“ Address: Lot 1 Cape Tribulation Road / Thornton Beach / Queensland 4873 / Australia „
We stayed for 4 nights at Thornton Beach Bungalows in April/May 2011. I found them after searching for accommodation within the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland and after checking out their website and reading some previous guest reviews (including those on Tripadvisor) I decided that one of their little cabin bungalows was exactly what we need for a chill out break at the end of our latest Aussie adventure.
The cost of renting one of these bungalows was $85 AUD per night (around £55 at the time of writing) so the four nights cost just over £200 which, given the location we considered a pretty good deal. Bookings can be made via the website and you pay a deposit to secure the dates but the booking is not confirmed until the balance is paid. I made enquiries and exchanged emails with the owners (Karen and Drew who are very friendly and accommodating) before arranging payment via paypal.
The 2 bungalows are located at Thornton Beach which is a 20 minute journey into the rainforest after crossing the Daintree River (once you get over the river on the car ferry you are in the rainforest proper and there is no mains electric and only one sealed main road). The beach is on one side of the road and the plot for the bungalows (and the main house which can also be rented) is on the other. This does mean you are seperated from the beach by the road but it is still literally within spitting distance and as the road is virtually deserted it is not really an issue.
You are so close to the beach that you go to sleep and wake up to the sound of the waves and from the verandah you can see the waves rolling in through the trees. This is the area of the world where the 'rainforest meets the reef' and it does indeed run all the way down to the beach, including surrounding the bungalows and forming a line on the other side of the road.
So - each bungalow has a designated parking slot in front of it (cars are essential for exploring this area unless you want to join a massive tour group on a day trip) and an external verandah with garden chairs and a table on. The verandah and the bungalow itself is raised off the ground on stilts in typical Queensland fashion to help prevent flood damage and also to raise it above the forest floor and all the snakes and bugs which inhabit it.
It is fair to say that inside the bungalows are small and pretty basic - but we did not find ourselves 'missing' anything and in the name of getting away from it all it was everything we needed. The main room contains a queen size bed and then you have about 3 foot around the perimeter of it in floorspace. There is a chair on one side of the bed (I used it as a bedside table) whilst the other side of the bed faces a recess which provides a waist high shelf and extra floor space underneath this.
On the shelf you will find a kettle and tea/coffee making facilities along with a pile of information about the Daintree and it's sights. Underneath the shelf on the floor is an esky (ice box - you can buy ice at a garage a couple of miles down the road on your way into the Daintree) and a large plastic container with crockery, cutlery, glasses and some basic cleaning products to keep you going. Above the shelf, near the ceiling, is a hanging rail which we found very useful given the lack of floorspace. Our luggage fitted nicely under the shelf along with the esky and plastic box and we coped very well in this cosy set up.
The bathroom is good, featuring a decent and powerful shower, basin and toilet. Hooks and a small folding table provide places to hang towels and arrange your toiletries, the water is heated by solar power but thankfully in this area of the world the sunshine is frequent enough that this was never a problem for us.
My one and only bugbear with staying here stemmed not from the bungalow or from anything the owners could control. It was something I had read in another review on Tripadvisor but hoped we would not experience. Basically there is a cafe across the road next to the beach in a layby. This was useful for booking trips and getting cold beers, ice creams and snacks as and when. But the owners are OBSESSED by their leaf blower.
On 2 out of the 4 mornings we were woken at 6.50am and 7.15am by the shockingly loud and sudden sound of what we initially thought was a chainsaw. It is in fact the man who owns and lives next door to the cafe wandering round his property blowing leaves into piles and away from the paths. Fair enough this needs to be done - but at 7am in the morning!? When i'm on holiday one of the main things I enjoy is waking naturally - and in such a beautiful place I was very much looking forward to waking to the sounds of the forest and the sea, it was a bit of a shame that it was not to be - although I was grateful this rude awakening was not every morning. Thankfully I never travel without earplugs.
Aside from this gripe we absolutely loved staying here and I would definitely stay here again, in terms of location and value for money I think it would be difficult to beat and we enjoyed it immensely.
***This review or parts of it may also be published on Tripadvisor***