LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARKThis UNESCO World Heritage National Park liesat the foot of the McPherson Ranges andstraddles some of Queensland's most impressivelandscapes. Take a bushwalk and you will see animplausible array of ferns and species of orchid.There is an abundance of colourful birdlife, fromthe noisy pitta to the glossy black cockatoosthat flit happily through the towering eucalyptuscanopy. A highlight is an amazing canopy walkthat meanders through the treetops. Make theclimb to the crow's nest and be rewarded with aview of the Green Mountains.O'Reilly's Guesthouse,Lamington National Park The O'Reilly family who own and run this guesthousecombine their passion and knowledge of theirsurroundings with friendly country hospitality.Environmentally friendly, this guesthouse commandsmagnificent views across mountains and valleyspunctuated by waterfalls. Guestrooms range fromthe elegantly simple garden view rooms, with redcedar shutters, to the spectacular suites overlookingthe rainforest. The family takes pride in its excellentnature discovery programme where bushwalks and4WD tours take you through vast rainforest, pastwaterfalls, outlandish ferns and orchid gardens.QUEENSLANDREGION |23FRASER ISLANDFraser Island is known to the Kabi Aborigines asGurri or K'gair, named after a beautiful womanso taken with the earth that she stayed behindafter creation. Possums, dingoes and wallabiesinhabit the island and you will find dugongsfeeding on sea grass, turtles nesting andhumpback whales using Platypus Bay as aplayground. The island is awash with colour;blinding white sands flank the milky turquoiseand inky blue-black lakes, the dense greencentre contrasting wonderfully. Don yourwalking boots and climb the dramatic sanddunes and take a dip in Eli Creek or amblealong Seventy-Five Mile Beach to the eerie ruinsof the 'Maheno' shipwreck. Regular barges sailto the island for those planning on exploring by4WD, or alternatively a fast ferry or a helicopterwill whisk you to the island if you wish to baseyourself at the resort.Kingfisher Bay Resort,Fraser Island Amidst sweeping tree-covered dunes, this resortteeters on the banks of the Great Sandy Strait. Itwould be a crime to miss any of the island's naturalquirks and intriguing history and this environmentalresort provides the chance to uncover the spectacle.An assortment of guestrooms offer something foreveryone; from rooms overlooking native bushland,to two and three bedroom villas with private decksoverlooking the lake. Guided tours on footaccompanied by a ranger, or by 4WD are on offer,to help you experience this island for yourself.O'Reillys Guesthouse, Lamington National ParkRegency bower birdFraser IslandFraser Island
Palm Cove beachTHE TROPICAL NORTHThe Tropical North of Queensland is bordered bythe Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef to theeast and the rainforest mountains that sweepfrom the west. At the heart of this tropicalparadise is the city of Cairns, much more than agateway with its eclectic cuisine making use offresh seafood and tropical fruits and a vibrantnightlife. It struggles, however, to match thenatural beauties on every side. Inland the landrises through virgin rainforest to the elevatedAtherton Tablelands, known as the 'cooltropics': warm and sunny by day, cool and freshby night. To the north a string of shelteredbeaches, backed by tropical rainforest, becomeever more remote and unspoiled as they lead tothe little-visited Cape York Peninsula and finallythe Torres Strait Islands. Running the full lengthof this coastline is the Great Barrier Reef, theworld's largest living structure, alive with thekaleidoscopic colours of corals and fish.24Zanzoo Retreat, Cairns Located twenty minutes from the centre of Cairns,Zanzoo Retreat is one of Queensland's oldestsurviving homes. Amidst lovely gardens, thistraditional 'Queenslander' home has beentransformed into a delightful bed & breakfastcomplete with swimming pool. Large and rambling,there are two lounges, a reading room and a kitchenfor guests to use. The first floor is ringed by a vastbalcony, perfect for breakfast and the six guestbedrooms are beautifully decorated in soft colours.THE NORTHERN BEACHES Less than half an hour from Cairns, Palm Coveand Kewarra Beach offer magnificent ribbons ofpalm-fringed, golden beaches edging the CoralSea with picturesque Double Island and ScoutsHat Island breaking the blue horizon. Palm Coveexudes a genuine, simple tropical appealcomplete with cobbled streets and colonial stylebuildings, whilst Kewarra has a delightfullyrelaxed, yet elegant feel. Take the scenic drivenorth for a further hour and you will discoverPort Douglas with its backdrop of tropicalmountains and one of the region's mostbeautiful beaches: 'Four Mile'. Retaining muchof the original charm of its fishing-village days,the low-rise buildings of the main street ofMacrossan intermingle with the originalarchitecture and are crammed with tiny open-aircafés and restaurants. It has a laid-backatmosphere coupled with a generous touch ofeccentricity. Any one of these places is an idealbase from which to discover the delights of theGreat Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest or theAtherton Tablelands, they also make perfectretreats once you have finished exploring. Zanzoo Retreat, CairnsKewarra Beach ResortKewarra Beach Resort,Kewarra Beach, near Palm CoveHidden within acres of rainforest surrounding a smalllagoon and bordered by a honey-coloured beach,Kewarra offers a perfect escape without having tostray too far off the track. The central lodge hasadopted the style of the Torres Strait Islands, using aspiritual wood 'Gul' from Saibai Island, coupled withIslander artwork. Individual 'Mouds', the islanderword for 'small tropical house', are scattered aroundthe grounds, each one private and spacious. Strollthrough the gardens and encounter butterflies andbirds or saunter along the private beach beforesampling fresh modern cuisine in the KingsRestaurant - the perfect finale to an outdoor day.