Escape to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

Nikki ParkinsonTravel 25 Comments

We were guests of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat

You know the sign of a good escape?

That you’re plotting a return before you’ve even set off for home.

We’d only arrived on the mountain at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat 24 hours before but that’s the magic of the place.

It was my first visit to O’Reilly’s and Mr SY had not visited since a day trip as a kid. Both of us could not believe it had escaped our collective radar up until this recent visit.

For more than 100 years the O’Reilly family has offered accommodation in what is now the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland.

When we mentioned to friends where we were heading for the weekend, the first thing those who had visited mentioned to us was the windy trek up the mountain to reach your destination.

Naively, I thought to myself … how windy could it really be?

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

Turns out it can be very windy – 35km of windy.

You could tell which cars on the road are familiar with every hairpin turn. They had more of a Monaco Grand Prix approach to the journey.

Me? I urged Mr SY to please keep to a school-zone speed, preferably hugging the side of the mountain as tightly as possible.

Occasionally he humoured me.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

Moving right along … people happily make the trek up and down the mountain to breathe in the clean air, trek the 160km of trails and connect with nature.

Me? They had me at the Lost World Day Spa.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Lost World Spa

I loved looking at all that beautiful nature … from beside the fireplace in the spa’s relaxation lounge.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Lost World Spa

Yes, I’d happily take in nature’s bounty from this position all day long, excepting when face down experiencing the Signature Skin and Body Therapy.

I’m not going to lie, those two hours were something else.

My therapist took me from broken to bliss, starting with a foot soak and scrub before moving on to a back massage, scalp treatment and facial.

There was snoring. There was drool. There was a resultant inability for me to lift myself up off the treatment bed.

This Spa Rat had found a new spiritual home.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Lost World Spa

Many, many more things got the Lost World Day my Spa Rat tick of approval.

For starters, this spa uses one of my favourite skincare ranges in its treatments – Australian luxury chemical-free range, Sodashi. The products keep on delivering on your skin days after your treatment. They are luxe and effective – especially in signature Sodashi treatments.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Lost World Spa

More ticks from me in the spaciousness of the spa. The rooms all have views over the valley.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Lost World Spa

The aforementioned lounge is roomy.

I’ve been in relaxation lounges the size of a kids’ bedroom and somehow half a dozen people in ill-fitting white robes are supposed to feel comfortable hanging in there before and after a treatment. It just doesn’t cut it.

Not here. So much space.

This Spa Rat was one very happy and blissed out girl.

So what were the boys up to while I was otherwise engaged?

Blissing out their way, that’s what.

What I love about O’Reilly’s is that there are activities for everyone – or you have the option to very little.

Staying in the luxury villas definitely lends itself to the latter.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Villas

These are the newest of the accommodation options at O’Reilly’s and there are two or three-bedroom options available with either a rainforest or valley view … from the jacuzzi on your private deck.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Villas


O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Villas

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Villas

Two families could easily share a three-bedroom villa. There were definitely girls’ weekends happening in villas around us during our weekend too. You can self-cater, chill out in front of the fire, read books and generally solve the problems of the world without leaving your home away from home.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Villas

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat | Villas

Should you wish to venture out, those walking trails will help counter-balance any Champagne and cheese consumption.

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

We justified the 10-minute walk up to dinner in The Dining Room in the main lodge as reason to indulge.

The Dining Room | O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

The Dining Room | O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

For the activity-minded, the glow worm tour and the Birds of Prey show are musts. The guides make these activities. They are characters with so much passion and so many stories to share, it’s impossible not to be caught up in that.

Birds of Prey show | O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

Birds of Prey show | O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat

Oh, O’Reilly’s you’ve got a little piece of our hearts.

So, have you got an O’Reilly’s story to share? Visited lately?

For more information about O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, visit

Comments 25

  1. Finally had a chance to enjoy this review. The day spa sounds like heaven! Thrilled that O’Reilly’s has just joined the alluxia collection.

  2. I was tossing up between going here or to Byron Bay for our 10 year wedding anniversary back in May, but Byron Bay won. This is still on the bucket list. I feel relaxed just reading your post! X

  3. Sounds like you had an amazing time Nikki! O’Reilly’s is such a magical property. So glad that the spa has Spa Rat Tick of Approval – that picture of you after your treatment is so beautiful!

  4. Happy memories of visiting on our trip from the UK. We also stayed in the villas, and loved the nature walks (inc “bonus” funnel web spider). Less happy memories of the windy road!

  5. I love the tree top walk and the bird feeding. Whenever we have friends/ family visit from NZ, we always take them there. The drive up through the trees right near the top is just gorgeous. I’ve also done the flying fox as well and so I know that your son and Mr SY would have had a ball on it.

  6. It looks absolutely gorgeous Nikki! I’m sitting here rugged up in a blanket on a chilly morning in Perth thinking two hours in a warm spa being pampered would be just the ticket 😉 It’s going on my list for our next forray to the east. We went to Binna Burra (sp) when our kids were little which I think is quite close? That was an amazing experience too.

  7. That looks amazing Nikki all the photos are beautiful! I will have to try Sodashi’s skincare range I wonder if you can get samples?
    I’d love to take my sister for a weekend away of pampering for her 50th birthday next year as she has had a really tough year.
    Thank you for sharing your weekend away with us Nikki Xx

  8. Looks great, Nikki.
    Will add it to my list of quick getaways for once we get back from this trip, as I always need to have my next break booked to make it bareable to return to work post holidays.

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