Renee Cluff

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The best luxury, romantic escapes within two hours of Cairns


Feeling frazzled and need to get away with your loved one? Or perhaps you're planning a honeymoon, have an anniversary coming up or want to celebrate you're engagement.

In Tropical North Queensland, we have some of the best romantic escapes within a two-hour radius of Cairns, whether they be luxurious resorts at tropical beaches or cosy cottages in the cooler climes of the Tablelands.

They're not all necessarily cheap, but an indulgence certainly worth saving for.

Here's Tropic's list of the best.

NORTH OF CARNS

Silky Oaks Lodge

Finlayvale Road, Mossman

Secluded treehouses perched over the crystal clear Mossman River – locations don’t get much better than this and that’s just the start – everything about this place is five star. Their three night spa and romance package isn’t cheap, but it’s packed full of amazing stuff, including four hours of spa treatments, dinner each evening in different locations plus yoga and guided rainforest walks. And don’t forget the enormous baths and hammocks. It’s just been sold to luxury accommodation brand Baillie Lodges, which has plans to build on the previous owners’ vision.

Price: 3 night spa and romance package: $3,297

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Thala Beach Nature Reserve

5078 Captain Cook Hwy, Oak Beach

Another five star luxury treehouse resort incorporating both the beach and rainforest. It’s set on a private, 145 acre headland between Cairns and Port Douglas and has private access to the northern end of secluded Oak Beach. They also have an outdoor observatory for star gazing. What could be more romantic?

Price: Honeymoon 3 night package - $799

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Mist at Cape Tribulation

94 Nicole Dr, Cape Tribulation

In a tranquil rainforest setting at the foot of Mount Sorrow is the newest luxury boutique accommodation in Cape Tribulation. Each of the three pavilions offers 50 square metres of living space, with luxury bathrooms and king size beds. Play a game of hide and seek to find the two-person hammocks, which are set up in different areas each day, to best capture the rainforest experience. Mist is off-grid, relying on solar power and prides itself on its soft touch on the environment

Price: Around $385/night

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Shantara Resort

27-31 Davidson Street, Port Douglas

Adults only five star boutique-style accommodation, Shantara has style and seclusion, with the added benefit of being in the heart of Port Douglas and its amazing restaurants. It’s really the only reason to leave, because you have a choice of two resort-style swimming pools, both heated over the cooler months, as well as an air conditioned gym and a day spa. Plus, the special Shantara apartment comes with its own courtyard complete with jacuzzi.

Price: Special Shantara Apartment: $740/night

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The Reef House

99 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

Palm Cove’s original hotel, with the main building constructed back in 1958. But the Reef House is more famous for its poolside bar, which operates with an honesty system – you just help yourself. The Verandah King Spa Suite is the pick for a romantic escape – it has a king, four-poster bed and an outdoor entertaining patio with a spa bath and sun lounges.

Price: Verandah King Spa Suite: $400/night

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Trinity Beach Palace

120 Vasey Esplanade, Trinity Beach

Ok - so this one's a bit different. It may be more cost-effective if you’re getting married, want to bring the whole family along, or perhaps share with friends, because you book out an entire luxurious beachfront estate. So luxurious, it’s been called the best beachfront property on Australia’s eastern seaboard. There’s a paramount emphasis on privacy and security and it’s where celebrities stay.

Price: Around $2,500/night

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Kewarra Beach Resort and Spa

80 Kewarra St, Kewarra Beach

You might have been to the popular Beach Shack at this resort, not really aware of the discreetly situated individual bungalows and suites dotting the 33 acres of tropical gardens, which also includes a lagoon. It’s the only private beachfront resort within easy reach of Cairns - which is just a 20 minute drive away.

Price: Rainforest bungalow: $299/night

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CBD

Riley Resort

131-141 The Esplanade, Cairns

Cairns’ newest five-star luxury hotel and a great escape in the heart of the CBD, overlooking the Coral Sea. You don’t really need to leave, though, with three restaurants and a rooftop bar at your doorstep, plus an amazing day spa and HUGE resort-style pool.

Price: Sea Suite – Around $374/night

More: Crystalbrook Collection


Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

35- 41 Wharf St, Cairns

At first, this might seem an odd choice for a romantic escape, because it’s not exactly secluded. But the reviews told us how romantic it was, particularly if the staff know you are celebrating a special occasion. Plus, if you’re looking to do more than lay in bed all day, you can hit the casino, walk 5 minutes to the Cairns marina, or visit the numerous restaurants and shops close by. The presidential suite is HUGE and comes with a double spa bath.

Price: Double presidential suite: $1134/night, deluxe room $324/night

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ISLAND HOPS

Bedarra Island Resort

Off South Mission Beach

A favourite honeymoon destination and ultimate lover’s paradise. Only 16 guests are allowed on the island at any one time, so it’s completely private. Plus, it’s adults only. All rooms have ocean views and balconies. The Point villa looks over beautiful Hernandia Bay and has a large outdoor deck with a private plunge pool, day bed and outdoor shower.

Price: The Point villa: $2390/night

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Fitzroy Island Resort

Off Cairns

At Fitzroy, it’s all about swimming with the turtles. What’s not to love about that!? Plus, the island’s just a 40 minute boat ride from Cairns! Their Romance on the Reef package includes transfers to and from the mainland, suite accommodation for one night, dinner, breakfast and a bottle of bubbly.

Price: Romance on the Reef: $499/night

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ATHERTON TABLELANDS

Mt Quinkan Crater Retreat

Hunt Road, Yungaburra

A couples-only treehouse retreat with amazing sweeping views over the Atherton Tablelands and Mount Quinkan crater. Each pole house comes with a king size bed, comfy sofa lounge, double spa and wood fire, providing the perfect opportunity to snuggle up when it’s cold. Oh, and did we mention you’re highly likely to spot a tree kangaroo?

Price: Two night weekend escape: $369

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Allawah Retreat

355 Marnane Rd, Tolga

Fully self-contained pole home lodges with elevated decks looking through the tree tops to the views towards lake Tinaroo. They have spas, cosy fires and total seclusion. The Rest and Romance package includes breakfast, dinner, port and choccies, a local products gift basket and a bottle of wine.

Price: Rest and Romance 2-night weekend package: $860-$960

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The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses

247 Hogan Road, Tarzali

Here, it seems, it’s all about the wildlife – and there’s an abundance of marsupials, birds and reptiles. Each self-contained two bedroom river-front tree house has complete privacy. They’re filled with locally crafted furniture made from the property’s own rainforest timbers, Weber BBQs, hammocks, double corner spas and wood fireplaces. Aaah.

Price: $319/night, min 2 night stay

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SOUTH OF CAIRNS

Misty Mountains Rainforest Retreat

199 Ellis Rd, Bellenden Ker

At the foot of Mount Bellenden Ker, Queensland’s second highest mountain is this absolutely private retreat.  The Blue Lagoon Villa has its own private lagoon pool, gazebo and day bed but just as secluded is the cheaper Eco Lodge, which still has a four-poster bed. Oh, and also worth mentioning is that the retreat has a party room with a cheeky dance pole.

Prices: Blue Lagoon villa: $800/night, Eco Lodge: $180/night.

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Eco Village Resort

Clump Point Lookout Rd, Mission Beach

This little gem has its own private beach, which its open air restaurant looks onto. There are bungalows and spa suites but for couples, the best bet is the spa bungalow, which is free-standing, self-contained and features a spa in the ensuite. The king size bed is reportedly very comfy – plus here, you’re highly likely to see a cassowary.

Price: Spa bungalow: $120/night, 3 night minimum stay 

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Sejala on the Beach

26 Pacific Parade, Mission Beach

These luxury beach huts are tucked away in a lush tropical garden but just a short walk along a sandy path fringed by coconut trees, and you’re on the beach. One of the cool things about this place is the huts have open-air garden ensuites, reminiscent of Bali. If you’ve had enough of the privacy and solitude, it’s just a short walk to Mission Beach’s main street and restaurants.

Price: From $290/night

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