The mention of a tropical holiday instantly conjures visions of white beaches, ice cold margaritas and gracefully swaying palm trees, but the reality is very different – that is, if you’re willing to explore deep into the Daintree Rainforest of Far North Queensland.
Terry and Cathy Maloney did just that, and opened the Daintree Eco Lodge in a lush rainforest valley just 40 minutes north of Port Douglas. “From the beginning we realised the rainforest valley setting – with its own waterfall and water supply, ancient plants (some of which date back to the pre-jurassic era) and an abundance of wildlife – was special,” says Cathy.
“The property is indeed a very significant site for the local Kuku Yalanji rainforest Aboriginal people due to the abundance of food, medicinal and lifestyle plants, and a multitude of superfine ochres,” she says.
The Eco Lodge was designed and constructed under WWF world guidelines, to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding rainforest. Large trees were tied back, says Cathy, and small plants relocated. The buildings themselves – in particular the guest villas – were designed to captialise on the valley’s micro-climate.
“The villas have pitched roofs, with minimal guttering to ensure rainwater reaches the rainforest floor. Buildings are positioned strategically through the valley to give privacy and different outlooks across the rainforest canopy.”
Immersive in style, each villa has a micro-screened balcony, opening the living spaces up to the sounds, smells, and rare sights of the surrounding rainforest.
Capturing those medicinal and lifestyle elements of the area is the adjoining Daintree Wellness Spa, which has won numerous international and national awards.
“With the approval of the kuku Yalanji elders, our spa treatments integrate the wisdom of cultures, medicines, spirituality and healing. The experiences are in harmony with nature, in the essence of nurture, in respect of culture,” says Cathy.
The Eco Lodge also produces an organic body range called Daintree Essentials, incorporating native plants, organic oils, nuts, seeds and superfine ochres, some of which can also be found in the cuisine of the Lodge’s Julaymba Restaurant.
Truly a unique escape, the Eco Lodge transports you into another realm, where the mobile is switched off, the traffic is non-existent and the only things dictating your day are rainfall, sunset, dinner time and spa time.
Daintree Eco Lodge