After many years working in the travel industry James and Hayley Baillie founded Baillie Lodges in 2003, setting a new benchmark for premium, experiential travel in Australia.
James was the founding Managing Director of P&O Australian Resorts, and Hayley created nature and adventure experiences for guests on board one of the world's best expedition cruise ships. Together, they saw an opportunity to develop a new level of luxury accommodation in places that held unique, natural significance to Australian's.
Their first property, Capella Lodge on World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island is a much-loved ‘barefoot luxury’ retreat where fresh cuisine and first-name service combine in a subtropical escape.
Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island followed in 2008. This multi-award winning and globally renowned property sits in a dramatic coastal location and is renowned for its fine regional cuisine and guided interpretive adventures, including walking amongst the Australian Sea Lions at Seal Bay and exploring the Remarkable Rocks in Flinder’s Chase National Park.
Most recently, iconic outback ‘glamping’ property Longitude 131° was brought into the Baillie Lodges collection in 2013. The unique tented ‘campsite’ overlooks fabled outback icon Uluru amid the timeless desert of Central Australia. The retreat offers immersion in the dual World Heritage-listed Uluru Kata Tjuta wilderness in the purest sense.
Here they share their love of Lord Howe Island and why, when not working, she and James love to spend quality vacation time there with their four young sons.
Where do you like to go? We love holidaying on Lord Howe Island as it ticks all the boxes for our family.
Whey do you love this spot so much? The landscape is pristine with amazing hikes and white-sanded beaches to explore. Our boys love surfing and underwater pursuits like snorkelling and scuba diving and the world’s southern-most coral reef is home to a rich marine ecology including sub-tropical fish, turtles and a kaleidoscope of corals, with exceptional water clarity, calm lagoons and great waves on its surf beaches.
Where do you stay and why? Capella Lodge – the only accommodation on the island with spectacular views of Mt Gower and Lidgbird, perfectly situated at the private northern end of the island, close to some spectacular walking trails and private beaches.
Where to you like to dine? We love the contemporary Australian cuisine created by Chef Pete Smit and served at Capella Lodge, especially the locally-caught kingfish. The boys love fishing and there is nothing better than eating freshly-caught snapper served sashimi-style, looking out over the sunset in the restaurant.
We also love heading to the ‘fish fry’ at the Lord Howe Island Golf Club where they do the best fresh-caught King Fish in a light beer batter – with chips – and we always stop off at The Anchorage for ice-cream in the afternoon on our way home from the beach.
What activities do you enjoy most that other families with young children would enjoy? We love adventures the involve water – fishing off the jetty, heading out in the glass bottom boat to explore the reef, taking a BBQ lunch over to North Bay for the day, relaxing on Ned’s beach feeding the giant kingfish and snorkelling straight from the beach. The boys love being able to ride their bikes all over the island with complete freedom. It is a very safe place with a speed limit of only 25km/h and very few cars so we can be relaxed about them riding on the roads. It’s a return to that boundless freedom of childhood that we all cherish.
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Baillie Lodges has unveiled plans for the multi-million dollar enhancement of its acclaimed desert retreat Longitude 131° at Uluru (Ayers Rock), including the addition of a spectacular new premium suite and the property’s first dedicated spa. Read all about it here