We started counting the number of mailboxes made from broken microwave ovens that we passed on the way. It quickly became double digits. The first time we hit the single lane asphalt road towards Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat, we wondered where we were really going. Endless green fields with fattened cows, bordered by weathered farms and thick rainforest. We had planned for a few days break from snorkeling and coastal adventures and had rented one of the Rose Gums Wilderness Retreats tree house in the middle of rainforest in the highlands above Cairns, Queensland.
The GPS had long ago stopped pointing us in the right direction, but when we most needed a helping hand, a road sign appeared. After all, we were on the right track. We turned off onto an even smaller dirt road, passed a few tennis courts and slid into reception in our SUV. With house keys in hand, we eagerly jumped into the car and drove the last short distance to our house in the rainforest.
It had begun to get dark and all the sounds of the jungle increased in strength. There was rustling in the leaves behind the house, but the rustling was more likely to come from a small kangaroo than a large cassowary, so we ignored fear of the animals and instead opened the door to the house and turned on the lights. What a place we have come to! The tall log house welcomed us with open arms, with a lovely fireplace, jacuzzi, two bedrooms, kitchen and a large terrace facing the rainforest.
In the fridge was a basket full of breakfast of local organic products – yoghurt, milk, bacon, juice, eggs, cereal and tea from Nerada. A perfect basket for a mammoth breakfast at sunrise. The house was far from the next neighbor and even though I knew we were not far from the reception, the feeling was that we were all alone in the rainforest.
There was a barbecue outside the house and we had bought meat from the butcher in the village next door – local ribeye from grass-fed highland cattle and fresh lamb sausage. In the kitchen we cooked up a potato salad and cracked open a bottle of red. This is the best kind of glamping!
The daughter was supposed to sleep in the upstairs bedroom, but after she discovered that a large spider was living in a web in the window, she slept like a little stamp between us downstairs. If you haven't yet learned to shake your shoes off before putting them on, you'll learn it quickly here. I also had an experience with a spider, this time in the shower. Lucky I can't see well without glasses.
Ever since we were here the first time three years ago, we have wanted to go back. The feeling of waking up in the sunrise together with the king parrots of the rainforest, rainbow lorikeets and tree kangaroos was a memory of a lifetime. The mist evaporating from the rainforest to the first rays of the sun and the parrots screeching and screeching their hoarse morning voices. A wilderness experience in luxury packaging. So we couldn't help it.
We went back this summer for two more nights. And it was just as good this time. Winter (June) in the Queensland highlands means chilly nights: Houdinis, bonfires and hot coffee and temperate days: Shorts, Houdinis, sandals. And lots of animals. But I will write about them a little later.
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.