I hadn’t driven along this stretch of the Great Ocean Road in well over a decade. And as I drove I considered just what a mistake that was! This wonderful road tripping mecca is not just Australia’s most iconic drive but it must feature as one the most scenic anywhere in the world. How could this get any better I pondered? Well it was about to…
Because I was about to arrive at Alkina Lodge.
Retreat into Luxury.
When I first discovered these luxurious lodges on the Interwebs I actually thought that this was an intimate hotel complex. Nestled on lush lawns, and secluded within verdant forest, Alkina looked to me as if it had living areas that then fanned out into accommodation wings. At a guess I thought there were probably 15 – 20 rooms. And I was kinda right…
Oh sure I had the layout correct. Spacious lounges, kitchen and patios interconnecting out onto a bedroom wing. However what I had wrong was the small fact that each of the structures is in fact just one single villa! Mind blown. In terms of holiday accommodation – if spaciousness correlates with luxuriousness – then Alkina is opulence off the charts! At a guess from the front to the back of your four-bedroom villa it may extend 50 metres or even more.
Moreover the three stylish lodge interiors are painted white which only adds to the epic sense of space and scale. The furniture, artworks and fittings don’t scream luxe – because that would be brash – they elegantly whisper it.
First impressions were good and it only got better.
Alkina’s four-bedroom/ two-bathroom luxury lodges are fully self-contained and fitted with only the most luxurious of features including – a Gaggenau-equipped kitchen, Bose audio system, wonderful artworks and photography, a bespoke fireplace and fine European furniture.
Click an image to enlarge.
And just try and not be tempted by the almost regal free standing bathtub in the master bedroom ensuite! I dares ya.
The villas were designed by award winning architects Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin. They have been constructed with sensitivity to the local landscape and designed to compliment the surrounding natural environment. Their footprint on the environment is light. It’s similar to what you would leave on a stroll on one of the nearby beautiful beaches.
And validation that this blend with nature has been seamlessly achieved comes each dusk when you can sit on your patio and watch the scores of kangaroos and wallabies coming to pay a visit.
Alkina feels like a unique mix of small luxury hotel and top-end holiday home. The friendly hosts/ managers Cindy and Jordan will great you upon arrival and may also be reached during your stay. They can help you with food & wine hampers, enable access to the lodge’s mountain bikes or provide helpful suggestions of attractions in the area. Of course you can also just decide to curl up in your luxury hub for the duration your stay without seeing another ^soul. It’s all up to you! (^I guess that depends if you think kangaroos have a soul or not I guess)
A gateway to greatness.
Of course I have just suggested that you could just tuck yourself up on the sofa drinking wine in front of the fire for the majority of your stay. And that would be amazing. However getting out and exploring will only enhance a stay here – and that’s in any season.
The mighty 12 Apostles of course are the hero attraction in the area. And rightly so.
They are truly magical. They grip you under their spell and almost refuse to release you. I was awe-struck. A trip at dusk can be ethereal if you are lucky with the sunset as I was. But you won’t be alone! The day I visited it was just me and a few hundred of my nearest-and-dearest. But despite these large crowds I found the Apostles experience life-affirming.
Another beauty about Alkina is it’s location. The Apostles are only about a 25 minute drive in a westerly direction. But don’t forget all the other amazing sights along this part of the Great Ocean Road. Gibson Steps, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, the Bay of Islands and much, much more.
Want to escape the crowds?
There are two other attractions I want to tell you about in this post. Both are much less well known yet both had a major impact on me when I visited. They are – as the crow flies – very close to Alkina by car but in this part of the world you will never travel quickly. Roads here are winding and slow and deserve respect and attention.
Put Alkina Lodge > Wreck Beach into Google Maps and it will tell you 4.7kms and 10 minutes! Well ok that’s if you have brought your Hummer or light armoured personnel carrier with you. If not, it will take much longer and the gravel road must be driven with care.
Even in my 10-year-old-Camry which seems to be nigh on indestructible it took a battering and I’m very used to off-piste driving. So please consider the drive carefully. If you are somewhat precious about your gleaming paintwork you might want to pass. However I really do recommend the effort in getting here because the rewards are great! And that includes the 300-or-so steps down to the beach.
Do your research or check with Cindy and Jordan regarding the tides at this beach. You can easily be caught out . This is the evocatively-named Shipwreck Coast after all and hundreds of lives and scores of vessels have been lost along it. The two anchors and flotsam on Wreck Beach are poignant reminders of the power of this coastline.
About 40 minutes drive east will place you in the area most often referred to as Beech Forest. This is in the heart of the mighty Otways. There is so much to see and do here including walking in the treetop canopies at the Otway Fly, a visit to one of the many beautiful waterfalls in the region or a visit to the little known Californian Redwoods Forest.
I have to admit that walking beneath the towering Sequoias on my own was incredibly powerful. The air was still, a babbling brooke at my side and giants above. There is also a dirt road to access this site (and the magnificent Hopetoun Falls nearby) but it is well-graded and you are only on it for a few kilometres.
The wrap. Location, location, location.
Alkina Lodge is the closest luxury accommodation to the 12 Apostles. It is a peerless blend of elegance, sustainability and convenience. Hunker-down or get out and explore – you decide. If you demand top-shelf indulgence and luxury you won’t be disappointed however if you aspire for it you will be simply blown away. Staying only one night will leave you craving more. A two night stay or more will allow the Alkina Lodge experience to truly infuse into body, soul and mind.
- Alkina Lodge can be reached in 2.5 – 3 hours drive from Melbourne
- Prices start from $595 per night for two people^.
- To learn more or book visit their website.
- It is also possible to walk a section of the Great Ocean Walk (Princetown – 12 Apostles) with a vehicle transfer provided. Contact management for more details. This would be an amazing experience.
- For all you Foodies Alkina also serves as a great base to explore the Otway Harvest Food Trail
All landscape photography ©Thirty Summers. Property imagery supplied. ^Prices correct as at 21 Nov, 2017. Please note that I stayed as a guest of Alkina Lodge. All views and opinions expressed are my own without influence.