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Nightfall Wilderness Camp review, Lamington National Park, Queensland: Weekend away

TIME : 2-26 17:47:30

Nightfall Wilderness Camp review, Lamington National Park, Queensland: Weekend away

DEFAULT Simon Holt

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Our rating

4.5 out of 5

HIGHLIGHT

The romance of a candlelit dinner by the rapids.

LOWLIGHT

It's the bush. There will be a few bugs about.

THE LOCATION

The unsealed section of road into Nightfall is only 900 metres, but the change in scenery is rather dramatic. There's a line in the Talking Heads song, Road to Nowhere: "I'm feelin' OK this morning. And you know we're on a road to paradise. Here we go, here we go." The part of Queensland's Scenic Rim region we're exploring is called the Lost World, and while it's not quite as remote as the name might imply, it's remarkable how rolling farmland quickly turns into thick forest and towering cliff faces of Lamington National Park. As the drum beat from the song continues to play in the back of my mind, there comes a realisation that this is what weekends away are all about – an opportunity to escape day-to-day routine. The surrounds at Nightfall are spectacular, but they're just the beginning of the retreat.

THE SPACE

The owners of Nightfall, Steve and Heidi Ross, have chosen to include the word "camp" in the name of their retreat. They do so because they wanted to ensure people knew there was still an element of the great outdoors in the glamping experience – access to bushwalks, the free-flowing creek, a camp oven and open-air common lounge area covered by the corregated iron of an elaborate shed. The difference between this and "real" camping is that the tent's up, the food's cooked, the fire's lit and the facilities really are quite glamorous.

THE KIT

Not too many resort owners can boast that they built the place themselves. Steve is a landscaper by trade and not only tackled the gardens, but helped put together the structure of each tent. Heidi sewed all the canvas with a sewing machine. They say the resort is a work in progress, but they've managed to inject some novelty luxuries within the basic camping structure. French-style tin baths are a treat, particularly in the heat of summer, there's a fireplace in the middle of the room, cosy lounge area in the corner with plenty of pillows, and an open shower built over wooden slats. It's as romantic as it is functional.

STEPPING OUT

You're in the middle of Lamington National Park, so there are plenty of bushwalks, including one to the place two survivors were miraculously rescued from the site of a Stinson plane crash. There are wallabies, platypus, frogs and all sorts of other critters to enjoy. A lunch backpack is included in the full stay package to Nightfall, but evenings are the real treat. The flowing creek is lit with lanterns, and there are two tables, each set up for a romantic dinner flush with fresh ingredients from the on-site organic garden. Meat and vegetables are cooked in a wood-fired oven. The sound of water, personal service, a glass of good wine and perhaps a ray of moonlight – it's what all good love songs are made of. 

THE VERDICT

As much as big chain hotels like to say they listen to their clientele, it's one area they can't compete with smaller operators. Each visitor to Nightfall gets a welcome note asking for personal preferences, including food. Each visitor is regarded as a "guinea pig"; suggestions, thoughts and observations are all welcomed as the resort takes shape. If that mindset continues, the evolution will continue forever. And that's a great thing because it means guests really are getting the best of everyone's ideas, mixed with a healthy dose of individual care from the operators.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Brisbane, it's a drive of about 90 minutes. Follow the Mount Lindesay Highway past Beaudesert. There will be a left turn into Christmas Creek Rd. From there, travel to the end of the bitumen part of the road, and the resort entrance is about 900 metres along the gravel section. There's a number on the gate, but no "Nightfall" sign.

ESSENTIALS

Nightfall Wilderness Camp, 3009 Christmas Creek Road, Lamington. This is a high-end glamping experience and prices start accordingly, at around $355 per night including breakfast, arrival platter and champagne. For $495, a couple will also get a bushwalker's picnic lunch adventure and "dining on the rapids" experience. Phone 07 5544 8070, see nightfall.com.au.

The writer stayed as a guest of Nightfall Wilderness Camp.