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The Tour Specialists Tour Blog

Jul 30

The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted on July 30, 2008 by

Monday, 30 June, 2008

Last weekend I discovered a magical eco-friendly rainforest retreat hidden high in the hills of the Cairns Highlands – The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary.  This is an Australian wilderness eco-retreat like no other.  Nestled amongst an enchanted 100 acre rainforest, The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary provides luxurious and unique holiday accommodation positioned on the edge of a freshwater river.  The one hour journey from Cairns to The Canopy Rainforest Eco-Retreat and Wildlife Sanctuary was delightful.  The Gillies Range provides endless views of tropical rainforest, native Australian bushland, vast ravines and forest-clad valleys.  Once over the Gillies Range, the forest melts away and is replaced by picture-perfect rolling green agricultural paddocks.  The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary is nestled between the quaint country towns of Malanda and Millaa Millaa (roughly an hour west of Cairns), and after weaving our way through narrow country roads and undulating paddocks, we arrived at our destination!

The driveway to The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary is shrouded in tropical rainforest – a good indication of things to come!  We followed the narrow winding track through the pristine forest until we arrived at reception and were greeted by David – the owner (along with wife Sharon) of this spectacular wilderness retreat.  We were warmly welcomed and ushered into the office where he explained certain features of the property.  To our delight he let us know that we would meet a vast variety of the denizens of the forest – pademelons, possums, tree kangaroos, turtles, platypus and a exotic selection of forest birds including the endangered cassowary.  We were then led through the tropical jungle until we arrived at our treehouse – the Cassowary Treehouse.  Each luxurious eco-friendly treehouse is shrouded in ancient forest and nestled on the banks of a crystal clear freshwater creek and is simply the most unique rainforest sanctuary I have ever seen!

Our private timber treehouse was the ultimate in decadent rainforest luxury.  The two storey treehouse impressed us as soon as we entered.  The front of the luxurious treehouse featured wall to floor glass windows, allowing an abundance of natural light to penetrate.  The living area was large and spacious, with comfortable day beds and a wood burning fireplace.  The self contained kitchen was impressive and featured timber benches and state of the art appliances such as a dishwasher, full sized oven, stove and microwave.  Just off the lounge room is the first of two bedrooms which featured a lavish king size bed and quality linen and bedspreads.  The second bedroom was a loft style room on the second level and featured a king size bed and excellent views of the canopy of the forest trees.  Back downstairs was the luxurious bathroom featuring a decadent two person spa bath that hangs suspended over the lush green forest and provides endless tropical views, an exquisite large shower and toilet.  The views from the bathroom were impressive, and we were later to find out that a previous guest had spotted an endangered tree kangaroo while wallowing in the spa bath! 

One of the first things that struck us about our stay at The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary was the excellent attention to detail and the inclusion of life’s little luxurious.  The kitchen is stocked with tea and freshly ground coffee (and coffee plunger) and a range of animal food – bananas for the possums, bird seed and pellets for the turtles.  An oil burner was glowing on our arrival and filled the treehouse with delightful scents.  Slippers and plush bathrobes were provided (with a note indicating we were welcome to take the slippers with us on departure), and bubble bath and hand made rainforest soaps were available to us in the bathroom.  Heated blankets were on each bed, the perfect luxurious inclusion on a Cairns Highland’s winter retreat.  A large hammock was suspended on the timber veranda, as was outdoor dining furniture and a gas barbeque.  After thoroughly exploring our private rainforest sanctuary, we were more excited then ever about spending the entire weekend at the Canopy Rainforest and Wilderness Retreat!

The first thing we did was get the wood burning fireplace lit!  Winter on the Cairns Highlands can be quite cool, and the fireplace provides a beautiful cosy warmth that penetrated the entire treehouse.  There’s no chopping firewood either (much to the delight of my partner Terry!) – all the wood was provided pre-cut for our enjoyment.  We spent the day relaxing infront of the fire, on the veranda and in the sensational spa bath.  One of the most unique features of the rainforest treehouse is that spectacular views of the ancient rainforest are present in every room of the treehouse.  Large louvered windows open onto tropical rainforest that seems alive with the flittering and fluttering of forest birds and butterflies.  While relaxing on the veranda we were visited by many of these feathered forest creatures.  Parrots, honeyeaters, finches and many more birds came to dine from our birdfeeder – and some of the friendlier birds ate straight from our hands.

By early evening we decided to journey into the quaint village of Yungaburra for dinner.  Yunguburra is a 25 minute drive from The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Retreat, and is a heritage listed village that has changed very little since early colonial settlement.  We dined at Nick’s Place, a unique Swiss/Italian Restaurant complete with Yodeller’s Bar.  The meals were huge and exquisite, and the ambiance of Nick’s Place was comfortable and cosy.  After dinner we enjoyed the gorgeous country drive back to our hidden rainforest sanctuary, and the rolling green hills and paddocks were magically illuminated by moonlight.  On arrival back at our treehouse we were thrilled to be greeted by playful possums looking for a late night snack.  The possums greedily devoured our bananas before we retired for our first nights sleep in the heart of the Tropical North Queensland jungle. 

As warm morning sun began penetrating our luxurious treehouse we enjoyed the sounds of the forest coming to life.  Birds began their forest symphony and our two resident scrub turkeys began their busy and bustling nest building below our treehouse.  In the morning we busied ourselves with a trip to the Yungaburra Markets (these markets occur every fourth Saturday of the month) and we stocked up on fresh seasonal produce and a few decadent treats.  The rest of the day was spent exploring the myriad of walking tracks that wind through the ancient tropical rainforest at The Canopy Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary.  The bushwalking tracks were wide and well marked, and led us through the most exquisite rainforest I’ve ever seen.  ‘The Boulders’ bushwalking track was my favorite!  It twists and turns through pristine Australian forest and ends at the banks of the creek.  Turtles are in abundance at this secretive forest location so make sure you’ve bought your turtle food!  After trekking through the forest for the afternoon we decided to head back to our luxurious treehouse for a hot shower and bite to eat. 

Nightfall in the forest is one of the best opportunities to spot some of the more elusive creatures of the forest.  Dusk is the ideal time to spot the tree kangaroos and platypus, and the forest birds seem to be at their busiest just as the sun begins setting.  Each evening at 7:00pm, David – your host at The Canopy Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary, feeds the friendly Pademelons.  We loved seeing these friendly furry creatures enjoying their moonlit snack.  Back in the warmth of our luxurious treehouse we enjoyed our last night infront of the fire with a fine bottle of Australian wine.  The possums arrived at our veranda once again for a late night snack – and we were more than happy to oblige. 

Our last morning at The Canopy Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary was tinged with sadness – we didn’t want to leave!  We enjoyed our breakfast on the large timber veranda and it seemed the gorgeous birds of the forest came to wish us farewell.  After packing the car for our imminent departure we said farewell and thank you to our friendly hosts – David and Sharon.  We loved our stay at The Canopy Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary.  We felt relaxed and rejuvenated by the fresh country air and we encountered an abundance of Australian wildlife in its natural habitat.  We were attracted to The Canopy Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary initially because of its excellent eco-ethos and enchanted 100 acre forest, however once we arrived we discovered so much more – warm hospitality, luxurious accommodation and an intangible extra element that made our stay so magical.  This is the perfect holiday accommodation for couples who want to reconnect, families on a wilderness adventure or anyone who wants to escape the ‘real world’, even if just for a short time.  Thank you once again to David and Sharon for making this wonderful wilderness experience available for us to enjoy….

Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary Information and Bookings

Amy Jennings
The Tour Specialists                       


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