“Be careful on your way back to your treehouse,”
Yes, pythons like to sleep at night, and bask in the heat of sunshine in the day. It’s a wonder they have any time left to drop down from the trees and eat any creatures passing by, although they apparently prefer wallabies to people. Still, it does give guests a tingle to think that there are 15-foot pythons hanging around at Rose Gums Resort in the Queensland rainforest.
Rose Gums is a type of tree in Australia, and Rose Gums Resort is the kind of jungle lodge you would definitely want to explore if you even knew that Australia had an ancient rainforest and if you knew where it was located and what was there. Now you do, so off you go. Tell them I sent you.
My treehouse (Cockatoo) was perched over a ravine and Butchers Creek far below, with lush jungle beyond and a great view of steep mountains behind. The cabin boasted a wood burning stove, which I immediately stoked with the stocked firewood, turned down the lights, turned on some soft music and sat down with a cool drink to savour the amazing view. Where was my wife? I thought. Pure romance.
A stove? It’s old in Australia, you inquire? Yes, in June, their summer, its nice and cool. High up in the Tablelands it gets cool most nights anyway. Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat is uniquely situated right beside the World Heritage listed Wooroonooran National Park in the Atherton Tablelands, which is about 100 kilometres west of the town of Cairns in the northeast sector of Australia. As Rose Gums itself has 230 acres of private tropical forests, the lodge can offer its guests “an unforgettable bush experience.” In fact, it proved to me to be the veritable twin of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia where I have visited many times. Only the Aussie rainforest is tropical, not temperate, mate. No bears, but lots of other interesting wildlife.
Over 160 species of birds have been recorded in the Rose Gums rainforest, there’s a platypus that lives in the creek, wild parrots flock to the lodge for a free feed, and with luck you might spot the musky rat kangaroo that feeds behind the main lodge, the smallest kangaroo in the country about the size of a rat. Ask Peta for directions to Nareda Tea Estates, where you might spot tree kangaroos. Yes, some kangaroos live in trees.
There are only nine handcrafted pole and timber treehouses scattered around the 230 acres of Rose Gums, guaranteeing quiet and privacy. And romance. Treehouses boast jacuzzis in the bathrooms, porches with fabulous views, wood burning stoves and plush layouts. It’s perfect for a honeymoon, or an escape from stress and tension, or a group getaway. Then of course there are the musky rat kangaroos to find.
“You like to see strange creatures on your trips?” asked Peta. “Come by after breakfast and we may be able to see the musky.”
Sure enough, after I cooked up a full breakfast of bacon and eggs and toast from the box thoughtfully wrapped and put in my fridge before I arrived, I trudged a few hundred metres down to the main lodge. We fed a musky kangaroo some corn niblets behind the lodge. Kangaroos evidently hail from the possum family, and the musky looks more like a possum that a roo. Anyway, I added the tiny thing to my list of strange creatures I had seen.
Jon and Peta Nott discovered this property in 1994 in their search for a place to live in the rainforest on the cool Cairns Highlands. It did not even have a house on it, the timber had been cut and the ground was rampant with weeds. In co-operation with the Rainforest Reforestation Program over 10,000 mixed native tree species were planted and a further 4,000 trees were planted by Peta and Jon on their own. Living in a high rainfall and warm climate enabled the new trees to thrive and now they have an amazing rainforest of their own.
“Would you like the red or white wine?” Dinner was served in the Leaf lodge a few hundred metres away, a five-minute walk. It was dark going there and even darker walking back, but the food was excellent and the only item missing was someone to share it with. As the kitchen is open only at night for dinner. evidently most meals are cooked in the kitchens in each treehouse.
There are so many day trips in the nearby Atherton Tablelands you may be tempted to leave Rose Gums to explore a few. There are two nearby lakes formed by volcanic activity, several waterfalls, dairy farms and cheese factories, the world’s best coffee house and museum, lava tubes and much more. But you’ll be happy to return at night to Rose Gums, listen to the wind and maybe some rain, and go to sleep dreaming about the platypus that lives down in the creek.
For more information log on to Rose Gums Wilderness Resort at www.rosegums.com.au.