.8 Excellent (104 reviews)

Rainforest resort in the breathtaking Blue Mountains

Bask in five-star luxury at Lilianfels Blue Mountain Resort. Set against a backdrop of mighty mountain vistas, it’s pretty awe-inspiring inside, too. Suites are swathed in elegant Wedgwood wallpaper, and you’ll sleep easy on Sealy Posturepedic Dynasty Series beds. Feel like royalty in your en-suite crafted from gleaming marble.
Make sure to book some time in the tranquil day spa. Give yourself over to expert therapists, who will soothe away your cares with a Ginger Renewal Treatment, or go all out with a Wellness Package of muscle-melting massages.
It’s an easy 20-minute walk into bohemian Katoomba. You can hit the Cultural Centre to learn about the local landscape and meander around colourful art exhibitions. Award-winning Darley’s Restaurant will be waiting on your return for an evening feast of wagyu ribeye and luscious rosehip-laced chocolate cake.

Lilianfels Blue Mountains and Spa - Blue Mountains

Top rated
Katoomba
8.7 Excellent (1309 reviews)

Affordable accommodation in leafy Lithgow

A homely environment awaits you at Lithgow’s Zig Zag Motel. Select an Executive Queen room and you’ll get a four-star stay that won’t break the bank. Muted mocha decor sets the scene for your soothing escape, while plush Sealy bedding ensures top-quality snoozing.
Spend your days navigating the rainforests of Blue Mountains National Park – just a half hour’s drive away. Alternatively, you can amble into central Lithgow for historic exhibitions at the Eskbank Museum. The coral-coloured roses of Queen Elizabeth Park will welcome you in afterwards for a picnic in the sun.
The motel’s Switchback Restaurant can expertly satiate your dinnertime appetite. You’ll pair house-battered barramundi with a crisp glass of Chardonnay, saving room for butterscotch-drenched date pudding. Prefer to dine in your pyjamas? You can grab something from the takeaway menu and feast in your room in front of any number of Foxtel programmes.

Zig Zag Motel

Top rated
Lithgow
8.6 Excellent (542 reviews)

Nightlife and golf at a rainforest retreat close to Sydney

1/4

If you’re keen for a rainforest retreat but don’t want to stray too far from civilisation, then Quality Inn Penrith might just be your go-to. Drive 50 minutes from central Sydney and you’ll arrive at a four-star hotel that can serve as a comfortable base for exploring the lush Blue Mountains.

Rooms are easy on the purse strings without compromising on style. You’ll sleep soundly in crisp linen sheets, using the in-room toaster for a satisfying breakfast before venturing into the nearby wilds.

Besides hiking, there’s plenty to do right on your doorstep. You could take to the Nepean River for a spot of white water rafting, or hit the fairways of Glenmore Heritage Valley Golf Course – just five minutes’ drive away.

Quality Inn Penrith

Penrith
8.2 Very good (337 reviews)

Mountain magic at this tucked-away resort in NSW

Awe-inspiring views are on offer at the four-star Hotel Mountain Heritage. Swimming in country charm, this European-style mansion boasts mind-blowing vistas from virtually every point of the property.
Rooms here rival even the swishest of city hotels. You’ll rise at daybreak in a Mountain View Tower Suite, slipping out onto the balcony for a mug of morning tea. You can feast on freshly baked pastries in the elegant Jamison Views Restaurant, then check out the seasonal swimming pool for a few invigorating laps.
With a central Katoomba location, there’s adventure in every direction. You can take a bushwalk through native flora and try to spot cuddly koalas. Book a rock-climbing tour in the fresh mountain air, or brave the Scenic Railway – the steepest one in the world.

Hotel Mountain Heritage

Katoomba
8.3 Very good (1025 reviews)

Self-catered rainforest escape in NSW's Springwood

Need a self-contained base for your rainforest ramblings? The Pioneer Way Motel can oblige. Set among the tall trees of historic Springwood, this laidback Blue Mountains spot is perfectly placed for nature-lovers. You’re less than 30 minutes’ drive from the ever-Instagrammable Three Sisters, and even closer to tumbling Wentworth Falls.
The vintage village of Faulconbridge is also just a 15-minute walk away. You can make your way to the popular Victoria Walking Track for a rainforest walk to peaceful Clarinda Falls before checking out local artwork in the Norman Lindsay Gallery.
When you’re not traversing the motel’s iconic surrounds, take time out in your Executive Queen Suite to relax. You can indulge with a perfectly chilled tipple from the fridge and settle in for a chilled-out movie marathon.

Pioneer Way Motel

Faulconbridge
8.0 Very good (224 reviews)

Mountain views from pretty Penrith accommodation

Picturesque Penrith is a convenient metropolitan base for a rainforest gateway. Wake with the rising sun inside the sleek four-star Mercure Penrith and fit in a quick workout in the hotel gym to get your blood pumping. Surf on your surge of endorphins through a morning in the misty mountains – it’s just under an hour’s drive to the Leura Cascades where you can meander beside the fern-fringed creek.
On your return, check out the hotel’s outdoor barbecue facilities for an afternoon cookout. You can follow chargrilled burgers and sizzling sausages with time by the outdoor pool, then slip away for an overdue siesta in your Deluxe King Room. Swaddle yourself in complimentary robes and recline among the calming slate grey decor. Once suitably rested, reemerge for handcrafted cocktails in the atmospheric Lobby Bar.

Hotel Mercure Penrith

Penrith
7.6 Good (1369 reviews)

Boutique accommodation in NSW for personalised service

Another Katoomba classic, the four-star Echoes Boutique Hotel is both intimate and evocative. There are only 14 rooms and suites, each one unique in decor and design. If you snag a decadent Corner View Suite, you’ll have panoramic valley views. Warm your toes each morning on the underfloor heating and drift out to the balcony for a brain-jolting shot of freshly brewed espresso.
You’re just a 12-minute walk from Katoomba Cascades, so you can spend your days winding through the wildlife-rich bush. Then again, the hotel’s high-end day spa might persuade you to stay in and indulge with a Mineral Wellness Bath.
Foodies will be in their element at Echoes Restaurant and Bar, where award-winning cuisine is served high above the Jamison Valley. Majestic views as you sample sensational creations like truffled mushroom wontons and miso-infused ocean trout.

Echoes Boutique Hotel & Restaurant

Katoomba
8.2 Very good (337 reviews)

Feature image courtesy of Martin Hossa / Fotolia