Ingenius escapes - world's coolest treehouse holidays
What’s On profiles some of the best treehouse holidays, including Queensland, Nairobi, Italy, India, Costa Rica, Portugal, Scotland and Washington USA.
Remember that old Kookaburra campfire song? Well, here’s a chance to sing it in situ – though not necessarily from a gum tree. The Jurassic Park-like splendour of the Cairns highlands is where this cluster of luxury treehouses is perched in the canopy of an ancient rainforest on the banks of the Ithaca River. With the emphasis on eco-living and wildlife, you’ll find yourself sharing tucker with inquisitive possums, tree kangaroos, parrots and more.
Nests: Two to four
On ground level: Explore the national parks, waterfalls and crater lakes of the region, go fishing for barramunda, and check out the fabulous local restaurants.
‘I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong hills…’ So begins Karen Blixen’s famous book (later turned into a film) Out Of Africa. Visitors to Ngong House, a home stay nestled in ten acres of private land, can gaze out at those very hills. Here, wooden tree houses with traditional grass roofs offer uninterrupted views of the bush while inside four four-poster beds, rugs, stained glass and writing desks conjure up a bygone age of gracious living. Out of Africa? Out of this world.
On ground level: Visit the Blixen Museum, the Giraffe Center, and Nairobi National Park. Relax in the beautiful grounds before sundowners and dinner.
Who needs to relax in a fancy-pants spa when all you have to do is stand on the circular deck of this idyllic retreat and let the intoxicating scent of the surrounding lavender fields waft over you? Set high in a century-old oak tree, this little treehouse is a gem. Watch the sun set over the rolling landscape, famed for its olive groves, before retiring to a four-poster bed, safe in the knowledge that breakfast will be delivered to your perch via a pulley system the next morning.
On ground level: Explore the unspoilt countryside and coastline close by, go horse-riding, play golf, enjoy the local food and drink, chill by the pool.
Your very own Jungle Book moment awaits at The Treehouse Hideaway, which merges into Bandhavgarh National Park, one of the finest tiger reserves in the world. From your remote but comfortable treehouse, made entirely from local timber and open on one side, you’ll spot an abundance of wildlife, including mongoose, antelope and sloth bears, not to mention, of course, a big cat or too if you’re lucky.
On ground level: Head off on safari in an escorted 4×4, visit traditional villages, perch in hides overlooking the lodge’s waterhole, which wild animals visit.
LIMON, COSTA RICA
Straight out of The Swiss Family Robinson, this stilted treehouse on an eco-lodge is built from sustainable wood, and reached via a steep suspension bridge: even the bathroom is built ingeniously around a 100-year-old tree. Exotic birds flit through swaying palms, howler monkeys chatter, and the sound of the surf is never far away as the lodge overlooks Punta Uva beach, one of the most beautiful in the country.
Nests: Two to five
On ground level: Surf, swim, and sunbathe; take the Iguana Conservation Tour; visit the Cahuita National park, including spectacular coral reefs.
Back-to-nature types will go nuts for this rustic treehouse built high in the branches of a century-old walnut tree. Set on an eco-friendly farm deep in a secluded valley, this sweet spot can be rented separately, or bigger parties can combine it with the self-catering farmhouse accommodation close by. You’ll have plenty to look at as you nod off to sleep – this is star-gazing heaven.
On ground level: Surf at nearby Arrifana beach, hike or cycle into the hills and mountains, or swim in the natural lake.
La Palombiere is a beautifully appointed perch in the woods of a traditional French manor house, and takes treehouse chic to a whole new level: crisp linens on a canopy bed, champagne in the fridge, twinkling lights and a cosy wood-burner provide romance. There’s also room for the family in the attic above if necessary. Breakfast is served on the treehouse terrace every morning, while the nearby restaurant will deliver gourmet dinners for you to enjoy under the stars.
Nests: Two to five
On ground level: Visit the surrounding vineyards, beautiful countryside, pretty villages, and the city of Bordeaux.
VICTORIA FALLS, ZAMBIA
Tarzan might not appreciate the ‘no loincloth’ policy at über-luxurious Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma safari lodge, but who cares? Settled on a bend in the Zambezi River not far from the jaw-dropping Victoria Falls, each of the 12 round thatched treehouses with private decks are reached via stilted wooden walkways. Inside it’s all tasteful whites, creams and swathes of netting.
On ground level: Visit the Falls, take canoe trips, walking safaris and game drives through the Mosioa-Tunya National Park (home of the rare white rhino), book a spa treatment.
This fairy-tale treehouse, set in a peaceful glade beside 14th-century Fernie Castle, has a higgledy-piggledy charm with a witch’s hat turret, and lots of quirky detail. A staircase is designed to resemble the hollow of a tree, the furniture looks as if it’s been made by elves, and ceilings are awash with stars and unicorns. Luckily, modern-day wishes are granted too with a flatscreen TV, all mod cons, and an old-fashioned slipper bath fit for a princess.
On ground level: Explore the 17 acres of woodland, visit the beautiful city of Edinburgh, dine in the castle and enjoy the 500-year-old bar.
This remote mountain retreat is the stuff of childhood dreams, although you’ll need a head for heights, as it’s plonked 50 feet up in a lush evergreen forest. This treehouse, set in a 200-year-old cedar, is simple and rustic, but the spectacular views to Mount Rainier are unsurpassed, not least from the Treehouse Observatory next door, which is positioned 100 feet high up a pine tree and reached by chain-link bridge.
Nests: Two to five
On ground level: Hike in Mount Rainier National Park, go swimming and trout fishing, barbeque by the creek, swing in a hammock and look at the stars.
OR HOW ABOUT THE WORLD’S LARGEST TREEHOUSE….