O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

A special place hidden away in the Gold Coast Hinterland is OReilly’s. 

Established in the early 1900s as a family homestead and place people could come to do bushwalks, the history remains very much a part of the land.

The old homestead still exists and host dinners, the reception, the discovery centre, the library (with books, a fireside and piano). 

There is a lot to explore with bird feeding which delights kids as they come and sit on your head, arms, anywhere, very comfortably.  I remember bringing my children here and them loving the bird experience.

There is also a birds of prey experience which runs every day at 1pm. The bird handlers and birds themselves are magnificent. Swooping from behind people in the crowd, eating and landing with incredible accuracy the show is worth seeing and it will leave you with a new perspective and adoration for the hunters of the skies.

From the main guest house there are a myriad of walks. The famous border walk which goes to Binna Burra is currently closed due to bush fires affecting Binna Burra in 2019. There are however many of other extensive walks, you just have to chose how long you want to walk for. 

Waterfalls, creeks, rock formations there is a lot to see. 

One hour, 2 hour, half day and full day walks are all easily to find and well signed. 

For the shorter walks you can get away with sneakers but proper walking gear is a bonus for the longer walks. 

The Tree Top Walk is a must for day trippers and is suitable for children and adults. 

It is hard to describe the enormity and stillness in the rainforest. O’Reilly’s is in the Lamington National Part and is one of the oldest rainforests in Australia. 

The forest is beautiful and soft with bright green leaves sprinkled amongst Australian natives and the fern undergrowth. When one looks up you can see elkhorns, stag horns and crows nests all growing juxtaposed to tree trunks and nestled in branches. 

I love looking up in the rainforest and letting my eyes dance with birds, trees and leaves.

Birds and wildlife are prolific at O’Reilly’s and there are many of animal encounters offered throughout the day and a fantastic way to see Australian wildlife if you aren’t in Australia for long, or if you have children.

Oh and on the subject of kids, if the walks aren’t enough, the birds, there are also two pools, a spa (when covid restrictions are lifted), a kids club, a plane relic, documentaries to watch, and at night there are glow worms.

There are only a handful of options for eating. Guests can order their breakfast or eat in the cafe when it opens. 

Lunch can be purchased at the cafe, or there are many picnic spots and you can BYO.

Dinner is only available to guests in the dining room. 

There is a lot to do here.

Seeing as the drive is around 1hour45mins from the Gold Coast, it can be a long day, or if you stay a welcomed escape. It is only a thirty minute drive from the Gold Coast to Canungra but from there it is approximately an hour mainly due to the single lane, winding road. It can be scary for first timers so take it slowly.

There are a couple of styles of accommodation starting with a basic hotel room. Whilst the interiors are warm, they are pretty basic and small.

There are newer rooms for higher rates but not necessarily worth it if you are mainly here to walk and explore. 

The newish villas are very nicely appointed but book out especially in school holidays. These are the best option if you have children as they can house a large family, including a large deck, BBQ facilities, bedrooms, kitchen etc.

I love O’Reilly’s and will continue to come here as long as I can and hopefully bringing my grandchildren and great grandchildren one day. It’s that sort of place. 

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