Things To Do

Grab The Fam For The Ultimate Animal-Lovers Getaway Just A Short Drive Away

By Morgan Reardon

If you’re looking to snag parental bragging rights for the rest of eternity, then you’ll want to take note because we’ve uncovered an awesome family getaway for the little animal-lovers in your life. Round up the crew, book in that annual leave and make tracks to the Sunshine Coast’s most unique accommodationThe Crocodile Hunter Lodge. 

Nestled next to Australia Zoo’s sprawling grounds and surrounded by stunning wildlife, these rustic luxury digs are serving up pure bucket-list vibes, and thanks to the addition of new three-bedroom cabins, you can bring the whole family along. Inspired by the late Steve Irwin’s life and legacy, The Crocodile Hunter Lodge is an animal-lover's nirvana, a place where minds, young and old, can unwind and appreciate Queensland’s native bushland and wildlife at its best. 

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive at the lodge is the serenity. Encased by towering trees and soundtracked by native birds, there’s flora and fauna at every turn—including a diamond python at check in. There’s personal touches aplenty here too, with family photos scattered throughout the lobby—the front doors and check-in desk are made from recycled timber from the OG Crocodile Environmental Park that Steve built himself. 

Crocodile Hunter Lodge Sunshine Coast accomodation

While it’s tempting to rush to your cabin and throw yourself backwards onto the bed (we all do it), you’ll first want to take a dip in ‘The Billabong’, the lodge’s 25-metre infinity pool. The watery oasis, set against the 25-million-year-old Glass House Mountains, overlooks lush greenery, home to the lodge’s resident roos, emus and koalas. The little ones will love the crocodile pictures etched in the base of the pool (taken by Robert Irwin himself), while adults can recline on the sun loungers while enjoying a pool-side cocktail or snack. Pro tip: the Mooloolaba prawn sliders are a must.

Just a short meader away you’ll spy the brand-spanking-new three bedroom cabins. All come with a spacious wrap-around deck—which is perfect for sipping a vino on after a big day of exploring the zoo. They also have a full kitchen with all the mod cons—think a huge kitchen island, dishwasher and cooktop—two luxe bathrooms with heated floors (one even has a decadent stone tub to soak in), a washing machine and a private undercover carpark.

Crocodile Hunter Lodge Balcony Australia Zoo

The cabins (which also come in equally lush one and two-bedroom options for smaller groups), have not scrimped on any of the luxuries you’d hope to find in a boutique hotel. There’s Dyson hair dryers in every bathroom, Samsung Frame smart TV in the lounge, Indigenous artwork on the walls, plush bedding and products from natural skin care brand, Hunter Lab. 

Hungry? Saunter on back to the pool and grab a table at the lodge’s tasty eatery, Warrior Restaurant & Bar. The fine-dining spot (open for brekky, lunch and dinner), is all about celebrating modern Aussie cuisine, using local produce from the Sunshine Coast region and paying homage to First Nations people and plant life. On the seasonal menu you’ll find drool-worthy plates like Queensland eye fillet with quince, Mooloolaba prawn cigar, and Pedro Ximénez jus, or confit pork belly with pickled apple, carraway and roast heirloom carrots. Got a sweet tooth? You can’t go wrong with the Sunshine Coast strawberry gum meringue with basil gelato. Thirsty? Sip your way through their extensive list of Aussie wines, spirits and craft beers. 

Crocodile Hunter Lodge bathroom

But the good times don’t stop there. Every guest who stays at The Crocodile Hunter Lodge gets unlimited entry to Australia Zoo for the duration of their stay—yes that means multiple visits to the most interactive conservation park in the world. They also offer free shuttles to and from the zoo, daily complimentary brekky, a welcome gift pack and sneak peek tour of the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital. 

Keen to visit asap? What better way to celebrate the festive season than spending Christmas day at this unforgettable spot. Available for guests staying from 24-26 December, you’ll score exclusive entry to Australia Zoo with a delicious brekky overlooking the African savannah, plus loads of special wildlife experiences. Now, that’s gotta beat your aunt’s Christmas pav.

If you can’t squeeze in that staycay just yet, Warrior Restaurant & Bar are also throwing a couple of bangin’ events to toast the summer sunshine. Join them on Sunday 10 December for Taste of Summer—an indulgent three-course celebration of local Australian produce, or kick off the new year on the wild side with their immaculately curated Wild Night To Remember New Year’s Eve Degustation.

To snag your family a spot and shoot straight to the top of Santa’s nice list, head here to find out about the magical limited-time packages The Crocodile Hunter Lodge has to offer.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Australia Zoo and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

Image credits:  The Crocodile Hunter Lodge

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