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 canapés are served at sunset and the chef’s table highlights native flavors. Within walking distance you can explore majestic Katherine Gorge—known traditionally as “cicada country”—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 place—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 from The Luxe List 2013