Clarence River Wilderness Lodge is nestled within 4,000 hectares of beautiful bush land, on the banks of the Clarence River, about 3 and a half hours drive South West, from the centre of Brisbane. There are 2 cabins, 4 bushman's huts, and campsites available, and if you want an authentic, but reasonably comfortable bush experience, then this is the place for you. It is isolated so won't suit everyone (no mobile phone reception, or television), but for me, spending time with family away from these distractions, only added to its charm.
My favourite area was near the 'rapids', where we saw families relaxing in large rock pools. We wandered for some distance along the riverbank, and then hopped our way out to a huge slab of rock mid-river, where we sat and rested. Bliss. Written instructions were provided for longer walks, but we would have appreciated some signage too, as we lost the path on the nine kilometre Red Cedar Walk, and had to turn back. This made an enjoyable experience, a little less satisfying. Canoes were located directly in front of the main accommodation area, and were free to use, with about a kilometre of calm water to explore. Fishing is not permitted.
On a previous visit, my partner and I stayed in a bushman's hut, and our experience of sitting up high on its verandah, looking over the river, and as darkness fell, into the night sky, left a lasting impression, and a longing to return. On this trip, we opted for the 4-berth cabin. It had a separate bedroom with double bed, and an ensuite bathroom. A bunk bed was located in the kitchen area. Space was rather limited for 4 adults. However, there was a large covered deck outside with more room to move, and it was here that we ate our meals, sat and talked, enjoyed river views, and played quoits, and other games we'd brought with us. Firewood had been provided, and one evening, we toasted marshmallows in the fire pit, set between the 2 cabins.
Being a wilderness area, facilities were fairly basic. The toilet inside our cabin was meant for occasional use only, with the main toilet being a composting toilet outside. The full-size fridge had no freezer compartment, and was plugged into the only powerpoint available. A gas cooktop with 2 burners was provided for cooking. There were no insect screens on windows, and no lock on the cabin door. Wooden chairs on the deck were okay for sitting, but less comfortable for relaxation purposes. There were no shops nearby to replenish supplies. Water from the tap, came from a waterfall.
Looking from bedroom towards ensuite bathroom and kitchen
I'm glad we travelled to the property during daylight hours, as we encountered some unsealed and quite narrow roads (these slowed our city car down considerably in places), and small road signs that could easily be missed at night. Despite some mishaps during our stay – a bee sting, a tick bite, and bread in the cupboard being nibbled by a mouse, Clarence River Wilderness Lodge remains a firm favourite, and we look forward to our next visit.