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Ten Luxury Stays in Tropical North Queensland Where You'll Wake up Immersed in Paradise

Ever wanted to sleep in a tropical rainforest or see the ocean from your bed? Now's your chance.
By Courtney Ammenhauser
October 18, 2021
By Courtney Ammenhauser
October 18, 2021

in partnership with

To say 2021 was a massive year is a bit of an understatement. But with the the new year in full swing, it's officially time to let go of the trials that last year brought and start afresh with a relaxing holiday. If you, like us, are keen to extend your summer this year, consider locking in a trip to Tropical North Queensland to enjoy some much-needed time in this balmy paradise.

From private island retreats wreathed in the Great Barrier Reef to secluded treehouses poised in World Heritage-listed rainforest, we've uncovered ten luxury stays to check out. These spots are not only champions of ecotourism, with initiatives like water recycling and single-use plastic and amenities bans evident across most properties, but will also tick the box if you want to wake up immersed in nature.


Tourism Tropical North Queensland


If you're looking for somewhere to truly disappear to, put Bedarra Island at the top of your list. The secluded tropical haven is part of the Family Islands National Park, approximately two hours drive south of Cairns. To get to the island, you can take a helicopter transfer from Cairns Airport or a 30-minute boat ride across the Coral Sea from the idyllic coastal village, Mission Beach. With just 11 private villas on the island (all with ocean views), Bedarra is ideal for travellers looking for secluded, laidback luxury. The island is totally off-grid and uses solar power for energy.

The best part? It's an all-inclusive experience. Here, you'll have unlimited access to snorkelling gear, sea kayaks, motorised dinghies, stand-up paddleboards, tennis equipment and stunning rainforest walks. Plus, all your meals, snacks, cocktails and celebratory champagne will be organised for you. Want to take a gourmet picnic on your personal dinghy to a deserted island? How about enjoying a candlelit dinner on your private deck? At Bedarra, you can have both.


Tourism Tropical North Queensland


If you've ever wondered what it's like to live in a treehouse, just like Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle, Silky Oaks Lodge in Mossman is the place to bring that foliage fantasy to life. Wedged between the breathtaking Daintree Rainforest and peaceful Mossman River, Silky Oaks Lodge has six treehouse-inspired stays to choose from so you can sleep among the treetops of the tropics.

Each accomodation option has been designed to embrace the property's natural surrounds and will indulge your senses in the lush rainforest when it comes alive in autumn. If you want to wash off under an outdoor shower, wake up to floor-to-ceiling rainforest views and relax in a bath on your very own private deck while overlooking a cascading river, look sharp to Silky Oaks Lodge.



If spending your holiday lazing opposite a palm tree-lined beach sounds like something you have to go overseas to do, guess again. The Reef House Boutique Hotel and Spa is an award-winning luxury beachfront stay in Palm Cove where you can experience that balmy (and palmy) escape without needing to dig out your now dusty passport.

Your stay here includes a drink on arrival, complimentary twilight refreshments, poolside cocktail service and access to the fully stocked Honesty Bar where you can help yourself to your favourite drinks. The adults-only retreat also offers cocktail classes, wine tasting, beachfront yoga, a tranquility pool, jacuzzi, day spa, unlimited bicycle use and a library to keep you occupied in case you get tired of oscillating between the pool and the impressive Reef House Restaurant.


Tourism Tropical North Queensland


If you're planning a tropical holiday with a group, look no further than The Canopy Treehouses. Set on a lush 100-acre property, this place is ideal if you want to steer clear of other holidaymakers as you venture — quite literally — off the beaten track.

The two-bedroom Riverfront Treehouses sleep six guests and, as the name suggests, are built on the banks of the river surrounded by ancient rainforest. Or, if you're after something a little larger, the three-bedroom Bower House can accommodate up to eight guests and overlooks the rollings hills of the Atherton Tablelands. Both are fully self-contained and come equipped with barbecue facilities, spa baths and, most importantly, rainforest views.


Tourism Tropical North Queensland


If you want to see the Great Barrier Reef without spending hours on a boat, Lizard Island Resort is the ideal place to base yourself. This luxury lodge is quite literally surrounded by the reef meaning you can roll out of bed and right into one of the world's natural wonders in minutes. But it's not just its proximity to the reef that lures people to the island.

The all-inclusive accomodation helps take the guesswork out of holiday planning with meals, drinks, snorkelling gear, paddleboards, sea kayaks and more included in your stay. The toughest choice you'll make during your trip will be deciding which of the opulent day spa treatments will make you feel the most relaxed. If you do want to explore a little further, the resort has an on-site naturalist that hosts guided walks to share the island's cultural heritage, particularly that of the Traditional Land Owners, Jiogurru of the Dingaal Aboriginal people.


Tourism Tropical North Queensland


If you want floor-to-ceiling ocean views at a centrally located hotel, Crystalbrook Riley is for you. This five-star luxury resort is perched on the Cairns Esplanade, placing you within walking distance of many of the tour operators, restaurants and bars that Cairns has to offer.

For a picturesque waterfront wake up, check in to a Panoramic Sea room or Riley's Suite and you'll awaken to uninterrupted views of the Coral Sea and beyond. There's a lush pool that wraps around the entire resort, a day spa to destress at and two in-house restaurants to try — Paper Crane and rooftop bar Rocco. The resort makes an effort to reduce food miles by sourcing 80 percent of ingredients from within a 3.5-hour radius of Cairns, including all of its beef products which come from Crystalbrook's own 85,000-acre cattle station.


Wilson Archer


When you think of Tropical North Queensland, the outback probably doesn't come to mind. But if you drive 160 kilometres northwest of Cairns to Mt Mulligan Lodge, that's exactly what you'll find. As the name suggests, this boutique accomodation overlooks the immense tabletop mountain that is Mount Mulligan.

Here, you can experience an all-inclusive luxury outback stay featuring hikes, all-terrain vehicle adventures, barramundi fishing, stargazing and more. The sprawling 28,000-hectare property ensures all 20 guests it can accommodate have ample privacy during their stay. Plus, each guest room gets a buggy to buzz around the property on, so you can get from your bed to sunset drinks at the bar with ease. Mt Mulligan Lodge has lots of worthy initiatives in place, too, from a waste minimisation program to a partnership with Ganbina to help local Indigenous students secure employment after school.



Port Douglas is a favourite for folks travelling to Tropical North Queensland. If you want to find out what all the fuss is about, take a scenic one-hour drive north of Cairns and stay at Niramaya Villas and Spa to experience the laidback coastal town for yourself.

This luxury accommodation features a number of rooms that vary in size from couple-friendly one-bedroom villas to much larger options that can cater to groups of ten. Regardless of the size you need, the soaring ceilings will make you feel like rainforest royalty. Throughout the property, you'll have access to a fully equipped gym, day spa, tennis court, bike hire, saunas, pools and a restaurant and bar to keep you refreshed.


Liam Brennan, Tourism and Events Queensland


Situated in the heart of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest, about 90 minutes north of Cairns, is Daintree Ecolodge — boutique accommodation with just 15 bayans (treehouses) perched beneath lush tropical canopies. For the adventurous traveller, this secluded rainforest retreat has its own dedicated walks and a private waterfall to explore. And for those needing something more relaxing, the on-site bar, swimming pool, wellness spa and rainforest restaurant overlooking the lagoon will provide ample opportunity to unwind and disconnect.

If you want to discover more about the First Nations people in the area — the Kuku Yalanji people — book into the Culturally Curious package which includes your accommodation, a full-day Walkabout Cultural Tour, a Daintree River cruise and more. The property also assists in the reforestation of the area through a partnership with Rainforest Rescue.


Philip Waring, Tourism and Events Queensland


If you're seeking somewhere romantic for your next holiday, check out the couples-only luxury accommodation on offer at Mt Quincan Crater Retreat. Elevated 2500 feet above sea level on the edge of an extinct volcano in the Atherton Tablelands, this award-winning escape boasts breathtaking views that look over the volcanic crater and beyond.

Each treehouse has its own private spa that captures these vistas. and some even have an al fresco shower for you to enjoy under the stars. Plus, there are in-room dining options available for fuss-free cook ups and tailored packages to help you celebrate special occasions.


Ready to book your tropical escape? For more information and to discover more about extending your summer in Tropical North Queensland, visit the website

Image: Lizard Island, Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Published on October 18, 2021 by Courtney Ammenhauser
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