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The concept

Mount Mulligan Lodge is a sister property to Orpheus Island, one of the bright spots on the Great Barrier Reef’s island line-up. It follows a similar commitment to laid-back luxury. Guests are given an itinerary with daily activities, and even if you add in a few optional extras, there’s plenty of time to soak up the scenery around the main lodge grounds. Get as dusty as you want on an ATV adventure, pick up some binoculars and strike out on a sunrise bird-watching hike, or settle onto a day bed and wait for Chef’s daily batch of ANZAC biscuits to arrive. It’s the outback on your own terms.

First impressions

The lodge is a three-hour drive inland from Cairns. Or arrive by helicopter with Nautilus Aviation Cairns to ensure the adventure started immediately. From the air, the lodge is a lush blip among bushlands, snaking around the small cluster of buildings and glamping tents that house just 28 guests. Whisked from the helipad to the lodge by golf cart, bubbles are waiting for us at our suite.

The Main Pavilion plays homage to the Australian outback shed, with a pitched roof and iron bark beams salvaged straight from Sydney’s old Pyrmont Bay Wharf. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors are thrown wide so we can bask in the fresh breeze at breakfast or look up at the stars during dinner. And the guest bar is self-serve, always open, and included in the room rate.

 

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