undara train carriage accommodation

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Quirky & unique accommodation you won’t believe is in the tropics

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TNQ Writer

From the utterly adorable (staying with tree kangaroos anyone?) to the beautifully bizarre, accommodation options in the tropics are anything but your boring bread-and-butter hotel. Pack your bags and check into one of these quirky accommodation spots in Tropical North Queensland.

Undara Experience

All aboard for a good nights sleep

The railway carriages are both comfy and cute

When it comes to finding quirky accommodation in the outback, Undara Experience proves that it isn’t as hard as it steams. Exhibit A, or should we say platform A – is the turn of the century railway carriages that have been cleverly transformed into accommodation – complete with a bedroom, living room and bathroom. These lovely locomotive cabins have proven to be popular and have won Australian Tourism Awards for their uniqueness.

The Old Church

Stay in an old church

This B&B has a quaint loft style interior

Sick of staying at the same old places? Alter your holiday plans and make your way to Mena Creek for a stay at The Old Church, which is just a stone’s throw away from Paronella Park, one of the quirkiest places in the tropics. The church was originally opened in 1958 as the Church of the Sacred Heart but held its last mass just ten years later in 1968. Fast forward over five decades and the church is a quaintly stylish B&B with a loft style bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen and second bedroom. The property’s modern amenities are charmingly juxtaposed with old church features, including stained glass windows.

Lumholtz Lodge

Margit with rescued Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroos

Photo by Jeurgen Freund

Exterior of Lumholtz Lodge

Photo by Jeurgen Freund

Rescued Green Ringtail Possum

Photo by Jeurgen Freund

Wildlife lovers flock to Tropical North Queensland to tick endemic species off their bucket list, but at Lumholtz Lodge they can take it one step further and stay with a wildlife carer in this unique B&B and get involved in their daily routine. If that alone doesn’t tick all your wildlife boxes, over 100 mammal and bird species have been spotted around the property – so a bit of nocturnal spot lighting is a must. Wildlife legend Bob Irwin has stayed there – how’s that for a tick of approval?

Earth Ship

Say ahoy to an off-grid stay in the Daintree

Head to infinity & beyond in this pool

Seas the ultimate quirky stay at EarthShip Daintree, an Airbnb with a funky exterior architecture that lives up to its name. Located at the top of a winding road on the Alexandra Range, this one-bedroom abode is completely off-grid, ensuring it is as green as its vibrant Daintree surroundings. The sweeping rainforest and ocean views can be enjoyed from the cooling plunge pool and roof top lawn, meaning that sundowners are a must.

Mt Quincan Crater Retreat

This treehouse will exceed your childhood dreams

Bathtub views don't get much better than this

Craving a stay on the edge of a volcano? You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to check into Mt Quincan Crater Retreat, which is set on the banks of a dormant volcano. The luxurious pole treehouses are perfect for couples, sprinkled with all the romantic trimmings, including a double spa bath, wood fire and a bucket list worthy outdoor shower with views of the rolling hills.

Talaroo Hot Springs

Indoor meets outdoor

Glamping never looked so good

Camping in the outback is anything but rough and raw at Talaroo Hot Springs. The stylish Eco Tents feature a cosy queen bed, a decking area and a luggage and hanging rack. The tents are the perfect way to refresh and rest following a day of exploring the hot springs, which is one of the only two mound springs in Australia.

Gilberton Outback Retreat

The decor is the definition of rustic luxury

The property is perched on a bluff above the Gilbert River

Rustic luxury awaits at Gilberton Outback Retreat, a private haven perched on a bluff above the Gilbert River. This unique property reflects the rugged beauty of the working cattle station on which it stands, with raw exposed beams, stone wall details, warm fawn-hued interior and an open veranda-style design. The freestanding outdoor bathtub is the cherry on top of this charming accommodation. New bathtub goal unlocked.

Gypsy Wagon – Sweetwater Lodge

Live out your wanderlust dreams in this cute gypsy wagon

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/gypsywagonnorthqueensland

Live out your boho gypsy dreams in the Port Douglas Hinterland in this oh-so-Instagrammable wagon at Sweet Water Lodge. This Romany-style wagon has a queen bed, en suite toilet and basin, kitchenette and veranda. There’s an outdoor shower in the adjacent undercover area, as well as a camping stove, BBQ and fireplace; perfect for those alfresco evenings. Spend your days cooling off in the pristine freshwater swimming holes, spot wildlife including wallabies and birds and explore the rainforest on private walking tracks.

Trinity Beach Dome

Stay in an igloo with a tropical pool

Photo credit Beach Dome No.3 Airbnb

The curved walls make for a snug feel

Photo credit Beach Dome No.3 Airbnb

It doesn’t get much more oxymoronic than staying in an igloo in the tropics, but that’s exactly what awaits you at Trinity Beach’s quirky domes. Adding to this juxtaposition is the fact that the domes are located on the beachfront, just a few steps away from the sandy shore of Trinity Beach. These spherical structures are packed with full kitchen and laundry facilities, a bathroom with bathtub, one bedroom and a flat-screen TV, proving that good things do come in small packages.


The quirky pool is a unique centrepiece

The property is set on a large lake

The middle of the Daintree Rainforest isn’t the first place that comes to mind when someone says “architectural masterpiece” but that’s exactly the case when it comes to Alkira. Quirky and luxurious in equal part, this award-winning property was designed by multi award-winning architect Charles Wright and is off-grid and carbon neutral. A unique stand-out feature of the property is the centrally located swimming pool; the quirky shape is inspired by the silhouette of the head on the “One Pound Jimmy” postage stamp from the 1950s. Six cantilever wings emerge from the centre of the building, each of which offers a private suite for guests.

Hideaway Treehouse

It's hard to believe this quirky treehouse is 10 mins from Cairns CBD

Enjoy sweeping rainforest views on the open veranda

This stunning treehouse may just be 10 minutes from the Cairns CBD, but its tranquil rainforest location will make you feel like you’re staying in the middle of the jungle. With three levels of open plan interior styling including two bedrooms, a living room and a veranda looking out to the lush rainforest, Tarzan goals have never looked so chic.

The Edge

The Edge offers the ultimate pool view

Perched high above the iconic Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas, The Edge combines unsurpassed views with unique and edgy architecture. The house was designed by renowned Australian architect Charles Wright and won Australia’s house of the year in 2015. Stand out features of the property include a 10m heated infinity lap pool, daybed and large master bedroom with walk in his and her wardrobes.

Hitching rail retreat

Take a locomotive adventure, but without all the moving parts with Hitching Rail Retreats. Relax and unwind in a railway cabin converted to a luxurious farm stay escape in the Atherton Tablelands. And if a railway cabin down pique your interest, then opt for one of their glamping tents, coupled with an outdoor bath to really take in your natural surroundings. Nature is right at your doorstep, where you might even be greeted by a curious horse as you step outside.

Your tropical bucket list

Now that your accommodation is sorted, here’s some of the ways you can spend your time in the tropics.

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