Plenty of places vie for the title of 'most expensive hotel'. One of them, the Park Hyatt in Sydney, is located between the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House with almost unrivalled views of both from many rooms, so you would expect it to cost a bit Ã¢ÂÂ although perhaps the $15,000 per night rate for the premier suite might still come as a surprise.
Until recently, Pretty Beach House lodge, some 100km from Sydney, was regarded as the most expensive place to stay in the entire country, but it has been ravaged by fire and is closed until further notice for repair. Now, its successor is believed to be the Saffire Freycinet on the breathtaking east coast of Tasmania, where regular rooms start at $1,800 per night.
The Saffire has 20 suites, each with sweeping views of the lovely Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountains; all have complete privacy from the neighbouring suites.
The buildings reflect the surrounding environment, especially the sea, with their deliberately organic design. Guests lucky enough to stay here have access to a restaurant and bar that feature the very best of Tasmania's famous food and drink, all produced locally and as fresh as it gets.
Sydney has plenty of places to spend money Ã¢ÂÂ it's one of the world's most expensive cities. But for sheer excess, go to Melbourne and the fabulous Block Arcade. One of the best examples of a 19th-century shopping arcades anywhere in the world, this glass topped and mozaic-floored gem runs between Collins Street, Little Collins and Elizabeth Streets. Built in 1893 it is modelled on the wonderful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. The Block features some extremely expensive and exclusive shops and one of the finest teashops: the windows of the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, and the cakes displayed there, are favourites of photographers as well as well-heeled customers. Next door is the premium chocolatier in Australia Ã¢ÂÂ Haigh's Chocolates. If you can't afford to go in, hang around outside and spot the celebs Ã¢ÂÂ Oprah Winfrey is said to be a regular!
A winter holiday is always special and Australia has some great skiing although it's almost a secret! One of the best resorts is at Mount Buller, a three hour drive from Melbourne in north-east Victoria, in the state's renowned 'High Country'. Here you can find pistes and accommodation to rival and even exceed the finest of Switzerland or Austria and the pick of the hotels is the Hotel Pension Grimus. Located in a total ski in, ski out position right by the lifts and ski school, simply step out the door and you're on your way to a great day's skiing. Not cheap, though Ã¢ÂÂ probably cheaper to fly to Europe!