Nestled in 20,000 verdant, sub-tropical hectares of ancient Gondwana rainforest in the Lamington National Park, just behind the Gold Coast, you’ll find the award-winning O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Villas & Lost World Spa. This magical place has beckoned travellers from all over the world since it first opened its doors in 1926. On a serious quest for indulgent “us time” we could think of no better location to spend a two-day romantic sojourn.
ROOM FOR TWO
After a late Friday afternoon check-in at the main retreat, we were directed to an enclave of 48 private, luxurious eco-villas, each offering a rainforest or valley view. With fresh, modern and comfortable decor, a full kitchen and double bedroom with en suite, our villa was a luxurious home away from home. We made a beeline for our balcony (complete with Jacuzzi) to savour the glorious sunset as we enjoyed complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries and sparkling wine.
The retreat’s main dining room is the heart of the resort. Here, guests can indulge in hearty country breakfasts and delicious dinners prepared by the head chef and his team. The O’Reilly’s Mountain Cafe is the place to enjoy lunch, while The Rainforest Bar (open daily from 4pm) serves light dinner and/or pre-dinner drinks.
For something truly spectacular, be sure to pre-arrange a sunset outing to Moonlight Crag: a specially built cantilevered deck overlooking the Lost World and western McPherson Ranges. We looked out, mesmerised, glass of bubbles and camera in hand, as yet another magical sunset took our breath away. It was truly a perfect prelude to the exclusive candlelit degustation dinner that awaited us back at the retreat. We were on a high as we recounted the day while attacking with gusto a delectable assortment of small meals, our favourite being roasted duck-leg confit with herb risotto and citrus glaze. Each dish was paired with a matching wine, and the meal ended with an indulgent chocolate dessert.
COUPLES WILL LOVE
The Lost World Spa... I can think of no better name for this peaceful place after spending two blissful hours there on a rain-misted Saturday morning. A vino-therapy body treatment, followed by a luxurious couple’s relaxation massage dissolved all traces of tension from our stressed bodies. Bliss! The spa menu is extensive and for those serious about getting the most out of their relaxation time at O’Reilly’s, at least one visit is a must. At least one.
If there’s only one wildlife adventure that you undertake during your time here, there are just two words: glow worms. At O’Reilly’s this magical experience involves a short stroll through the bush at night with your guide, to the banks of a creek. Here, you’ll witness a display of living lights that simply has to be seen to be believed. Totally and utterly amazing.
From the Gold Coast or Brisbane you’ll travel through the quaint town of Canungra Valley and soon start your ascent to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, 1,000 metres above. The views are utterly picturesque but the road is winding, with many single lanes, so do take care. On your way up, spare a thought for travellers who once had to travel for two days by horse and cart to get here.
To book your own special time at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Villas & Lost World Spa, visit oreillys.com.au.