7 quirky places to stay in Queensland
Let’s be honest, quirkiness is an attribute not often highly sought after when booking accommodation. The bare necessities usually factor much higher in the ‘must-have’ column for finding places to stay.
But in our newfound age of trendy travel experiences, quirky, unusual and extreme are the new ‘breakfast included’, ‘late check-out’ and ‘free Wi-Fi’ of holiday accommodation. And when it comes to being different, Queensland puts the ‘q’ into quirky with a plethora of unexpected and distinctive places to stay.
From sleeping smack-bang on the Great Barrier Reef to cosying up in an igloo bunker or dozing above ancient volcanic lava holes, here at 7 quirky places to stay in Queensland.
When the Cainozoic Era came to stay – it’s the era we’re rocking right now, FYI – it brought along with it the geological formations that comprise the modern-day Undara Experience lava tubes. How the lava tubes were formed is a downright cool story (and they are well worth exploring), but if you want to sleep atop them, you can do that too.
The collection of restored turn-of-the-century carriages are set along the original Cobb & Co. coach road and are available in queen, double and twin.
Where: Undara Volcanic Park, Savannah Way
Ph: 07 4097 1900
Takarakka Bush Resort
No trip through Queensland is complete without a stay in a bush resort, so Carnarvon Gorge’s Takarakka Bush Resort ticks that box handily.
Accommodation ranges from ensuited safari tents to self-contained cottages and studio apartments, but the ensuite configuration is where Takarakka fulfills the unusual brief. Constructed from a cylindrical corrugated-iron water tank with a resin floor, one-half of the tank is home to the toilet and the other home to the shower.
Where: O’Briens Road, Carnarvon Gorge
Ph: 07 4984 4535
Sunlover by Starlight
This is sleeping with the fishes minus The Godfather overtones but with plenty of once-in-a-lifetime quirks.
Roll a swag out under the stars as you float above the Great Barrier Reef’s kaleidoscope of aquatic life below. Perched on the Moore Reef Pontoon, 40km off the coast of Cairns – which by day is a fun-filled aquatic playground – the Sunlover by Starlight sleep-out is accommodation bucket-list fodder.
Where: Moore Reef Pontoon, Cairns
Ph: 1800 810 512
Old Church B&B
Say your prays and head to the Old Church B&B in Boonah for a memorable stay in this historical place of worship. Sitting in the heart of Queensland’s stunning Scenic Rim, this old church dates back to 1874 imbuing the modern makeover with a generous helping of character and old world charm.
There are plenty of activities to busy yourself with during the day (think sourdough baking, wine and walking tours, and joy flights) before retiring to your holy quarters. Amen to that!
Where: 438 Milford Road, Milford
Ph: 0415 119 817
Gilberton Outback Retreat
If the sound of sleeping in a tin shed without walls, in the middle of the outback, sounds like something best left to the Croc-Dundee wannabes of the world, then you need to check out Gilberton Outback Retreat.
Upping the ante on the classic Australian structure these luxe rooms are an outback bliss hunter’s dream. Get your beauty sleep, under a mozzie net, after soaking in the luxurious bathtub with panoramic views out over the Gilbert River.
Where: On the banks of the Gilbert River. If you are driving on the Kennedy Highway take the Oak Park turnoff and from there you only have 118km.
Ph: 07 4062 5329
Robinson Crusoe, eat your heart out. At first glance, Pelorus Island may seem like it’s all Survivor-style roughing it, but stay a night on this Great Barrier Reef beauty and you’ll fall instantly in love.
On the pebbly beach, smoothed by the gentlest of warm sea breezes, is where you’ll lay your camp stretcher and swag beneath a brilliantly bedazzled night sky. It won’t take long for you to fall asleep to the sound of lapping waves and swaying palms. It’s all your island vibes dreams come true.
Where: Access to Pelorus Island, off the coast of Townsville, is via private boat or on this camp and dive safari with Remote Area Dive.
Low on actual possums, high on quirk factor, Possum Park in Miles was once home to a top secret bomb store designed to keep the enemies at bay.
With a set of underground bunkers, restored troop trains and an igloo (yes, you read right) converted to sleeping quarters, Possum Park (340kms west of Brisbane) is well worth every minute on the road.
Where: 36865 Leichhardt Hwy, Miles
Ph: 07 4627 1651
What’s the quirkiest place you’ve stayed at in Queensland?
*This post was first published in 2016 and updated in June 2018.