On our recent trip to the Whitsunday's we wanted to revisit Cape Hillsborough National Park, a lovely place that we hadn't seen for 23 years. The national park is as beautiful and untouched as we remembered, and the nature resort is well set up for both caravans and campers. However our overnight stay in Beachfront Cabin 5 at the Nature Resort was disappointing, cold, uncomfortable and comparatively expensive, and I would not recommend a stay in their cabin accommodation to anyone in winter if they feel the cold. In addition we found the telephone booking service was misleading with resort staff providing a variety of feedback on availability of accommodation. In general the park lacked the warmth and hospitality we have found at other Whitsunday tourism establishments which is disappointing as this area of the coast is so unique and beautiful.
The Nature Resort has a variety of cabin accommodation, of which full details with pictures can be found on their website. After reviewing the available choices, my preferred accommodation was in a two bedroom beachfront cabin. I contacted the resort to book accommodation well in advance but was informed they would only take bookings for the minimum of two nights. However if I called back 48 hours beforehand, they would take overnight bookings. I gladly accepted this policy as accommodation in this area is scarce and I understood that a small business such as this resort would rather accept two night stays where possible. I concluded that if accommodation at the resort was unavailable, we could still visit the national park as a day visitor if we wanted.
Three days prior to our travel to the area, I again contacted the nature resort to check on cabin availability. A male receptionist told me that there were still beachfront two bedroom cabins available and to ring back the next day and they would take my overnight booking. The following day a female receptionist told me she had received a run on bookings and there was no accommodation available however please ring back a few hours beforehand as some times there are late cancellations. Annoying as this was, accommodation is scarce in this area, so my daughter rang back as we approached Cape Hillsborough and she was told there was luckily one studio Beachfront Cabin 5 available at $150 per night. We accepted the accommodation. Later that night we noticed that only half the cabins were occupied including the biggest 2 bedroom Beachfront Cabin vacant.
There are many things about the Beachfront Cabins that are disappointing. Although they are called “beachfront”, there is no view of the beach as it is obstructed by shrubbery. A better view is available on the level higher up the resort. The cabins are very old, draughty and not particularly clean. We also noticed that the windows could not be locked securely. The shower and toilet are very substandard with hot water that takes almost 5 minutes to warm up. The kitchen is poorly equipped with limited old mismatching crockery. Above the sink is a sign in large bold capital letters to inform guests that a fee of $70 will be charged to their credit card if they leave any dirty dishes in the sink! Our cabin had two uncomfortable queen sized beds. Unfortunately the night we stayed experienced very cold temperatures. To stay warm we needed to put on more clothing as there were few warm bed covers and the air conditioner could not be set to warm the cabin. At one stage I arose to try to have a hot shower to warm up, however as the water temperature took forever to heat, I abandoned that plan. Needless to say we were up early to greet the dawn and watch the kangaroos feed on the beachfront, yet this did not compensate for a poor interrupted nights sleep in an uncomfortable bed.
During our holiday we noticed huge differences in the pricing of tourist accommodation in the Whitsunday’s which was determined by supply and demand. These varied from $170 per night to stay in a huge new five star 2 bedroom waterfront apartment at Airlie to a $150 per night for a stay in older style two bedroom cabin in the mountains at Eungella. To me it doesn’t matter how old the accommodation is where I stay. What does matter is that the place is clean and warm, the beds are comfortable, the shower is hot and works well, the kitchen is functional and the management is hospitable. The Beachfront Cabins don't tick any of those boxes. At present the Nature Resort is well set up for caravans and campers but their cabin accommodation (which is nothing more than upmarket camping) needs to be improved or reduced in price considerably to stay competitive. Only those visitors who adore Cape Hillsborough will keep returning to the Nature Resort as there are so many nicer places to visit and stay in the Whitsunday’s.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A haven nestled in the forest, and surrounded by the beautiful Cape Hillsborough National Park - the ultimate destination to seek respite from the pace of every day living. Awaiting you is private comfortable accommodation and beach front sites in an environment of natural beauty. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Cape Hillsborough Nature Hotel