For starters - the road trip there (around 2 hours from Brisbane) spoiled us with gorgeous views of mountains, rainforest and streams.
About half way there, is a public toilet stop across from the Canungra Hotel - it's worth while stopping at as we didn't see any toilet stops further along the road.
The Mountview Alpaca Farm was also a great spot to stop for a rest and get some snacks. We were immediately drawn to the incredible view outside, which has a great seating area to enjoy some beverages.
You're allowed to feed the cute alpacas and it only costs AUD $3 for a packet of food which is for sale inside the shop! The alpacas live right next to the shop and there's no entry fee to see them. We were blessed to see a baby one that had been born just the day before!
Checking in at the retreat was a breeze - the staff were really friendly and helpful. We received a great schedule of exciting activities that the retreat had on offer. Many of the romantic activities were surprisingly affordable.
We stayed in room 33 (one of the Mountain View Rooms) which has a simple but beautiful view of the McPherson mountain ranges. We were pretty happy with our budget room - it seemed to have a little more privacy than some of the other rooms as it was situated on top of an enclosed garage (thus one level up from where people were walking past near the window.)
If you can afford to spend a little more on your accommodation, have a thorough look at the other room options O'Reilly's has on offer - their villas look amazing for example and each one comes with its own outdoor spa bath!
Unlike the villas, our budget room didn't come with a television or air conditioner. Leading up to our romantic escape, the sun was scorching in Brisbane and we thought having only a fan in the room might not be enough but we were lucky with the weather (it wasn't too hot while we were there) and it worked out perfect for us. As for the lack of a television screen - hubby loves watching television but we were so busy enjoying many wonderful activities at O'Reilly's that he hardly missed it! Overall the room we had suited us perfectly.
Affordable romantic things to do at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
1. Glow worm tour - AUD $30 per person
Wondering why we rate a glow worm tour as romantic? It's a night tour and we were absolutely dumbfounded at the clarity of the sky that was filled with stars! We couldn't recall when we had last seen the stars so clearly. So remember to look up during the tour!
Along the path that leads to where the glow worms are, the knowledgeable guide pointed out all sorts of interesting facts about the area. We got to see all sorts of wildlife such as frogs, funnel-web spiders and their nests and more.
The glow worms were of course the highlight of the evening - shining as bright as the stars above.
The guide had us laughing like crazy at his wonderful jokes such as:
"What do you call a group of crows? A murder. What do you call two crows? An attempted murder!" Whahaha!
Tips for this tour: Pack torches or install torch apps on your mobile to use. Apparently the cafe sells torches too though if you forget! Wear closed shoes and bug spray.
2. Flying fox - AUD $35 per person
You may wonder what "flying fox" is exactly! This is how our experience unfolded...
The tour guide drove us to an area in the forest where we got briefed and kitted out with the necessary safety gear for the activity, which included harnesses and a helmet. We then walked up the "Happy Hill" to a great view - it was a bit of a steep walk but not too far. At the top, we found some seats to relax on first before taking the next step. Once we were ready, we lined up to go one by one. When it's your turn, the guide attaches your ropes to a zipline and you have to walk down a wooden slope. At the end of the slope, you walk off, holding your legs up and start sliding down! It can be a bit nerve wrecking at first but it's recommended to let go of the rope that you hold onto and freeing your arms for a better experience. It truly is an amazing feeling as you slide down with incredible views all around you and the wind rushing through you. Another guide is there to assist you with a safe stop at the end.
We considered this adrenaline pumping activity as quite romantic because of the view you get to experience together before sliding down the zip line. I was nervous as hell but we had an absolute blast and can't recommend this activity enough!
3. Marshmallows and hot chocolate around a campfire - $9 per person
We started walking to the lovely campfire that we booked - it looked amazing but unfortunately for us it started raining as we arrived. Instead we sat on some other seats outside that were under cover. It was really lovely, watching the rain come down and smelling the fresh air while sipping on yummy hot chocolate with tasty marshmallows. We really had a lovely, romantic evening despite the rain :) It was a great way to spend some quality time together.
Free romantic activities for couples to enjoy during this romantic getaway
1. Tree top walk
The tree top walk starts across the street from the reception desk. Holding hands while walking through the luscious green scenery, romantic pathways and swinging bridges was absolutely delightful.
And then we found it... a loooong ladder that runs up against a massive tree! It leads to a secluded spot where only 2 or 3 people can enjoy the beautiful view at any one time. It doesn't fit more people than that so be sure to check that someone isn't already up there if you feel brave enough to do it :) The ladder was still wet from the rain so I didn't feel safe to climb up but hubby went and thanks to him, we can confirm that it is a gorgeous hidden gem for couples to enjoy!
Tips: Don't wear your best clothes doing this - the ladder is quite rusty and the rust can rub onto your clothes if the ladder is wet. Also be aware that there will be some spiderwebs on the ladder - it's a very high climb so you will need to keep your calm if you do spot a spidey!
2. Infinity pool
Just a short drive from reception, is O'Reilly's infinity pool - one of the most beautiful, romantic infinity pools we've ever seen. The views of the mountains and rain forest surroundings are just breathtaking. The Lost World Spa is located right behind it. If you don't have the extra money to spend on the wooden hot tub experience that we all dream to have at O'Reilly's (pictured below), don't be sad - the view from the pool looks just as good and it's free to enjoy!
Photo of a section of a banner advertising the dreamy Lost World Spa of O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat.
There are also more gorgeous pools located closer to the reception desk and a viewing deck where you can stand and enjoy the sunset.
What and where to eat
The bar has some unique, romantic seating options and if you are quick you can get the perfect (but popular) spot on the veranda to watch the sunset. A pizza at the bar costs around AUD $30 but we found the portion sizes were so generous, one meal was sufficient for both of us. Sharing made it more affordable. The bar has a Happy Hour too - be sure to ask when that is to save further!
We treated ourselves to the delicious buffet breakfast with a gorgeous view! If you don't want to pay AUD $30 for breakfast,, you can get a pie or sandwich at the cafe instead for cheaper.
If you are able to splurge a little - we highly recommend booking a romantic picnic next to the stream at the O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards. It cost AUD $70 for the two of us and includes a variety of delicious eats to share and a wine tasting!
After enjoying our delicious picnic next to the stream, we took a walk through the gorgeous vineyards. There's a pretty gazebo overlooking the vineyards where you can also choose to have your picnic if you wish.
Our review of O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
We absolutely loved our time at O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat and know you will too! We highly recommend it for a romantic getaway. We were amazed at how relaxed we felt after just 2 nights there - truly a fantastic place to unwind with many unique and romantic extras.
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* Please note that the prices indicated in this blog were the prices we paid at the time we had the experience. Prices are subject to change and may be different at the time of your own experience.
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