Bamurru Plains, Australia's Newest Eco-Lodge
Unique even in a country that idealizes the "back of beyond," Australia’s Kakadu National Park, in the Northern Territory, may be one of the last landscapes on earth to remain untouched since Creation—at least, Creation as understood by the aboriginal Bininj, who have inhabited the place for over 40,000 years. Until recently, an overnight stay in this wilderness was rough going. But that has changed with the opening of Bamurru Plains (61-2/9571-6677; bamurruplains.com; doubles from $1,666). This camp of nine open-plan suites built on timber platforms overlooks the floodplain just outside the park’s western border. It’s a contemporary bush station where "creature comforts" refers to the pleasures of wildlife viewing (fauna include water buffalo, wallabies, and kookaburras) rather than more high-tech amenities—there are no phones, TV’s, or CD players. Take an airboat expedition through the Swim Creek floodplain area or a Land Cruiser safari into neighboring Kakadu, one of the few UNESCO World Heritage sites with a dual listing: it’s treasured as both a cultural and a natural landmark. During monsoon season, between January and March, this 7,722-square-mile reserve comes alive, with roaring waterfalls, savannas shaded by eucalyptus, and freshwater billabongs concealing toothy crocodiles. It’s beyond, Aussie-style.