It can’t be a coincidence that the town name Tarzali is so similar to Tarzan and evokes images of lush jungles, wild creatures and exotic isolation. Because that’s exactly what we found when we travelled an hour and a half from our home in Cairns and arrived at the secluded Canopy Treehouses just outside of Tarzali on the Atherton Tablelands.
After another dizzying trip up the Gillies (first experienced on our day trip to visit the Herberton Historical Village) we reached our destination in much better time than expected – with lots of daylight to spare. We were met at reception by the host David who had oodles of information for us on the property, the area and what we could see and do over the weekend. Unfortunately Mr 10month old in the back had decided that he had endured quite enough of his car seat and we couldn’t hear the sound of the car engine over his yelling let alone David’s dulcet tones, so our welcome tour was cut a bit short as we hustled into our amazing treehouse. Luckily we were travelling with a friend who had stayed lots of times before who could fill us in on all the finer details.
There are 6 houses in total that make up the 4 star resort – set in 100 acres of ancient rainforest – and our home for the weekend was the Platypus Lodge. Of all the things to forget for the weekend (at least I remembered the kids) I left my camera at home – but with no phone or internet coverage in the resort it was quite a pleasant change to be unshackled from technology for a while. Despite pledging to myself that forgetting my camera was a positive thing, ensuring I’d be living in the moment and not through a lens, I was often found charging up my phone or yelling at our friends to take snap happy moments. There are so many amazing things to see that forgetting a camera is one of the only things I wouldn’t recommend about this weekend! So this is my excuse for not having any shots of the accommodation itself – or the myriad of tropical and exotic birds who would come and feast on the bird food provided in each treehouse. But plenty of images can be seen on their website here.
Our treehouse slept 2 families – there was a king room downstairs and an open loft room above the main lounge. Cots, highchairs and safety gates were all provided making it even easier for us to pack (saying this it looked like we were moving in for a month the amount of stuff we all brought!). There was one large bathroom/toilet off the main lounge with an enormous spa bath big enough to bathe all the kids – it took me until the morning of departure to realise that this was on the front of the house and it probably would have been kinder to any passers by to make sure the blinds were down when taking a shower. Luckily it’s a pretty quiet path.
Joined by another family in the Tree Kangaroo Lodge we spent Friday evening eating and drinking with the birds and possums – and being delighted to spot the resident Cassowary and his two young chicks. Seen so rarely in the wild it was a real privilege to be so close to them – they are truly almost prehistoric in appearance and I think I was more excited than any of the kids. Saturday was a day of exploring – with lots of tracks to roam we chose to visit and hand feed the turtles on the boulder track (watch out for toes/fingers – these guys are snappy!) and went platypus spotting at dusk (no chance of seeing any with 4 toddlers in tow they said – and they were right!) We also joined David for the daily 7pm wallaby feeding and talk – however I think they are used to eating in a much calmer environment than our massive extended family could offer and they stayed quite far back on the other side of the clearing. I imagine that on a standard night with a handful of guests, being surrounded by wallabies (or were they pademelons? too far away to tell) at dusk in the rainforest would be quite awe-inspiring.
The resort was definitely most accommodating and lovely for all our families – as mentioned they provided all the extras we would need and with the full kitchen and laundry facilities in the house it made everything easy. The only trepidation I would have to recommending the resort to families with young children would be that the tracks were quite rugged and steep in places – and we had been warned that stinging trees grew off the marked paths (and not too far off either) which is a massive worry with mad, wandering toddlers. Also I’m pretty sure we ruined the tranquil aspect of the weekend for any couples or guests who had booked the same weekend expecting a peaceful weekend retreat. Sorry about that.
On the way back home we stopped in at Gallo Dairyland – another paradise for a cheese lover such as myself – and it was also brilliant for the little ones as they got to meet and pet loads of farm animals face to face. And eat chocolate.
It was a wonderful weekend away – if you need some R&R set in lush rainforest, hanging out with some of Australia’s best wildlife in unutterably magnificent and peaceful* surroundings then get it booked now.
*Unless you book the same weekend as us