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Did you know, there’s a hammock hanging between two eucalyptus trees on the bank of Lake Como? True story. This Lake Como does happen to be in Margaret River, not the Italian alps, but hey, it’s a pretty idyllic spot. And a lot closer to home.

Just three and a half hours south of Perth is where you’ll find Olio Bello, home to Australia’s very own ‘Lake Como’. Or so the owners call their man-made lake. With 8,000 olive trees, a fruit orchard and sprawling grounds; throw in a little imagination and this could be Italy. The eucalyptus trees are, however, a giveaway. The hammock is for guests staying on site at the seriously chic glamping tents perched along the banks of this man-made lake. Inside the tents you’ll find an electric fire, queen size bed, full size bathroom, fluffy robes, slippers, and some olive oil and fresh bread. Now that’s bellissimo.

You can’t go to Europe, but you can go to Margaret River. And here are four more reasons why this is one of the most romantic spots for an Aussie honeymoon.

1. Bush bliss
Sunrise has never looked so good – especially as you don’t have to get out of bed. The bedroom of Bina Maya’s luxury villa is tucked into the bushland on the northern edge of Margaret River near Yallingup and the cut out window just beyond the bed has the best view. We stay snuggled up as the sky turns pink, the light filtering through the karri trees. Keep an eye out for a couple of early morning roos on the lawn just past the fire pit. The Villa and The Residence, a larger four bedroom villa, are all about laid back luxury, that lets the outside in. Roll open the doors onto your deck for a breakfast hamper. Book an in-room massage, soak in the deep tub with the generous supply of Yallingup Candles burning. You can even reach for the Sonos system and your favourite Spotify list. Head down to the firepit as dusk falls (marshmallows provided!) and end the night in front of the fire.

Image via Bina Maya

2. Time for wine
One of the country’s best wine regions, Margaret River has certainly earned its stripes, with more than 200 different vineyards and over 90 cellar doors. Chardonnay and Cab Sav are the big players, but you’ll find plenty of varieties to keep you busy. Make a beeline for Domaine Naturaliste, where the sleek cellar door looks straight out at the merlot vines through floor to ceiling windows, and there’s plenty of space to linger over one of their signature charcuterie boards and a wine tasting. Having just been awarded James Halliday’s 2020 Best Value Winery of the Year in the country, Domaine Naturaliste is exactly that. Impeccable wines, ranging from easy to drink to save for a nice dinner are extremely well priced. We walk away with a 2018 Rachis Syrah for $30 that is punching well above its price range and a 2016 Cab Sav for $35 that will impress the socks off our next dinner party guests. Named after Cape Naturaliste, the winery’s location, there’s clearly a love for the region – that shines through on the hearty charcuterie and cheese boards. Local vintage cheddar drizzled in postcode truffle oil honey gets the gold star.

3. Sweet treats
What’s romance without a little sweet indulgence? This time we take a trip to France for soft, traditional French-style nougat at Bettenays Margaret River. With 36 different flavours of nougat on any given day – more if the pastry chef has been experimenting – the team spent years perfecting their recipes. It’s softer than hard Italian nougat, and whenever possible is made with local ingredients. Macadamias from a moreish macadamia and wild berry add crunch to the best strawberries and cream you’ve ever tasted. Pieces of ginger add a bit of a kick to a classic vanilla and almond. Grab a bar of nougat and settle down for an afternoon sweet treat in front of Bettenay’s lake, or go all out and try the matched wine and nougat tasting – five of Bettenay’s own Bordeaux style wines and 5 generous bite sized squares of their nougat.

4. Make something special
Forget cooking classes, at Vasse Virgin, Margaret River’s famous olive oil skincare producer, you can go behind the scenes with the team for a hands on workshop that sets you up for a bit of pampering. Owner Edwina started the company nearly 20 years ago in her kitchen and has since studied in Italy and France. Join her for a Natural Perfumery masterclass to design your own scent – or even a couple’s scent! Now that’s a cute keepsake. We sign up for the DIY Lip Balm Workshop, a fun, 45 minute exercise that feels slightly like going back to school when you sit down in front of a hot plate and beaker. After melting down beeswax, adding in shea butter, Vasse Virgin’s own extra virgin olive oil, some soy lecithin and honey, we each have two pots and a stick of lip balm. Scented with essential oils, the balm certainly smells good. Vasse Virgin is famous in the region for body lotions, hair care, hand cream and hand wash – you’ll find it in restaurants, cellar doors and hotels. Using extra virgin olive oil and 100% natural essential oils, the family owned business is committed to keeping products chemical free.

Images: Lisa Perkovic

Whether you want to curl up by the fire, get crafty or work your way through the region’s wines, Margaret River gives you a little bit of Europe close to home.

Ms Floral Says: The glorious Margaret River is definitely on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this local honeymoon or getaway option with us. Looks like the ideal place to unwind!

About Lisa Perkovic: Lisa has spent the past decade travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines and blogs about all things travel. Her own honeymoon was her pièce de résistance – an epic journey to the Maldives and South Africa. Now she loves nothing more than sharing destinations and tips to help other newlyweds work out how to have the honeymoon of their dreams.

Polka Dot Bride Shop
The Whipper Snapper Distillery interior

Image via Whipper Snapper Distillery

Honeymoons mean different things to different people. For some, it’s about nature – hiking, kayaking, and generally making other people feel bad for being lazy. For others, it’s all about luxury – spas, massages, and getting zen.

Then there’s those who don’t mind a tipple. You know, the couples who will seek out a cheeky whiskey, a gin with a kick, or a rum to make the hairs on your neck stand on end. It’s certainly where Mrs Houndstooth and I find ourselves on the honeymoon list, although we do fancy a bit of luxe thrown in for good measure.

If you’re one of those couples who can appreciate a good drop, or perhaps you’re just looking for something a bit different to do on your honeymoon, I’ve compiled a list of distilleries to add to your list.

And if you’re still in the wedding planning phase, then you might want to consider raiding one of these distilleries to give your wedding guests that little extra something to help celebrate.

I remember attending a wedding and halfway through the night the happy couple cracked out some niche Japanese whiskey and I tell you it absolutely made my evening.

Having said that, I’ve limited the list to Australia because, let’s face it, we might not be visiting any international distilleries any time soon.

Whipper Snapper Distillery (Western Australia)

To kick things off, let’s head west to Whipper Snapper Distillery. The Perth distillery boasts handcrafted whiskies produced with local grains. The distillery features a tasting room, private whiskey experiences and masterclasses, and a bar, of course.

Whipper Snapper co-founder and head distiller Jimmy McKeown started the distillery in 2014 and he tells me its Perth’s “first and only urban distillery” dedicated to creating the “perfect Australian whiskey”.

“We’re passionate about using 100% local West Australian grains and highlighting innovation and sustainability,” Jimmy says.

“The significance of provenance shapes our award-winning whiskies and as a true craft distillery, everything is created on-site in East Perth.

“We also boast a specialty coffee bar, an eclectic tasting room and a team of passionate whiskey lovers.”

Jimmy says the distillery is perfect for honeymooners

“It’s a unique experience that is sure to immerse both into a shared experience learning about whiskey and a great way to kick starting the day.”

And if you’re looking for something special for guests to try at your wedding, you can’t go past the Quinoa Whiskey.

“It’s the only one produced in the world,” Jimmy says.

Sounds good to me!

Image via Whipper Snapper Distillery

Image via Whipper Snapper Distillery

Sullivan’s Cove Whisky Distillery (Tasmania)

The little distillery with the huge reputation. When I headed to Sullivan’s Cove distillery last year, I was surprised at how unassuming this place was, especially given their whiskey’s reputation. Nestled in a quiet industrial area, but surrounded by the natural beauty that Tassie is famous for, this distillery is home to Australia’s most awarded whisky. Their French Oak Single Cask was awarded the World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards. Yes, the world! And the year before, they won the same award for their American Oak Single Cask. Located about 20 minutes-drive from Hobart, the distillery offers tastings at the cellar door and distiller-lead tours of the facility. A tour and tasting will set you back $50 per person. As for a showstopper to choose for your wedding, you can pretty much choose any bottle from the Sullivan’s range and it’s bound to get people talking. The challenge is to get your hands on one – they move fast.

Kangaroo Island Spirits (South Australia)

If you’re looking for the perfect combination of beauty and gin, well, let me introduce you to Kangaroo Island Spirits. Kangaroo Island is famous for its wildlife and culinary delights, especially seafood. On the nature front, we’re talking sea lions and ocean views, and on the culinary side, we’re talking seasonal, boutique and artisan but always local offerings. Kangaroo Island Spirits has been around since 2002, and wouldn’t you know it, it was started by a happily married couple. Jon and Sarah Lark, established the distillery and have deliberately kept it small and focussed, putting the emphasis on the ‘craft’ in craft distillery. In terms of the product, they’re flexible in flavours but the focus remains on juniper – the gin flavour you know and love. They even have a blend your own gin experience. “We’re in it for the characters of the KIS lifestyle, the passion for inclusion and being creative with botanicals. This hands-on, family approach is what being a ‘Craft Distillery’ means to us,” Jon says. The Mulberry Gin has piqued my interest, and would definitely be a talking point among your wedding guests.

Four Pillars Distillery (Victoria)

Four Pillars just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The Healesville distillery (about an hour from Melbourne, located in the famous Yarra Valley), knows what’s up when it comes to distillery experiences. They’ve got masterclasses, gin making sessions and cocktail classes. Four Pillars has been around since 2013 and in 2019 was named the world’s leading gin producer by the International Wine and Spirit Competition. As for a little something to impress your guests at your wedding, you can’t go past the much sought-after Shiraz Gin. The glorious purple colour of the label and liquid within will be enough to get your guests’ attention, but the taste will keep them interested. I’ve experimented with Shiraz gin in a number of different cocktails but if you’re looking for something simple at your wedding you can pretty much just slosh it over some ice with a dash of soda or tonic.

Tamborine Mountain Distillery (Queensland)

It was tempting to just list the Bundaberg Rum Distillery here, after all it’s basically an Australian institution, but for something a bit different or perhaps in addition to your visit to the Bundy distillery, why not try the Tamborine Mountain Distillery. They’ve got a very intriguing variety  – from apricot schnapps to eucalyptus gum leaf vodka. Check out the tasting room and settle in. Make a day of it and travel about an hour south of Brisbane, book a tasting at the distillery and along the way check out a bunch of hobby farms and producers along the way – think avocados, kiwifruits, cheese wine and beer!

Ms Floral Says: So many great distilleries to try and tour on honeymoon! How lucky we are to have these scattered around Australia. 

About Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.

Image: Wilson Archer Photography

The Daintree Rainforest is believed to be over 180 million years old and due to its position right next to the Great Barrier Reef, it is the only place in the world where two UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites meet. Now that is pretty impressive! With a breathtaking landscape and the hustle and bustle of city life behind you, we couldn’t think of a more romantic place to spend your honeymoon.

Now, let’s go and see where you’ll be spending your nights.

About the location

Located in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, 90 minutes north of Cairns you’ll find the Daintree Ecolodge.

Home to the highest concentration of plant and animal species in the world that are rare or threatened with extinction, exploring the Daintree should be on any nature lover’s bucket list.

With 15 eco-friendly treehouses that nestle perfectly into the rainforest, you’ll be completely at one with the landscape.

Image: Wilson Archer Photography

About the accommodation

There are three room choices available, the Rainforest Bayan which of course is our favourite room. Who can go passed a fully enclosed balcony with a bathtub overlooking the scenery?

Image: Simon Shiff Photography

There’s also the Canopy Bayan which, as the name suggests, is perched high in the canopy with uninterrupted views that you can enjoy from a dreamy daybed on the enclosed balcony.

Lastly, the Lagoon Bayan where you will wake to the sounds of the rainforest from your enclosed balcony every morning and overlook the onsite lagoon.

Included in your stay is an a la carte breakfast and the tranquility that comes with no TV or Wi-Fi.

Images: Simon Shiff Photography

Inside the photo

Image: Simon Shiff Photography

There’s so much on offer in this beautiful region if you can tempt yourself away from the beautiful accommodation.

From guided rainforest walks, Daintree river cruises, Great Barrier Reef charters, fishing expeditions, bird watching, visits to Cape Tribulation and Mossman Gorge, if you want to keep busy there’s certainly a huge range of activities to keep you entertained. You can take advantage of these with Daintree Ecolodge package deals that are tailored to you depending on what type of traveller you might be.

Image: Wilson Archer Photography

And if you’re after something a little closer to home, make a day of enjoying the Daintree Wellness Spa where the water from the onsite waterfall and the sounds of the rainforest will send you into total relaxation.

Also loving

You can’t have a perfect escape without the perfect meal to go with it. Daintree Ecolodge is home to Julaymba Restaurant offering a modern, sustainable and seasonal menu celebrating local flavours and native produce. The restaurant offers some of the finest cuisine in the Daintree and can put together gorgeous gourmet picnic hampers for your days out exploring or even arrange a private dining experience for just you and your loved one in the rainforest setting.

Images: Simon Shiff Photography

Ms Floral Says: Oh Queensland, you stunner! I can feel the warmth and tranquility of Daintree Ecolodge oozing through this feature.

About Bec Lawrence: I’m an animal lover, sustainability advocate and natural landscape enthusiast. On a good weekend, you’ll find me hiking with my two adorable beagles and my equally adorable husband.