WOW. This place is fabulous. I had previously fallen in love with Lamington National Park, during my first visit to Australia, and the splendor of the rainforest had drawn me back here. However, Binna Burra itself is beyond expectactions. I can hardly express how gorgeous it is. Hewn from the wilderness in the 1930s, the lodge and all its furnishings, are made from the wood cut and stone moved to create the clearing in which the lodge sits. Every view is unbelievable. There is a fair range of room types, and I went for a budget room/cabin. My room turned out to be charming–all wood interior, fixtures, furniture; comforter on the bed. The view from my bedroom window is incredible.
It is so quiet up here. Not quiet as in no sound, but quiet as in no sounds of civilization. Nothing except the breeze through the trees and bird calls. I don’t think we even realize how many sounds we just filter out back in the “real world.” The silence is immense.
I saw magpies outside my window. When I went outside, a Satin bowerbird flashed past. I heard the “starter motor call a minute later. This is wonderful. I’m so glad I’m here for a few days. (I discussed the bowerbird and posted a video of its odd mating call here, if you’re curious. Magpies were introduced in this post.)
I went for a walk, to find my way around the place. I was surprised that I felt out of breath pretty quickly. Then I remembered–I’m on the top of a mountain, and the air is a bit thinner. (Just 2,625 feet above sea level, so not exactly inducing altitude sickness, just a little less air. Either that, or perhaps my lungs are in shock because the air is so clean.) I’ll have to take it a little easy today–and hope I adjust quickly.
The incredible silence was broken for a moment by a ringing bell that announced lunch. The dining room is fabulous–perched on the edge of a cliff. Wood walls face the clearing where accommodations are located, but the outside wall is all glass, so there is an absolutely unobstructed view of the mountains, valleys, and forest surrounding the peak on which Binna Burra sits. Stunning.
And the food was good and abundant, with multiple options, including seafood and vegetarian. One could not easily go hungry here. At lunch, those of us who were new arrivals were given a bit of info about when things happened and how things operate. There are meals and snacks multiple times during the day, plus if you want to go off into the wilderness, they’ll pack a lunch for you. Nice.
There are naturalists, a botanist, and an ornithologist here, to answer questions and lead regularly scheduled walks, both long and short, to make sure we have the opportunity to see as much of the rainforest as we want. Everyone else I saw or met seems to be really into this outdoor experience. Hiking gear, binoculars, cameras, and piles of books are very much in evidence. It’s good to know people still care. At home, I so often encounter people who aren’t interested in seeing anything, and if they see it, don’t want to learn more about it. Here, everyone was prepared to not only look, but to look it up. Wonderful.
The view is amazing, but I’m not sure how my photos will turn out, since the mountains are somewhat obscured by the smoke from nearby forest fires. During lunch, I was told that the fires have been quite bad this year. Sad. And yet, even with the haze, the view is unbelievably inspiring.