7 unique Queensland accommodation options for a one-of-a-kind experience
Holidays are meant to be unforgettable, so it makes sense to stay somewhere equally memorable. And when it comes to something 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 seven unique Queensland accommodation options you’ll remember forever.
Undara railway experience
190,000 years ago, a volcano eruption left behind some spectacular underground caves just four hours south-west of Cairns in the Undara Volcanic National Park. The Undara Experience lava tubes are some of the largest and longest in the world and deserve more than a day of your time to explore.
A collection of restored turn-of-the-century train carriages have been transformed into sleeping cabins, offering a unique place to rest your head. Set along the original Cobb & Co. coach road, this peaceful spot is surrounded by bushland and native wildlife.
Start your morning with a bush breakfast, spend your day in the darkness of the lava caves, and finish with a spectacular sunset, sparkling wine and cheese overlooking the National Park.
Where: Undara Volcanic National Park, Savannah Way
Ph: 07 4097 1900
Old Church B&B
The Old Church B&B in Boonah offers a memorable stay in the heart of Queensland’s stunning Scenic Rim. The historical place of worship dates back to 1889 and, despite its modern makeover, has retained a generous helping of character and old world charm.
The mezzanine level inside the original church has a queen bed and three single beds. There’s also a converted bus that sleeps four, as well as additional cottages with cathedral ceilings, farm stay rooms and camping sites on the picturesque grounds.
Guests are treated to a continental breakfast made from local produce and the B&B’s famous home-baked sourdough. Busy yourself during the day with bread baking classes, wine and walking tours, and a joy flight over the Scenic Rim before retiring to your holy quarters.
Read this guide for more inspiration on how to explore the Scenic Rim in one day.
Where: 438 Milford Road, Milford
Ph: 0415 119 817
Ocean views are great, but underwater views are something else. Australia’s first underwater accommodation has just opened right on the Great Barrier Reef, offering a one-of-a-kind sleepover at one of the natural wonders of the world.
Sleep with the fishes in one of two underwater rooms aboard the Moore Reef Pontoon, 40km off the coast of Cairns. Your below-surface room has floor-to-ceiling views of Great Barrier Reef locals – i.e. the marine life – going about their day.
Arrive with the crowd of day trippers in the morning and explore the reef with snorkel and fins, then when everyone’s gone home, sip champagne on the deck, enjoy dinner under the stars, and retire to your underwater retreat. Waking up to that real-life aquarium will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Where: Moore Reef Pontoon, Cairns
Ph: 07 4846 7000
For unique Queensland accommodation on the Great Barrier Reef that’s family-friendly, check out this list.
Gilberton Outback Retreat
If the confines of four walls has you feeling claustrophobic, this is the place for you. Perched on a bluff beside the Gilbert River, Gilberton Outback Retreat’s open-air cabin is built from local stone and timber and takes full advantage of the views.
With no phone, Internet or television, there’s nothing but you and nature out here. Even your all-inclusive meals hero Mother Nature, with a focus on paddock to plate using locally sourced ingredients.
Located on a 88,000-acre seventh generation family working cattle station, you won’t be bored. Gold fossicking, four-wheel driving, hiking and mountain bike riding will keep you busy. Then, after soaking in the luxurious bathtub with panoramic views out over the bush, get your beauty sleep under a mozzie net.
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
Shandonvale Station shearing quarters
The renovated Shearing Quarters at Shandonvale Station look pretty good for being 100 years old. The four-bedroom ‘house’ has rustic comforts like a fireplace, claw-foot bath and a complimentary breakfast basket overflowing with produce sourced from the very farm you’re standing on.
At sunset, the treetop artesian bath is the perfect place to pop a bottle of champagne before experiencing a gourmet dinner up at the homestead each night. If you’re keen to explore the outback, the three-day Outback Flying tour takes you on daily helicopter rides to remote hidden gems few get to experience.
Where: Politic Rd, Ingberry
Ph: 07 4651 1685
Possum Park bunkers
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 converted to sleeping quarters, Possum Park (360kms west of Brisbane) is well worth every minute on the road.
A great stopover on your way to Carnarvon Gorge, there’s also plenty of reason to make Miles your ultimate destination. A visit to the Miles Historical Village and Museum is like stepping back in time, with over 30 authentic and original buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. September is wildflower season and there’s a dedicated (driveable) trail that starts and ends in Miles.
Where: 36865 Leichhardt Hwy, Miles
Ph: 07 4627 1651
Hale Douglas Tiny House
If you’ve ever pondered downsizing and embracing the minimalist life, this Sunshine Beach tiny house will quickly convince you that less is more.
Cosy not cramped, the Hale Douglas tiny house has a big personality thanks to its retro Hawaiian surf-inspired styling and eclectic use of reclaimed materials. The deck’s hammock is perfectly placed to take in the mountain views and the openable skylight above the loft bed will have you seeing stars.
Just a short walk away is the beach, and you’re in close vicinity to Noosa’s restaurant scene.
Where: Sunshine Beach
Book via airbnb
Looking for more unique Queensland accommodation ideas? These are the best luxury hotels and resorts in Queensland and the most-Instagrammable Brisbane hotels. Plus, be one of the first to stay in one of Queensland’s new and coming-soon hotels.