The first time I'd heard of O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat was on the radio while driving to work. Soon after, I was able to snatch up a discount voucher for two nights in their Mountain View Room.
We'd just bought our first house and I wanted to surprise my now husband before we move in. He later told me that he'd decided to propose when we were at O'Reilly's, so I'd definitely done the right thing.
The multi-award-winning O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat is situated on the western border of World Heritage listed Lamington Nation Park, which is about 2 hours drive south west of Brisbane in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Being 930 metres above sea level, O'Reilly's boasts breathtaking views across the Kerry Valley over the McPherson Ranges and Great Dividing Range. The retreat has been run by the O'Reilly's family for over 90 years and even today, you will see members of the family still on hand welcoming guests.
We set off for O'Reilly's one Friday evening, and it took us almost three hours to get there as we hit the Friday afternoon traffic. It didn't bother us much at all, because we were really looking forward to our getaway. We got there in time for dinner. We walked in the reception and thought wow! It had such a homey feel to it. Perhaps it was the timber interior, but the receptionist definitely made us feel comfortable and welcoming.
We checked in, dropped our bags off into our room and headed to the Dining Room for dinner. We wanted hearty meals and we got hearty meals paired up with O'Reilly's very own wines. It was perfect. It felt like we were eating at home, except we had our very own chefs and butlers and even though they were quite busy, it didn't affect the exceptional service. It was so good that we dined there again for dinner the next night, as well as breakfast in the mornings. It was the perfect way to start and finish our days.
Elabana Falls, Lamington National Park - Wikimedia Commons
There is definitely an advantage to having Australia's largest stand of sub-tropical rainforest, Lamington National Park, on our doorstep. We started our bushwalking adventure bright and early with the Treetop Walk before the other day trippers arrived. This was a really easy walk, only 800 metres return and we walked 9 suspensions bridges 16 metres above ground, climbed a ladder 30 metres above ground in a fig tree and visited the Botanical Gardens. Picture. After this, we did the 1.3.km Orchid Circuit Walk.
There were so many walking tracks to choose from, but so little time we had. Later in the afternoon, we headed back to our room for an afternoon session of Scrabble which we borrowed from reception. We thought it was great that our room didn't have a TV, which gave us a chance to go out and take advantage of what was around us. After our intense Scrabble session, we went to the Rainforest Bar, where we enjoyed a few drinks while sitting on the verandah watching the breathtaking sunset.
O'Reilly's also offer a few guided tours and we decided to take advantage of the guided evening walk. A small group of us piled into the mini bus, drove for about 10 minutes, walked in the dark for another 10 minutes and bang! We were looking at a wall of glow worms. It was just magical. Glow worms might not interest you, but I'm sure you'll find something that you'll enjoy. They also offer various activities such as interpretive rainforest walks, segway tours, bird watching and feeding and eco rangers kids activities. In addition, you can visit their winery where you can taste various wines, picnic by the creek, or dine in their restaurant. Furthermore, after a day of bushwalking, why not treat yourself at the Lost World Spa.
We were quite sad when we had to leave the next morning. It seemed like our stay was too short because there were so much to do there. It is certainly catered for various people. For us, it was honestly an unforgettable experience. There were so much to do there and we undoubtedly loved it.