You have just spent the past few days soaking up the sun during the day and partying through the night and in between checked out the Theme parks that make the itinerary on any trip to the Gold Coast but it is now time to escape, you’re not in any mood to be amongst the crowds anymore, you have had enough of the morning hangovers. You just want peace and quiet but where can that place be. I’ll tell you just here.
Lammington National Park is just over an hours drive from Surfers Paradise, the heart of the Gold Coast. Once arriving the contrasts will hit you instead of the thumping of the DJ’s music you will hear the chirping of the birds. Instead of being surrounded by built up skyscrapers you will be surrounded by the sub tropical rain forests that has been listed as a world heritage site since 1994.
On the plateau of Lammington National park lies O’Reilly’s Guest house which is the only accommodation in the park. O’Reilly’s have been offering guests a place to stay for nearly 100 hundred years. It now features 66 rainforest retreat rooms free of television and telephones and 48 self contained Eco lodges.
O’Reilly’s may have been isolated from the rest of Australia with the National park surrounding it however Bernard O’Reilly became an Australian hero in February 1937 when he found the crash site of a Stinson airplane. He helped rescue two survivors John Proud and Joe Binstead, four other men died in the crash.
Lammington National Park may not be the oldest park in Queensland but it is one of the most significant often being referred to as Queensland’s National Park. If you’re a fan of hiking and waterfalls then you have come to the right place with the park consisting of 160 kilometers in trails and over 500 waterfalls.
We stayed two nights at O’Reilly’s and while the rooms were clean and well maintained you are definitely paying for the convenience of being able to sleep in the National Park, close to the trails.From the room we looked out over the open fields where early in the morning and at dusk you could look out and see the pademelon, a rabbit sized marsupial which has similar features to a kangaroo grazing on the lawn.
At the time our son, Rei was quite young so we couldn’t venture out on the long tracks we however filled the days on shorter trails but still very rewarding. One morning,we ventured out to Moran Falls where the water gushed, plummeting eighty metres to the bottom. The sunlight bounced off the water forming rainbows, we stood and watched as we lost our thought to the rhythmic flow of the water. Another we made our way to The Wishing Tree, which is the tallest tree in the park, we crossed a suspension bridge that crossed over a fern gully, we scrambled up Mick’s Tower a lookout that the rangers use to check for signs of bush fires that Australia is well-known for.
The view from Mick’s lookout
The wishing tree
The most popular in terms of people due to its convenience is the Tree-Top walk which are made up of nine suspension bridges hovering fifteen metres above the ground. We have done a few of these walks in Northern Queensland and Malaysia but never seem to see anything extra even though you are supposed to be closer to the wildlife so we were left a little disappointed.
Tree top walk
During the down time we relaxed in our rooms, soaked in the jacuzzi and spent enjoyable time feeding the rosellas that fly in everyday looking for food.At night with no TV and being in the middle of the forest you may wonder what we were left to do. However O’Reilly’s show documentaries filmed in the park and have tours to the glow worms that really do look like stars twinkling in the sky.
How to get to O’Reilly’s
Unfortunately if you don’t have a car then getting there takes a little organization and becomes a little expensive if you are more than one. There is no public transportation to the park so one must organize with a company that makes day tours to the park to drive you and pick you up when you would like to return to civilization.