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“Excellent place for bird lovers.”

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Barking Owl Retreat
Reviewed June 11, 2014

A warm welcome by Tanya and lots of handy info was wonderful. Our cottage Devils Lair is the most private one and just so peaceful. Delightful views over green fields and trees and lots of birds around in the bushes and the trees and overhead. The deck is just great to sit and have brekkie or read and relax or have a wine and fire up the bbq. The surrounding area is wonderful to drive around and see lots of birds of prey as we did and it is very central to everything too so a good base.Make sure to go to the little bakery at Tolga and have a fresh cream bun!! Highly recommend this place and we hope to return one day.Incredibly friendly and welcoming hosts.If you go in July or August you may be lucky to see the Barking Owls as they breed at that time.

Room Tip: Devils Lair is definitely the one to ask for for more privacy.
  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Mary-Anne A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 - 36 of 72 reviews

Reviewed June 2, 2014

My wife and I had a 1 night getaway at this lovely property. We were impressed with the cleanliness and completeness of the cabin. Every thing you could need layed out in a sensible manner. The Cabins were furnish beautifully and the bed was a Goldilocks one. We had dinner in Yungaburra which is only 10 mins away.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Simon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2014

Loved staying here with the family.
Close to Tinaroo dam, near Tolga pub(good meal) and lots of tourist things to do.
Kids loved having a BBQ the back deck ,the spa and roasting marshmallows on the fire near the large dam on the property.
Love to come back!!!

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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Thank wendyM777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014

Peaceful, relaxing and everything you could need. We stayed two nights and it wasn't long enough , at least another day for just lazing around would have been fantastic! A great base to see all the attractions in the district and then relax in the peace and quiet. A great private setting in a cozy cottage, we had the two of us and 12 year old daughter. The cottage was immaculately clean and very well set out with everything you could need, including DVD's, magazines, BBQ, beautiful deck, fishing down at the dam etc. Host Tanya was fantastic and although we brought our own food and wine, all of this can be provided, and I have no doubt it would be excellent. We really enjoyed our stay and highly recommend it for couples, a group of friends and smaller families. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Judy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2013

We stayed at the Barking Owl early Dec and had a great time. This is a beautiful area perfect for getting away from it all and taking in the ' serenity ' . The cottages are absolutely spotless and perfectly organised with everything you need, even fishing gear is supplied and roomy enough for 2 adults and 2 children in the open plan layout. The hosts ( Tanya and Chris) are great, very friendly and nothing is too much trouble. Our two 12 year olds enjoyed exploring the area, fishing in the dam and most of all playing with the very friendly dogs and beautiful puppy 'Jaffa' . The spot is close to all the great things to do in the area and after a long day of exploring the tablelands it was wonderful to relax on the deck in the peace and quite of the country with a glass of wine watching the cows!
Highly recommend this place, we will be back.

Room Tip: Both cottages are beautiful
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Sue W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2013

Even before I actually got there, I believed I was I was going to like “Barking Owls Retreat” in the Atherton Tablelands.

I was NOT disappointed.

Tanya, the hostess and owner of this lovely, secluded B&B, was very attentive in finding out what would make us comfortable, before we ever left the US. I told her I was lactose intolerant and she tailored the breakfasts to fit. My husband likes his coffee strong and black, and she insured that the coffee would be to his liking.

When I finally drove up the road to the “Dingo’s Lair” I realized her assurances (and her Trip Advisor ratings) were right on target. In fact, my findings exceeded my expectations.

I’ve seldom been in a place that I wish I could stay ‘forever’. The Dingo’s Lair is one of them.

Quiet and secluded, the lodge is absolutely spotless. The bed is large and comfortable. The bathroom has a large Jacuzzi tub. A tree frog was perched in the window.

The Lair has a well equipped kitchen, with a dishwasher (which operated almost silently), a large refrigerator and a microwave. The kitchenware matches! Everything one could want: a can opener, a cork puller, sharp knives, lots of silverware was there. It is apparent that Tanya (and Chris, her husband) had thought long and hard about how to properly set up a rental lodge.

The BBQ grill was just like our Weber here in the US-large, clean and efficient. We grilled fresh garlic prawns with rice our first evening. I’d never used a microwave to cook rice before, so Tanya ran off a recipe from Google (how did we ever manage without Google?). There is no internet in the cabin, by the way. But I wasn’t in Australia to surf the web.

Evenings on the verandah were magical. We enjoyed the shade and the cool breeze coming off the hills in the distance. We heard nothing but bird song and the occasional moo from Tanya’s Brangus cattle. I stargazed from the verandah after dark. The sky there is so free of light pollution that Venus cast a shadow!

One is welcome to fish from their stock pond, but it is catch and release only. Didn’t bring your fishing gear? “No worries”, as they say in Australia, Tanya has the fishing rod, a tackle box and even provides bait! They have barramundi, eels, and black bream in the pond. When you sit above the ground in the tree top (they have a platform about fifteen feet above ground) you can easily imagine you’re in Africa at a water hole. I expected to see wildebeest and zebra coming to drink…alas, that’s not provided.

It’s about as close as you can be to ‘wilderness’ in this very settled part of Queensland. Be careful, as there are snakes in the forest around the pond. They won’t hurt you, but they can-so watch your step.

You needn’t go into the woods. The dam has a nice place to sit in the shade, and even has a wood stove and plenty of dry firewood for those cooler nights.

You cross the cow pasture to get to the pond. Follow the mowed pathways. The cattle will not approach you.

Please don’t forget the Golden Rule of range land, no matter what country: Leave the Gate as You Find It. If it’s open, leave it open. If it’s closed, leave it closed.

For birders, Barking Owl is the perfect spot for birding. We saw lorikeets, flycatchers, and the cockatoos…oh, the cockatoos. In the evening, they flew over the verandah to their evening roost, their underwings catching the setting sun and turning their normally white plumage lemon yellow. Can you imagine a bright blue sky full of bright yellow cockatoos?

The surrounding countryside gave us the incredible view of flocks of mannikins and on one memorable occasion, at least thirty kites, (black shouldered, brown, and brahminy) all of them perched on the roadside fence posts, one after another after another. The fields were full of gleaning Sarus and Brolga cranes.
And the eponymous owls? Oh, yes, we heard the Barking Owls (Ninox connivens). The lodge has a fully functioning TV with cable and DVDs. Watch the one about the birds in Queensland. The barking owls are included in the DVD, so you will recognize their call when (if you have the windows open) you hear them. They call a soft “wook-wook”. Tanya and Chris have had a pair nesting on their property for several years. You can see the box from the verandah.

In the coming years, when I remember our trip to Australia, “Barking Owls Retreat” will be in the foremost of my mind. Do NOT miss it.

Room Tip: The Dingo's Lair is quiet, private and close to the wildlife.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank SeattleMeadowlark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 28, 2013

We only stayed a night in the Dingo's lair but loved every minute of it. So...o...o relaxing and Tanya's attention to detail was superb with not a thing we were without.Fishing or just sitting on the deck watching the may birds or wildlife go by with a glass of champagne,who could ask for more.It would be perfect for a romantic weekend or even a honeymoon as you feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere with only the birds around,so private.We have travelled Australia and stayed in a wide variety of accomodation but this has to be the "whole Package".The bed was awesome, the cabin immaculately clean and the view to die for.We will be back! Without a doubt as this is one out of the box.Thanks tanya and Chris you have done an awesome job:)

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank KODY23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Barking Owl Retreat

Address: 409 Hough Rd | Kairi, Atherton, Queensland 4872, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Atherton
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Atherton
Price Range: $152 - $199 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Barking Owl Retreat 4.5*
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Atherton Tablelands Bed and Breakfast Farm Stay Accommodation, Barking Owl Retreat in Kairi, on the Cairns Highlands offers private luxury accommodation with the friendliness and atmosphere of a traditional Bed and Breakfast Farm stay. Featuring two fully self contained cottages tucked in a secluded valley just over an hours self-drive from the Cairns International Airport Tropical Far North Queensland, Australia. ... more   less 
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