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“Jabiru Safari Lodge - way too expensive for what you get” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Jabiru Safari Lodge

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Jabiru Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Jabiru Safari Lodge - way too expensive for what you get”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 19, 2012

We stayed at Jabiru in mid-Nov. 2012 with another couple with whom we were traveling around northern Queensland. Unfortunately the previous operators of Jabiru, those with whom we had booked our stay, had departed suddenly at the end of Oct. leaving it to some locals to operate. While the "locals" were very pleasant and trying hard, they did not provide the level of service expected for the price paid. After currency conversion to US$ our stay was about US$500 for a couple for the night. While the accommodation was clean, it was not up to the standard one would expect for a luxury safari lodge. It was basically basic. The operators, past or present, could not do anything about the heat but something more than a single small oscillating fan would have provided some relief from the sweltering temperatures in the tents. The mosquito netting around the bed did not fit very well leaving gaps and besides only added to the lack of air circulation - we slept without it. But the accommodation is not the biggest disappointment. Here we were in tropical north Queensland and for breakfast they provided cold cereal and milk with tinned fruit cocktail. Gimme a break! How about a fresh mango or other tropical fruit, all available just down the road. The included dinner was adequate - and to be fair, the lodge did operate with limited electricity during dinner preparation time owing to a nearby late afternoon lightning strike - but I don't think this had anything to do with the menu which was not "gourmet" in any sense: some grilled chicken, somewhat overcooked broccoli and potatoes. The wine flowed freely though. The guide, Jason, provided a very knowledgeable tour but better communication about what the tour consisted of would have been welcomed - since we sat for about 45 min. after taking a short boat tour around the lagoon by the lodge wondering if that was all there was. It wasn't and we spent some couple hours in the land rover exploring other areas of the property - including one late night foray looking for night creatures. The property has potential but at the price they were charging, make sure they've upped their game a bit before booking.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Lawrence R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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108 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    18
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    2
    1
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Williamston, Michigan
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 24, 2012

This lodge is located inside a nature reserve, and is the only way to be in the reserve outside of the normal daytime opening hours (~ 9 to 5). It has been taken over by a new operations team just this month.

Meals are taken in the lodge, which should be noted is open air, with birds (and sometimes bats) flying in as there are occupied barn swallow and microbat nesting sites in the roof. The food was good and wine at dinner was unlimited. The experience was enjoyable but was not gourmet, so don't expect such.

The staff was excellent, highlighted by safari guide Jason, who is happy to customize safaris for your particular desires (including night trips to spot possums and bandicoots and early morning trips for birds). Though white, he grew up among aboriginal people and has an encyclopedic knowledge of their use of different plants and animals. He's friends with a local group of emus that feed near the lodge most days and can actually call them (!).

If you are a birder, make sure to book a tour with the bird expert (link found on the jabiru web site) before you go and he will take you on safari focused on that. We didn't do this, but still saw cranes (the Sarus, which is uncommon in Oz), honeysuckers, parrots, kingfishers, and some nice other finds. To be honest I don't understand the complaint about the birding in the comment below.

It's undoubtedly expensive, especially if you get the all-inclusive package (which I recommend to fully experience the reserve) but was worth the money in my view.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank solbailey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 23, 2012

The Jabiru Safari Lodge in the Mareeba Wetlands is a beautiful spot of tranquillity. The veranda at the lodge’s restaurant is the perfect place to watch the sunset, overlooking part of the wetlands. The tented cabins are comfortable, although depending on the time of the year it can get quite cold (electric blankets provided for the double bed in the deluxe cabins). The reason for having been somewhat disappointed with this place is not the accommodation itself, but rather the fact that during our stay in July there was not the kind of prolific birdlife we had expected. We stayed there for two nights and were told only on the second day that since the end of the drought three years ago, there has been lots of rain, and therefore the migrating birds do not need the artificial wetlands of this reserve so much anymore. Passionate birdwatchers may still see small birds that are rare and therefore an attraction to them. Furthermore, the guided tours are not worth the money, at least not under the circumstances described in this review. So, in our view it is still a nice place to stay for a night or two, and maybe there are still times during the year with much more abundant bird life, but given the rather pricy accommodation this place did not fully meet our expectations.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank travellersenjoy_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancashire
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2011

We has a one night stay at this tented lodge. Each tent (much, much more sophisticated than that), has a balcony with seats and an umbrella, a bed, limited storage and a bathroom at the back, separated from the main room by insect protected zips. There was an upright fan (needed), drinks, etc. The only noise came from the wildlife. Dinner & breakfast, served in the dining room (which overlooks the large lake), were extremely good and part of the package was the services of a wildlife (bird) guide. A fabulous place in an amazing setting.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank LancashireMouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
53 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2011

I really enjoyed glamping (a more up market version of camping) in one of the eco safari tents. The tent was very comfortable, there was an outside deck with a BBQ and a single and queen bed inside. The bathroom was great, wooden floor and fixtures. I went on the Sunset Safari and saw a lot of different birds, I believe there are about 210 different species in the wetlands nirvana. I would highly recommend the experience of staying here.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Neats61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
coen
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 31, 2011

My husband and I were looking for something away from it all. the Jabiru safari lodge was great. magnificent setting, very secluded, lots of privacy but assistance available if needed.
the walks were great and the safaris that come with the booking were very educational and interesting. recommend it to anyone for some time out surrounded by nature

Room Tip: Book early as only a few rooms available
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank malik21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton, New Zealand
Level Contributor
26 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 19, 2011

This place reminded me of African safari lodges. The luxury tented rooms were great and set in the outback. The hosts, Garry and Jess, were the best! Great at making us welcome, showing us around, making us laugh and taking us on safari. We even came across a 2 metre carpet python on the track. The price may work against them as not many will consider going there at this cost.

Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank jane255108
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jabiru Safari Lodge

Property: Jabiru Safari Lodge
Address: Pickford Road | PO Box 2446, Mareeba, Queensland 4880, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Mareeba
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Mareeba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Jabiru Safari Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Jabiru Safari Lodge is a comfortable nature and Outback experience that has been designed to ensure you can experience the wildlife in a natural bush setting. Your Lodge Host and Reserve Guide will make you welcome and be happy to assist to make your stay memorable and rewarding. ... more   less 
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