While there’s accommodation in Tropical North Queensland to suit every budget, long weekends scream for a need to treat yourself, just a little. And boy is this a place that really serves up the goods. We’re talking actual experiences you’ll be telling people about for years, served in the shape of a resort stay. These hotels and resorts really blend into the wilderness without sacrificing creature comforts, in a way that make them the whole reason to travel.
Why is sleeping in nature so exciting here? Because the wilderness in this part of the world, aka The Daintree Rainforest, just so happens to be the oldest rainforest in the world at 65 million years of age. That’s tens of millions of years older than the Amazon. NBD. As the most famous of the six precincts that make up the Wet Tropics eco-system, and the place with the largest variety of plants and animals on the planet, it’s also been given a UNESCO World Heritage listing. And let’s not forget that this is the only place in the world where one UNESCO World Heritage site meets another, thanks to The Great Barrier Reef being right next door.
These four resorts in and around The Daintree will make you feel like there’s nothing between you and nature, except for the fact you’re super comfortable, obviously.
First up in our line of gorge eco-lodges right in the Daintree is Silky Oaks Lodge. Mossman Gorge is a hugely popular attraction in and of itself, and the lodge sits literally right over the Mossman River. In the middle of this ancient forest. Only about a 20-minute drive from Port Douglas. As if you aren’t packing your bags already.
Spend all day swimming in the natural water holes carved by the river itself. Think freshwater, not salt or chlorine, with bird calls and other forest sounds lulling you into pure relaxation. Be sure to work up a sweat bushwalking through the lush, ancient rainforest first though. Many of the plant species here are millions of years old and deserve your awe.
Then head back to the lodge’s spa, because obviously, you’ve earned a pampering. Or head straight to the lodge’s Treehouse Restaurant sitting high up in the canopy and serving up dishes from fresh, seasonal and tropical ingredients.
Except for your opulent surroundings, it really feels like there’s nothing between you and your own private slice of the rainforest.
Staying in Thala Beach Nature Reserve is an experience in itself. This private headland between Cairns and Port Douglas has the highest level of Advanced Eco Certification possible and is a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World. They have a range of accommodations and restaurants available, plus free tours and activities for guests.
Take advantage of no light pollution to go star-gazing. Take guided tours through the rainforest, and marvel at the huge palm tree fields. To be honest, they’re total Insta goals. Take a short drive to The Daintree, enjoy the private beach and jump on a tour out to Queensland’s other UNESCO World Heritage site, The Great Barrier Reef. Then come back and sleep in luxury,
Because it’s impossible to get enough of the uniqueness that is this World Heritage-listed wonder, Daintree Heritage Lodge is only two hours from Cairns and smack bang in the middle of the Daintree. Smack. Bang. Enjoy your own private cabin and walking tracks right from your front door into nature.
What makes it so unique? The truly stand out tour offered here is the super cool nighttime guided tour. Don’t forget that the Daintree houses literally thousands of species of birds, marsupials, reptiles unique insects and a lot of them only come out after dusk. Really experience the vibrant life by getting out after dark.
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Picture perfect picnic lunch at @daintreeecolodge courtesy of the super talented and inspiring @simonewatts_chef ???????? This was such a blissful experience, relaxing with nourishing foods under the shade of the canopy with birdsongs and rainforest sounds to lull you to sleep. So grateful to have shared this experience with you @photobohemian ???? // #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #exploretnq #daintreeecolodge #daintree #portdouglasdaintree
With only 15 treehouses buried in the canopy of the Daintree, this eco-friendly lodge is cosy, intimate and at one with its surrounds. Right on site, you have a bar, restaurant, and swimming hole. Venture further out into the rainforest or chill out in your bathtub with a cuppa or some champers because why the heck not?
Surely the best way to really soak in these ancient canopies is with good company and fine dining, right in the middle of it – and a short walk back to your room. The lodge’s restaurant, Julaymba, offers 5-course degustation menu featuring dishes inspired by the rainforest you’re sitting in. I dare you not to feel chill after staying here.
Want to know exactly how to plan your long weekend in Far North Queensland? We thought you might, so we made the itinerary of your dreams. You’re welcome. Download it here.Image: Instagram / [@ludovicatoso]