One of the best kept secrets for a chilled out cheap weekend or week away from studies, also happens to be the longest-established nature-based resorts in Australia. Binna Burra Mountain Lodge, just one hour drive from Gold Coast SCU, was founded in 1933 by Arthur Groom and Romeo Lahey, two  pioneering conservationists, who in the early 1930s purchased the last freehold title on the boundary of Lamington National Park and formed a public company to fund the establishment of what was to become Binna Burra Mountain Lodge. The first Binna Burra camp was held over the Christmas holidays in 1933


Stretching out across the McPherson Ranges, this UNESCO world heritage listed is Australia’s largest remnant of sub-tropical rainforest and is characterised by rugged mountain scenery, breathtaking lookouts, tumbling waterfalls, caves, fern gullies, and more than 160kms of Australia’s most diverse walking trails. On the highest peaks, misty forests of ancient Antarctic beech trees date back over 2000 years, whilst in the valley, crystal clear streams cascade over moss covered boulders into deep mountain pools. Lamington is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including rare and endangered animals such as the blue Lamington crayfish. With more than 230 bird species, Lamington also boasts Australia’s largest collection of sub-tropical birds.

A unique array of trails allows visitors to walk from palm filled valleys with waterfalls and crystal clear rivers to mist covered mountain tops (1100 metres) clothed in cool-temperate rainforests dominated by Antarctic Beech trees. And, although the cabins are a dream, students on a budget should head to the campsite, set high up on the ranges with panoramic views of the Numinbah Valley and the far-away coastal plains. You can choose to pitch your own tent, bring a campervan, or hire a canvas cabins (Safari Tents).

Safari Tents

Safari Tents accommodate from 2 to 6 people, and are a comfortable way of camping without the hassle of putting up a tent. They cost $60 a night and feature: Pine beds and mattresses, Private veranda with rainforest or Numinbah Valley views, Table and chairs, Vinyl floors, Screened opening windows, Lighting and a Fire pit. You have to bring you own sheets, blankets and pillows but if you leave them behind, rentals are available for a daily fee. The only thing missing are power points and refrigeration.


You can always bring your own tent, which will cost $28 a night for 2 or 4 man tent size and $35 to rent a drive on powered site. For this sweet nightly price you get: Full shower and toilet facilities, Coin-operated washing machines and tumble dryers, Coin-operated gas barbeque stoves and hot plates (cooking is not permitted inside canvas cabins. BYO pots, pans and cutlery) and LPG gas re-fills. Firewood, milk and ice available at the Lodge or Lamington Teahouse and all campsite guests can join in the guided bushwalks, activities, flying fox and abseiling for a nominal charge.

Check out their website for directions, bookings and any special events.