Life Travel Crocs and castles: Weird overnight stays
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Crocs and castles: Weird overnight stays

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Ruwenzori Retreat, Mudgee

Ruwenzori Retreat, Mudgee, NSW
Fancy sleeping in converted 100-year-old railway carriages decorated in Orient Express-style luxury? This single-hire retreat has three such carriages (with room to accommodate up to 12 people) – each with the mod cons of any up-market hotel room including underfloor heating, wood fires and BBQ. Weekday rates start from $225 per night, weekends from $500 per night. 193 Ridge Road, Cooks Gap (02) 9699 6029

 

The Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy
The Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy

 

 

The Desert Cave Hotel, Coober Pedy SA

If there’s ever a time to stay in an underground hotel, it’s in a town like Coober Pedy where temperatures are consistently over 40 degrees. The Desert Cave has conventional above-ground rooms but is famous for its 19 underground suites, shops and bar – all refreshingly dark, cool and spacious. Underground rooms priced from $179. Lot 1, Hutchison Street, Coober Pedy. (08) 8672 5688

 

The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, My Gambier
The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, My Gambier

 

The Old Mount Gambier Gaol, My Gambier, SA

Spending your weekend in prison may not be your idea of a good time, but when it’s as charming as this property, you might just reconsider. Closed as a prison in 1995, the old cells have since been converted into dorms, twin rooms and doubles, while the former chapel and library have been reborn as entertainment areas. Priced from $26 per person for a dorm bed. 25 Margaret Street, Mt Gambier (08) 8723 0032

 

Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Jabiru
Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Jabiru

 

Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn, Jabiru, NT
If you prefer your hotels to be shaped like carnivorous reptiles, head on over to this spectacular establishment deep in the heart of Kakadu National Park. Uniquely shaped to represent Kakadu’s most famous inhabitant, the saltwater crocodile, the hotel is one of the most popular in the top end. Prices vary. Flinders Street, Jabiru, 1800 007 697

 

White Cliffs Motel, White Cliffs
White Cliffs Motel, White Cliffs

 

 

White Cliffs Motel, White Cliffs, NSW
Looking to escape the heat in far Western NSW? This huge underground complex features 30 underground “dugouts”- all of which remain a comfortable and consistent 22 – 23 degrees all year Those who dare venture out of their room can also enjoy a licensed restaurant, bar, swimming pool and games room. $140 per night including breakfast. 129 Smiths Hill, White Cliffs 2836, (08) 8091 6677

 

 

 

Northstar Hotel, Melrose
Northstar Hotel, Melrose

Northstar Hotel, Melrose, SA
Check in for a wheely good time at this Flinders Ranges hotel which features two large trucks as accommodation options. The less adventurous can stay in the hotel itself, but the red and green trucks parked around the back are where the action is. Each features an ensuite, fridge, aircon and coffee-making facilities. $160 a night. Nott Street, Melrose, (08) 8666 2110

 

 

 

River Dream Boatels, Echuca
River Dream Boatels, Echuca

River Dream Boatels, Echuca, Vic

Live out your inner Trump by hiring one of these boatels and traversing the Murray River in grand style. Far from your average houseboat, this one features a sky lounge (accessed from the grand lobby), carpeted outside deck with six-burner BBQ and two-story wrap-around windscreen for endless panoramic views. Available for hire for $180 per person per night. 0418 467 588

 

Mira Mira, Crossover
Mira Mira, Crossover

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mira Mira, Crossover, Vic
Choose your own adventure at this peaceful retreat in the stunning Gippsland region. You have the option of relaxing in one of three self-contained, two bedroom fantasy rooms; the Japanese Zen room (complete with pond), an underground haven with a view in The Cave, or the Gaudi-inspired Tanglewood. Priced from $390 for two nights. 1395 Bloomfield Road, Crossover, (03) 5626 7200

 

Q Station Retreat, Manly
Q Station Retreat, Manly

 

Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW
Reportedly one of the most haunted sites in the country, Manly’s Q Station, runs a Ghostly Sleepover on the third Friday of each month and it’s not for the faint of heart. $155 buys you a light dinner, a late night tour, and a sleepover in one of their most haunted precincts. If you make it, you’ll also get breakfast to go. 1 North Head, Scenic Drive, Manly, (02) 9466 1551

 

 

Thorngrove Manor, Stirling
Thorngrove Manor, Stirling

Thorngrove Manor, Stirling, SA
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your Mastercard. This storybook castle with its fantasy turrets and flamboyant interiors (winding staircases, solid gold inspiration) will have you thinking you’re enjoying a romantic weekend in some exotic European city, but the Manor is actually only 20 minutes from Adelaide’s city centre. Rates are from $790 per night including continental breakfast. 2 Glendside Lane, Stirling, (08) 8339 6748