Peter Eve/Courtesy of Cicada Lodge

Rustic: Cicada Lodge, Nitmiluk National Park, Australia

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The 500 remaining Jawoyn Aborigines in the Northern Territory make up one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures, and now, with the opening of Cicada Lodge, they’re also Australia’s most anticipated new hoteliers. Their goal is twofold: put Nitmiluk Gorge—with its carved canyons of ancient sandstone towering over the Katherine River—on the traveler’s map, and use the lodge as a means of preserving Jawoyn heritage. Here, 18 airy rooms in muted shades of green and brown incorporate Aboriginal art. If you are drawn to high-octane pursuits (four-wheel-drive touring, say), you’ve found your place. But there are plenty of less demanding activities, including swimming under pristine waterfalls and helicoptering to sacred rock-art sites that date back 20,000 years—all under the guidance of indigenous locals. cicadalodge.com.au. $$$$

It List: The Best New Hotels 2013

Rustic: Cicada Lodge, Nitmiluk National Park, Australia

The 500 remaining Jawoyn Aborigines in the Northern Territory make up one of the world’s oldest surviving cultures, and now, with the opening of Cicada Lodge, they’re also Australia’s most anticipated new hoteliers. Their goal is twofold: put Nitmiluk Gorge—with its carved canyons of ancient sandstone towering over the Katherine River—on the traveler’s map, and use the lodge as a means of preserving Jawoyn heritage. Here, 18 airy rooms in muted shades of green and brown incorporate Aboriginal art. If you are drawn to high-octane pursuits (four-wheel-drive touring, say), you’ve found your place. But there are plenty of less demanding activities, including swimming under pristine waterfalls and helicoptering to sacred rock-art sites that date back 20,000 years—all under the guidance of indigenous locals. cicadalodge.com.au. $$$$

Peter Eve/Courtesy of Cicada Lodge

It List: The Best New Hotels 2013

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