In light of the recent news that bushfires have ravaged Australia, the traveling public needs to know that the majority of Australia is unaffected and remains open to the American traveler. These messages of reassurance are consistent from sources within the destination. Local leaders, like the premiere for Queensland, sent a message encouraging tourists not to call off their trips to the country. She said, “There are large parts of the beautiful country that are not affected, for example, in my home state of Queensland, that is twice the size of Texas, we have no dangerous fires. Queensland has more than 4,000 miles of beautiful coastline, tropical islands, and, of course, the Great Barrier Reef.”
North Queensland, Australia, is a destination to experience one of the most incredible trips available. The good news is that the perfect time to travel to this destination is April to September when the weather is dry, and the crowds are thin. A visit during the North American summer is when you will completely miss the Christmas crowds and the hot humid weather of the summer down under. Another consideration this time of year is also more affordable! Why not consider North Queensland, Australia, for your trip this summer?
The city of Cairns (pronounced by the locals as “Cans”) is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. It is also a perfect place to fly into the region from larger gateways like Sydney or Melbourne.
Start your stay in Cairns at Silky Oaks Lodge, a luxury boutique accommodation that sits atop the banks of the gently flowing Mossman River. With just 40 private and stylish tree houses, the lodge offers activities including river snorkeling, biking, and guided walks. Get your “Zen” on by pre-arranging a visit to the Healing Waters Spa, which offers luxurious spa treatments amidst the backdrop of the tranquil surroundings.
Image courtesy of Silky Oaks Image Library
Modern Australian Cuisine is served to overlook the Mossman River at the open-air Treehouse Restaurant. Tropical produce, seasonal ingredients and fish from local line fishermen are offered at each meal to the discerning guest. While in Australia, why not try crocodile or kangaroo served with fresh local seasonings?
The treehouse units at the Silky Oaks Lodge are situated on walkways that meander easily through the property, allowing privacy and refuge. Whether you are there as a couple or family, the unique accommodations will be noteworthy! Children 10 and over are welcome and will love the activities and discovery of the surroundings.
Silky Oaks Lodge neighbors the World Heritage-listed wilderness of the Daintree National Park. https://daintreerainforest.net.au/, The Daintree Forest, is the oldest rainforest on the planet. You can access several types of tours to the wilderness with local experts that will explain its biodiversity and evolutionary development over 180 million years. The beauty of the pristine rainforest has to be experienced from the inside; it cannot be seen from the outside or on the edge of a road.
Upon entering the park, one’s senses will be on overload as they experience the indigenous fauna, flora, and panoramic forest. There is no photographic substitute for the real thing, as the camera cannot capture the sight along with the sounds, smells, and emersion into the environment.
After a morning of discovery in the rainforest, travel overland to the Wildlife Habitat of Port Douglas. Boutique Travel Advisors can pre-arrange exclusive private access, to the koala and wallaby enclosures where a guest can hold a koala in their arms.
On another day and with special arrangements, you can have an unforgettable day learning at the Botanical Ark. A special Chef’s Table lunch can be pre-arranged for the discriminating guest to meet and dine with a modern-day “Moses.” This Moses is saving the world’s rainforests, one seed at a time.
Alan Carle and his wife, Susan, co-founded the Botanical Ark over 40 years ago. On their 30 acre property, they have dedicated their lives to recreating the major rainforests of the world. They have lived with over 50 indigenous tribes in the globe’s rainforests to learn their secrets and utilization of the local plants. Alan has also been granted permission by the Australian government to bring those seeds back into Australia to grow at the Botanical Ark. This is no small bureaucratic feat!
In one afternoon, you can experience the diverse flora of the Amazon, Central American, African, and Southern Asian Rainforests. Guests will learn how interconnected and dependent humans are on the rainforest for foods, spices, medicine, cosmetics, dyes, oils, and shelter. The Botanical Ark demonstrates the most unusual and exciting connections we have with the flora of the rainforests. Visitors are never the same after visiting as it is not every day you meet people living out great passions.
After a 3-4 day stays exploring the mainland, it is time to explore one the of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World…the Great Barrier Reef!
This is a picture taken from the plane flying to Lizard Island.
A vacation to North Queensland wouldn’t be complete without popping over to the Great Barrier Reef! From Cairns, you can fly to Lizard Island on the resort’s chartered plane that services scheduled flights twice a day. The flight is an hour with breathtaking views of the water below. Then you land on a narrow airstrip that seems to have been carved between two mountains. For a brief moment upon arrival, you feel as though you have stepped into an episode of Fantasy Island and half-heartedly expect Tattoo to ring the bell and shout, “The plane! The Plane!”
In modern times, Lizard Island is known for the ultra-luxury resort that has adopted its name. You might expect that a lot of large lizards do live on the island. But, in the past, Lizard Island was regarded as a sacred place by the Aboriginal people on the mainland. They used it for the initiation of young men into manhood.
Lizard Island offers a guest a true sabbatical from civilization. The island boasts 24 powdery white private beaches that you can be dropped off by boat with a gourmet picnic, a book, and a beach chair. The recipe for a perfect afternoon!
There are several guided tours that you can travel to the inner or outer reefs to scuba dive or snorkel. Other activities include fishing, paddle boarding, sea kayaking, and access to your private motorized dinghy. There are guided, and self-guided nature walks, and for a beautiful sunset, why not challenge yourself to hike to the top of Cook’s Look for a panoramic view of the island.
For the conservation enthusiasts, guests at the resort can visit the Lizard Island Research Station that is dedicated to the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef. The station has been open since 1973 and has made contributions to over 1,200 scientific studies of preserving the Great Barrier Reef.
After a few hours of rejuvenation at Essentia Day Spa, you will be ready to retire to one of the 40 guest accommodations in the resort. A recommendation would be the Beachfront suite that offers its guests a full uninterrupted view of the beach and Anchor Bay. Guests also have direct access to the beach, day and night.
With large doors and windows, the landscape becomes part of the artwork in a space that is otherwise neutral and calm.
A stay at Lizard Island has many inclusions that come along with its luxury accommodations. The Salt Water Restaurant serves three gourmet meals a day that is sourced from the coastal waters and Australian tropical mainland. There are unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, fine wines, beer, spirits, and sparkling wine served in the restaurant and bars and stocked in your room. Your in-room mini bar is stocked daily, and a deluxe picnic hamper is included for your private beach outings.
Pre-arrange early and have the extremely popular and romantic Degustation Beachside Dining experience that is a private 7-course meal in one of the two beach pavilions on Anchor Bay.
If a visit to Australia is possibly in your future, why not consider spending a week in the Northeastern part of this beautiful country? Visit Silky Oaks and have a Rainforest experience then explore the Great Barrier Reef and the beautiful islands that inhabit the area. Make lifetime memories with a partner, friends, and family and live out your own Fantasy Island episode!
Article Written by Kim Parizek, Luxury Travel Expert with Boutique Travel Advisors