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Insider Journeys: Mount Mulligan Lodge

In this inaugural edition of Insider Journeys, our founder shares her recent experience staying at Mount Mulligan Lodge, a Luxury Lodge of Australia set in northern Queensland's rugged outback.

By Walk into Luxury

Mt Mulligan Lodge NK 1
Mount Mulligan may just be the best family-friendly luxury lodge in Australia.
Nikki King, Founder

Property Overview

Mount Mulligan Lodge offers laid-back luxury in the rugged outback of Northern Queensland, with its namesake mountain an ever-present sandstone backdrop that changes colour with the light of the day. Located a two-and-a-half-hour drive inland from Cairns, the luxury lodge sits on a 28,000-hectare working cattle station that bears the marks and stories of the historic gold rush and early coal mining days of Australia, and significant Indigenous history. Guest facilities include a spacious lounge and dining space, a library and an infinity pool by the lake.

The lodge accommodates up to 32 guests at a time across its spacious Outback Pavilions, Suites and four new glamping Tents, each offering a luxurious take on outback living. The Suites and Pavilions overlook a eucalyptus-fringed freshwater weir, which can be viewed from the unique corrugated iron outdoor bathtubs. The Tents are located in a separate area of the lodge, centred around an outdoor fire; the perfect place for toasting marshmallows with the kids at night.

A range of experiences is available at the lodge, including guided tours of the historic Mount Mulligan coal mine and abandoned township, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) adventures, barramundi fishing on the lake, scenic helicopter flights, guided nature walks and the chance to experience the operations of a working cattle station. Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards are available for leisurely adventures on the lake, and dedicated kids’ activities are also available.

All dining is included at Mount Mulligan Lodge with a daily changing menu and an open bar stocked with a generous range of wines, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Sundowner drinks are held in a different scenic location each day - a great opportunity to meet fellow guests and take in a new view each evening.

What we loved

Mount Mulligan may just be the best family-friendly luxury lodge we’ve visited. We travelled with our 5-year-old son and had the best trip. He was happy from the moment he arrived when he discovered his new best friend - wombat - on his bed. A thoughtful gift from the lodge team.

Although the Outback Pavilions and Suites at Mount Mulligan are exceptional, don't overlook the newly added safari tents which enjoy all the same lodge inclusions at a fraction of the price. They are very comfortable and feature a well-stocked mini-bar, air-conditioning, modern private ensuite and an annexed room with bunk beds for the kids. Plus, you can enjoy your own campfire experience at night, with the staff setting up an eski bag of drinks after dinner so you can enjoy a nightcap under the stars while the kids toast marshmallows.

Sundowners are definitely a thing at Mount Mulligan, with countless special lookouts and scenic settings around the property. The lodge team make the most of the magical location, setting up evening drinks at a different spot each day so guests and staff can come together to toast the day's end. One of our favourite spots was the Sunset Bar – aptly named for its prime position on a hillside offering superb views of the sun setting over Mount Mulligan. Getting to the location was part of the experience, driving our ATV bikes up the hill and feeling the breeze in our hair. We loved it.

Mount Mulligan Lodge Sunset Bar
Mount Mulligan Lodge Sundowner Drinks at Sunset Bar

What surprised us?

You can swim in the lake and rivers here! We assumed crocodiles would be present in North Queensland, cancelling any hopes of swimming fun. But as we learnt, it is completely safe here as crocodiles don't travel this far inland.

We loved using the complimentary kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to explore the lodge and its surroundings from the water; we even enjoyed a dip in a beautiful gorge swimming hole one day. Bliss!

Recommended experiences

There is so much to enjoy at Mount Mulligan, but our favourite experiences include the ATV bike tours to scenic lookouts such as Lake Geraldine and the Mount Mulligan Gorge Hike at sunrise. The latter was a 2.5-hour guided walk along a mountain ridge to the most picture-perfect swimming hole at the base of a waterfall. We cooled off with a refreshing dip before returning to the lodge on our ATV bikes which we used to access the trail.

We highly recommend setting aside time to relax by the pool or paddle on the lake - you may spot a platypus or turtle while kayaking. The birdlife is amazing, too!

Big and little kids alike will love the adventure of exploring the lodge surroundings on ATV bikes, and we recommend the Kids Ranger Program for younger travellers. Our five-year-old loved learning to paint with ochre from the rocks they dug up, and ticking off the native animals they spotted in his guidebook. When we needed some inside time in the heat of the day, we all enjoyed the freshly baked choc-chip cookies while tackling a puzzle, or spotting birdlife from the terrace. Your time at Mount Mulligan can be as action-packed or relaxed as you choose.

Mount Mulligan Lodge lounge

If you are looking for a unique setting for your next family trip that you and the kids will love, Mount Mulligan is the place.

What's nearby?

Given you’ll likely travel through Cairns to access Mount Mulligan, we recommend combining this outback gem with a few nights on the Great Barrier Reef or in the Daintree Rainforest – or why not both?! Mount Mulligan Lodge's sister property Orpheus Island is situated an hour's flight from Cairns and offers a unique opportunity to visit nearby Hinchinbrook Island to hike to breathtaking Zoe Falls on the Thorsborne Trail. A fellow Luxury Lodge of Australia, Lizard Island, is also easily accessed from Cairns, with excellent snorkelling and other experiences in an exclusive island setting. Silky Oaks Lodge is the place to stay in the Daintree. We can assist with personalised itineraries to piece together the ultimate Queensland luxury journey.

To recap

  • Mount Mulligan has 10 suites and four tents (two king tents and two king with bunkbed annex)
  • Access from Cairns, 2.5 hours by road or a 30-minute heli flight
  • Guests of any age are welcome (kids are well-catered for)
  • Recommended for couples, families and groups

Learn more about Mount Mulligan Lodge here, or speak to our team.

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