Escape to a tree house for solace
I ALWAYS wanted a tree house when I was little – a place that symbolised one word and a world of connotation: escape.
Somewhere up high in that rarefied, chlorophyll-tinted air where the rigours and responsibilities of life can literally not touch you.
The tree-dwelling birds have got it right. They know.
None of them are stressed-out frown merchants like us who tread the earth.
So why not go to a place where grown-ups can legitimately escape and play in tree houses?
Off the road to one of the Sunshine Coast's most loved waterfalls in Kondalilla lies Tree Houses of Montville: a 24-cabin resort nestled among rainforest and eucalypts.
A range of one and two-bedroom tree houses is available, each with full kitchen facilities, a wood heater, television, DVD and CD player, and a spa.
Little touches such as firewood, fire-lighting instructions, bath robes, plunger coffee and soothing music already playing on the stereo when you arrive help you settle in so much quicker.
Big touches including in-room massages, facials, room service and a feeling of hanging in the forest canopy make you realise you are somewhere special.
The complex also has a gym, two swimming pools and more than eight hectares of property to wander through.
If you don't mind a few hills and going off the beaten track, you should be rewarded with visions of waterfalls and wildlife, including the ubiquitous bush turkey.
And if you don't see any wildlife during the day, don't be alarmed if you hear it at night, with possums also keen to call your patch of forest home (and investigate what you might have in your esky if you leave it out on the veranda overnight).
Those occasional paw steps on the roof, tree branches tapping the windows and whipbirds endlessly and audibly cracking in the distance ... these are the sounds of the hinterland, and you will have to get used to them.
I sat on the deck one afternoon, enjoying a beer as I attempted to tune my ear in.
Within seconds, I was outraged.
Who on earth was blowing what sounded like trombones in the direction of those hills in the distance?
Obviously they had no idea how to play. It must be kids. Kids, mucking around with a trumpet or, God forbid, a vuvuzela.
Surely not here? Who would dare spoil such tranquillity by making such a monstrous sound?
Half-an-hour later I realised, with much embarrassment, that the noise came from cows. They were mooing.
It does take a while to tune “city” ears into the hinterland.
It takes a while to arrive on Montville time.
The silence is different to that you might hear in your backyard on a quiet Sunday.
For a start, quiet Sundays in suburbia don't exist when there appears to be an unwritten social law that every whipper snipper, lawnmower, chainsaw and leaf blower must be used on the hour at weekends.
Listen to the mooing cows and the breeze in the gums and it is a kind of tranquil heaven, just 30 minutes up the range.
We enjoyed a massage in our room by an expert masseuse who visits on appointment, followed by a spa in the stunning recessed bathroom where the bath is framed by massive windows overlooking lush greenery.
Tree Houses has a restaurant near reception which has a decent room service menu. But you will have to navigate the property at night to pick the food up yourself.
While it wasn't freezing, we just couldn't let the wood heater sit there unlit.
And there is nothing like crackling fire to mesmerise and soothe.
Reasonably-priced breakfast hampers are available, but we had come prepared with eggs and bacon among treats in the esky.
The delightful team at Tree Houses welcomes weddings, conferences, families and couples and even offers one-night stays on weekends, if available.
The resort was a finalist in last year's Excellence in Business Awards.