Breathe in Binna Burra… The Gold Coast’s peak rainforest campsite and gateway to The Scenic Rim

WORDS: Paul Guerin - The Feel Good Family PHOTOGRAPHY Paul Guerin and supplied by Binna Burra

The Feel Good Family return to Binna Burra to experience the rebuilt Safari Tents, check out the camping and caravanning options plus activities and enjoy the re-opened Binna Burra Tea-House now open daily.

My heart sank as the evening news announced that the historic Binna Burra Lodge and 42 cabins had been lost to the relentless fire front that had engulfed the property and surrounding Lamington National Park in September 2019. All that was left were memories of this once secluded rainforest escape.

Growing up as a Gold Coast local, Binna Burra Lodge and the Lamington National Park was a favourite destination for my school camps, weekend family getaways and countless bush walks with friends over the years. I knew a return visit with my family now was an important part of the rebirth of this unique and special place.

It’s been just over a year since the fire, and the efforts of hundreds of council and community workers, along with the Binna Burra staff, have achieved an incredibly important step in the journey to rebuild and reopen this historic environmental destination.

Although there is currently a bare site where the original lodge reception, restaurant and log cabin accommodation once stood, Arthur Groom’s cottage, the award-winning Sky Lodges, Rainforest Campsite and Safari Tents, which all survived the blaze, have been refurbished and will play a very important role in the resurrection and future of the original Lodge.

Our ‘Feel Good’ itinerary

Arriving via the rebuilt and truly spectacular $36m Binna Burra road, the journey from the Gold Coast is once again one of Australia’s great scenic drives to what is by far the most accessible of the Lamington National Park mountain resorts. We arrived in time for Sunday lunch and enjoyed a delicious meal at the Tea House. Set high on the mountain top, we soaked up the spectacular views down through the Numinbah Valley towards Hinze Dam and the impressive juxtaposition of the Gold Coast skyline against the Pacific Ocean.

We checked in at the new reception located inside the Tea House that adjoins the main Rainforest Campsite. The campsite offers various options from powered sites for campervans and small to mid-sized caravans and motorhomes to tent sites and a selection of rebuilt Safari Tents with breathtaking views across the Lamington National Park and beyond. We enjoyed the short walk down to our Family Safari Tent which can accommodate up to six guests with twin queen bunks, USB charge points and under bunk lockers where you can secure valuables. The Safari Tents are appropriately furnished and provided the most excitement for our four-year-old son, Jasper.

After offloading our belongings, we spent the afternoon exploring the campgrounds and were impressed to find newly installed bathrooms, laundry facilities, camp kitchen and multiple BBQ areas. Toasting marshmallows at the campground’s communal fire pit capped off a wonderful afternoon and created a new family tradition.

It was wonderful to share the tradition of spending family time at Binna Burra with our son _ a tradition he can continue with his own family one day.

The Tea House opens for a perfectly presented barista coffee and breakfast from 6.30am and is the ideal place to soak in the sunrise that helps make Binna Burra so famous. Open until 6.30pm, you can enjoy lunch and light bites throughout the day, including early evening dinner. The restaurant is fully licensed, with seating also available outside on the lawn for those perfect mountain days.

After breakfast, my wife Katie jumped at the opportunity to join a ‘Mindful Morning’ experience offered through one of the resort’s many experience partners to complement your stay in this World Heritage listed environment. Jasper and I enjoyed being boys and rolling down the large green lawn in front of Groom’s Cottage, while Katie took time out to reflect, be grateful and breathe in the fresh mountain air.

At 3pm, afternoon tea opens from the Bushwalkers Bar at Groom’s Cottage, one of the last remaining heritage buildings nestled perfectly against the lush, sub-tropical rainforest that makes this location so impressive no matter the season. Share plates, selected wines and craft beers are available and it’s the prime waterhole for returning day walkers who have accomplished the natural high of a walk in nature. Lamington National Park offers trails for every level of hiker and includes family friendly 2km walks and the more challenging and spectacular 21km border track walk. With numerous waterfalls, swimming holes and epic lookouts, the natural experience Binna Burra provides is world class.

Having food and beverage options at the Tea House and Groom’s Cottage enabled us to  enjoy the best of both worlds. Katie had prepared a meal plan that allowed us to enjoy both the freedom of not having to worry about some meals and the chance to soak up the enjoyment camp cooking provides the whole family.

The following day we had earned ourselves a slight sleep-in before enjoying an easy family rainforest walk to see the famous BigFoot! With a base width of 8.25m, this 500-year-old Tallowwood tree is an impressive sight to behold, one of many highlights bush walking gives the entire family the opportunity to breathe in as part of the remarkable living classroom Binna Burra creates.

There is nothing more satisfying than exerting some energy in nature followed by a BBQ lunch on the deck of your Safari Tent. We all felt the food coma coming on, so took this gentle persuasion to close our eyes for a very rare afternoon family nap.

Our final experience was to explore the rainforest at night, wildlife spotting on an informative guided tour. From all the nocturnal creatures you would expect to hear and see at night, this tour offered a wonderful blend of entertainment, education and a unique perspective on the different eco-systems that help create such a pristine and unique environment.

New life has sprung from the ashes, bringing with it new growth, new experiences, new visitors and new traditions. The Mountain has been given a chance to breathe and that is exactly what coming here allows you to do. The only thing missing is you.

To be a part of the future of this story, gather your friends and family and reignite an old tradition, or create a new one and escape to this naturally inspiring wonderland.

The Feel Good Family are proud Brand Ambassadors for Apollo Leisure and OZtrail Australia. You can follow The Feel Good Family on their journey around Australia by visiting their website and subscribing to their YouTube Channel.

* SPECIAL OFFER – For the ultimate feel good experience, book a midweek getaway from Sunday to Thursday in any of the accommodation offered to enjoy a 3-night escape for the price of two. Use promotional code: FEELGOOD when booking.