The view from Cicada Lodge is as timeless as the Aboriginal creation story behind its name, with a panorama of gum trees and red escarpment unfolding beyond your private balcony. Located some 300 kilometers south of Darwin at Nitmiluk Gorge, the 18 aluminum-built rooms are connected by decking to a central bar and pool area. This low-impact design adds to the sense that the new lodge, run by the indigenous Jawoyn people (who also own Nitmiluk Tours), is also a visitor in this ancient landscape. Elegant canapĂ©s are served at sunset and the chefâ€™s table highlights native flavors. Within walking distance you can explore majestic Katherine Gorgeâ€”known traditionally as â€ścicada countryâ€ťâ€”by canoe, riverboat, or helicopter. All the luxuries are here: champagne on arrival, Bulgari toiletries, and monsoon showers. But the real indulgence is savoring the spirit of the placeâ€”and possibly listening to a wallaby munch on eucalyptus leaves as you drift into a dreamtime slumber.
61-8/8974-3100; Cicada Lodge website; doubles from US$600
See more fromÂ The Luxe List 2013