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If you like the idea of sleeping under the stars in the Australian bush but don’t want the hassle of pitching your own tent, then maybe you should try ‘glamping’.

While camping is one of the best ways to experience North Queensland’s great outdoors, not everybody enjoys lugging camping equipment around and living without their creature comforts.

If this sounds like you then glamping could be the perfect solution.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]mareeba wetlands[/headline]

jabiru13‘Glamorous Camping’ might sound like an oxymoron but it makes perfect sense at Jabiru Safari Lodge where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature from the comfort of your proper bed and private bathroom.

It is located about an hour west of Cairns in the Atherton Tablelands on a 5,000 acre Wildlife Conservatory Reserve.

It is a small resort that is popular with European bird watchers who come here to spot some of the estimated 220 species of birds as well as to enjoy boat cruises on the wetlands, 4WD wildlife tours and nature walking trails.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]oh why july?[/headline]

jabiru safari lodgeWe recently decided to stay at Jabiru Safari Lodge to celebrate my birthday, which happens to be in July, just about the coldest month of the year in Australia.

Even in the tropical north, it can get chilly in the winter.

As it happened, the weekend we chose to visit turned out to be one of the coldest weekends of the year. We had a lovely stay but it was definitely cold enough that we needed a thick quilt and winter woollies.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]jabiru accommodation[/headline]

glamping fnqJabiru Safari Lodge has fairly minimal accommodation with only three African-style deluxe safari tents and two eco safari tents (the eco tents have limited solar power). But each of them are surrounded by bushland.

The tents all have wooden floors and canvas walls, a double bed and single bed, a semi-outdoor attached ensuite bathroom, a mini fridge and tea and coffee facilities.

There is also a wooden deck out the front with table and chairs which we loved sitting at late in the afternoon, just listening to the birds as we sipped coffee.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]wildlife[/headline]

kangaroo mareeba queensland australiaThe wildlife is one of the drawcards of staying at the Jabiru Safari Lodge. As well as being a bird watcher’s paradise there are also wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, emus, frill-necked lizards and a range of other local wildlife to spot.

Since the best time of day to see the native wildlife is sunrise or sunset, staying overnight obviously has its benefits, including the opportunity to drink a glass of wine while watching the sunset over Clancy’s Lagoon.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]exploring the wetlands[/headline]

mareeba wetlands boat cruiseYou can watch the birds from the deck of the impressive Visitor’s Centre any time of the day but there are also half-hour boat cruises on Clancy’s Lagoon available if you want a closer look.

Named after Clancy of the Overflow, this man-made lagoon receives its water from an overflowing Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Area, and is home to an enormous bird population.

You can even hire a canoe and paddle yourself around the lagoon if you have time.

jabiru safari tourAfter the sunset boat cruise we took a 4WD Wildlife Tour to visit a few other wetland lagoons on the property.

We saw jabirus, wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, plenty of enormous termite mounds, black cockatoos, kookaburras, pelicans, pygmy geese, black swans and a range of other birdlife.

There are also plenty of walking trails but make sure you sign in at the Visitor’s Centre before heading off and take plenty of water and a pair of binoculars with you.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]dining facilities[/headline]

mareeba restaurantsThe Visitor’s Centre has a café so if you feel like coffee and cake, an ice cream or light lunch, then you can sit back on the deck overlooking Clancy’s Lagoon while you enjoy a bite.

Once day visitors have gone home, resort guests are served dinner here on the deck. Meals change nightly depending on the season and dietary requirements of guests.

We had pot pies (chicken or beef) and barramundi fish with a range of salads and vegetables to choose from. Dessert was a delicious lemon soufflé with ice cream and a pot of coffee, perfect to warm us up on a chilly evening.

In the morning we watched the sunrise over the Mareeba Wetlands as we had our first cuppa. It was a wonderful way to start the day.

[headline size=”small” align=”left”]travel nq fast facts:[/headline]

mareeba wetlands queensland

  • Meaning of Jabiru – a jabiru is a large white black-necked stork
  • Jabiru Safari Lodge is located near Mareeba, Queensland.
  • Kids are welcome


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