24 March 2020 by Claire Benktander
With its dramatic sandstone cliffs, dense eucalyptus forests and epic waterfalls, Australia’s Blue Mountains are a must-visit on any holiday Down Under. And, from nowhere are they better explored than world-renowned luxury lodge and spa, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. There's everything from fine-dining to indulgent treatments, but go beyond that and you'll discover a whole host of signature experiences, from campfires under the stars to 4WD wildlife safaris, as well as the chance to make a hands-on contribution to the regeneration of the area after the unprecedented 2019-2020 bushfire season.
We all know the effect Australia's bushfire season had on many areas of country. However, the resilience and extraordinary transformation of the Australian bush is more apparent than ever at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. While there is some visible scarring in the surrounding bushland, encouragingly, natural regeneration has already been seen in the affected areas, with native wildlife returning in abundance to the 7,000-acre reserve, from kangaroos to wallabies and wombats. Wolgan Valley has also become a bird refuge, home to record high numbers of previously uncommon bird species, and is home to several ‘Habitat Recovery Areas’ where the resort’s dedicated Field Guides support habitat restoration work and monitor environmental data for the recovery of wildlife and ecosystems.
Kangaroo, Wolgan Valley
As a conservation-focussed resort, the team and guests at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley have, over the years, planted over one million seeds that represent 25 native species, giving guests the unique opportunity to personally contribute to conservation activities and support the Australian landscape. Guests are able to help re-establish habitats through such activities as collecting fallen timber and planting new trees to support the developing ecosystem, which is particularly important for the insects, reptiles and small marsupials who have been impacted by the bushfires.
Guests planting new trees, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Just a two and a half hour drive from Sydney and at the foot of dramatic sandstone cliffs, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley vaunts a setting that is truly unmatched. Freestanding villas are all sprawling wooden decks and private pools with fireplaces, while come evening, expect everything from six-course menus to farm-to-table dining and private bush picnics. And, with the resort occupying just 1% of the 7,000 acre conservancy reserve it sits in, guests are truly surrounded by wildlife-dotted nature trails, ready to be explored on foot, horseback or mountain bike. It all comes to a fitting conclusion with a signature treatment or two in the stylish spa.
One Bedroom Villa Lounge, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
But, what really sets Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley apart is its myriad included, signature and private experiences - find out more below. Why not stay at Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley on our spectacular break from Sydney? You'll sample the best of the area's beaches and natural world, your base three of New South Wales' most spectacular properties.
Picnic deck, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley
Activities and experiences
Nestled in the Greater Blue Mountains, Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley is an ideal place for hiking, and a nature walk through Carne Creek is an included adventure not to be missed. Accompanied by a Field Guide, you'll learn about the valley’s plant and animal resources, alongside excellent opportunities for bird spotting. Or, perhaps head out with the conservation team to learn of the area’s ecology, making a true hands-on contribution to the protection of the region with activities such as tree planting, water quality testing, habitat assessments and wombat surveys.
We’d also recommend an included colonial heritage tour, where a Field Guide will take you through the historic precinct, and don't miss the Stargazing Talk for an insight into the area's visible planets and stars, far from any light pollution. For children, there’s the excellent Wolgan Ranger programme, where young children will get the chance to explore the outdoor environment with an expert guide.
Kangaroo, Wolgan Valley
Full list of included activities
- Stables tour
- Carne Creek Nature Walk
- Conservation activity
- Colonial heritage tour
- Stargazing talk
- Wolgan Rangers programme for kids
Payable signature experiences
Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley’s 'signature experiences' are the key activities that the team feel showcase the area at its very best. Perhaps enjoy a horse ride through the undulating landscapes, heading along river crossings, hills and woodland as you spot such wildlife as kangaroos and wallaroos.
Horses, Wolgan Valley
You could even head out on a wildlife adventure with a Field Guide, where you'll - sundowner in hand - explore the area's native fauna from the comfort of a 4WD touring vehicle at sunset. That’s alongside the resort's signature archery experience and, giving a nod to the resort’s conservation efforts, a nocturnal wildlife spotting tour to spot possums, wombats and owls, wallabies and kangaroos, with proceeds directly given to the wombat research programmes at Western Sydney University.
4WD tour, Wolgan Valley
Full list of signature experiences
- Signature horse trail ride
- Signature wildlife and sundowners tour
- Signature archery session
- Signature nocturnal wildlife spotlighting tour
Payable private experiences
To really make the most of your stay here, opt for a private tour or experience. We particularly recommend the glow worm tunnel hike where you’ll walk through the famed Wollemi National Park, home to threatened and endangered species species, as well as exploring all the national parks on a self-guided adventure. This is also available as a guided or non-guided route on the Donkey Mountain trail, a challenging hike that’ll see you head up to one of the area’s most iconic features, through sandstone canyons and secret slots to reach the top for 360-degree views of the valley.
Donkey Mountain, Wolgan Valley
For something a little less strenuous, there are private 4WD tour vehicle tours on offer, as well as private birdwatching experiences and nighttime adventures, where you'll head out to view the fauna at their most active with infra-red and thermal vision devices, enjoying hot drinks and treats under the starlit sky. Or, perhaps head to your own personal campfire to look through a telescope with your guide. Finally, for a truly personalised exploration of the Wolgan Valley, why not spend an entire day with one of the resort's knowledgeable Field Guides? Participate in any of the activities from the private tours, from horse riding to mountain biking or by luxury 4WD, or a combination of them all, with a gourmet picnic lunch set out in your own remote area of bush.
Stargazing campfire in the Wolgan Valley
Full list of payable experiences
- Private horse trail experience
- Introductory riding skills in arena
- Horsemanship session
- Private archery session
- Guided mountain bike adventure
- Guided glow worm tunnel hike
- Guided hike of the reserve
- National parks self-guided adventure
- Guided Donkey Mountain hike
- 4WD tour of the reserve
- Birdwatching tour
- Aussie adventure campfire – mountain bike, horse ride or bush walk before stopping for a campfire lunch in the bush
- Guided walking tour of Newnes Industrial Ruins – explores a period when heavy industry reigned supreme and many speculators sought their fortune in ‘black gold’ and shale oil; your Field Guide will reveal the stories and features of this historically significant landscape
- Nocturnal wildlife experience
- Stargazing and campfire experience
- Private Field Guide day tour