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“Wonderful property, warm hosts” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Jabiru Safari Lodge

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Jabiru Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Wonderful property, warm hosts”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2013

I wavered between 4-star and 5-star rating on this one, only because there were less birds on view than we expected. The lodge itself is beautifully located--out of the way, but not difficult to get to--and nicely set up. The open-air main building overlooks the water and is a great place to watch the sun set while sipping your beverage of choice. Our safari tent was similar to luxury tents we've slept in on Africa trips. Since we visited in July, we had no problem with heat, in fact, one of the nights, we were happy to have the nice warm comforter on the bed. Temperatures were actually perfect. Very few mozzies, considering the tents are a few metres from the water. A group of wild emus wanders around the lodge and grounds, not afraid of people and quite happy to be photographed.
As far as we were concerned, the icing on the cake was the hosts, who were more than keen to make sure we enjoyed our stay.
Note: you may as well plan to eat at the lodge, as there's nothing much else available anywhere close and the lodge food is good.
So go for the bush atmosphere, the comfortable accommodations, the friendly hosts and don't fuss too much about seeing mobs of birds, which may or may not be there. This WAS the only place on our trip around northern Queensland & the NT where we saw black swans.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 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
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank M B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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108 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (18)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2013

We stopped by as we were passing, by just noticing the highway sign, and encountered a beaut surprise !! That resulted in us having a snack and then returning the following day and staying 2 nights, with1 boat & 3 land rover safaris. Greg & Marg who are running this private conservancy property are immediately friendly, relaxed and excellent hosts -- nothing is too much trouble. The bird watching is great and varied. It is a very comfortable and friendly way to experience the savannah.
The fact that there are only 5 tents' accommodation means that there are only a small number of residents at any time. Jabiru Lodge is well worth a visit as a destination or in passing -- also great as a day visitor on the way pass. The cafe/restaurant supplies good food & drink. Their full board/package covers all meals & safaris

We hope that they will enjoy a terrific future
Sydney Oldies

Room Tip: the eco-tents are 5-star, with bedroom, full ensuite, deck & bbq; we stayed in the standard clas...
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Douglas S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ware
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2013

Following a two week holiday in North Queensland I had a couple of days at the end with nothing booked. As I am keen on wildlife, I noticed this lodge on the internet and decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. When I arrived in the early evening, the owners Greg and Marg were preparing sundowner drinks and nibbles for myself and other guests on the viewing deck which has a great location and view over the lake. The luxury tent was great with good beds, hot water and ample space. The wildlife viewing via boat, vehicle or on foot was great and the food was excellent. Greg and Marg did a great job making me feel very welcome. I had a very enjoyable two days here and can thoroughly recommend Jabiru Safari Lodge to anyone who is interested in seeing wildlife and enjoys good hospitality.

Andrew Payne

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • 4 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?
1 Thank Andrew P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
149 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 June 2013

We are not birders. We did want to have an experience of at least one night out in a tent during our holiday. Luxury Tent sounded good. $450 for 2 not so much. But figure a few things:
Lodging is probably worth about $200.
Dinner was about $100 between the food and endless wine.
Breakfast was simple, lets call it $30
Evening Boat/Safari tour - value at $130 based on other similar tours

So the price is a little high but about right.

The tent accommodations were neat and well set-up. We had a fridge, power and lights, and our own shower/toilet. Note that the bathroom is sort-of outside (as in the bugs can get to you).
As noted, there is a mosquito net for the bed, but it doesn't fit. The tent was secure and no bugs for the night, so no worries.

The boat trip included one other drive up family. But our safari was just us - so we got a good personal tour. I think this personal service is the value of this place.
Breakfast was at the hosts house, where we watched a few birds show up on the patio - again another personal touch.

As a non-birder, one night was just right. We got there early the first day and stayed through the morning the next day. This is not just lodging but the activity as well.

This is not a large operation, so you get a personal touch all the time. That is why the cost is more - you get what you pay for.

I highly recommend this experience.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank bstrvl55711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ontario, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2013

Visited Dec 20-23, 2012. We are birdwatchers.

The new owners, Greg and Marg, and their son James, were absolutely wonderful hosts. The rooms are just as you see on the website. This is upscale camping - a large roomy tent, built on a platform with a deck, toilet, washbasin, and shower attached. Hot and cold running water, a refridgerator, and an electric fan for warm nights. If you are a camper, you will feel absolutely spoiled.

The manager of the resort, Shelley, is absolutely wonderful. She prepared amazing meals, and entertained us with stories and details of the local wildlife. While we briefly met Jason, we did not have a chance to have a wildlife tour with him, although we heard that he was very, very good.

As our focus was birding, we hired a guide recommended by the owners. His name is David "Chook" Crawford. He is a fantastic guide and a fine gentleman. Over the course of the day and half that we travelled with him, we were able to identify 116 species - many quite rare. We would highly recommend hiring him if you plan to travel to Jabiru to birdwatch. His website is http://www.closeupbirding.com.au/guide or it can be arranged through the lodge.

Jabiru is not for someone looking for an upscale hotel, this is indeed camping. It is clean, and comfortable, with friendly staff and gracious hosts. The new owners definitely have this place pointed in the right direction. This is a beautiful part of Australia not to be missed.

Mary & Geoff

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 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?
2 Thank Geoff R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 December 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, travelled 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
Williamston, Michigan
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 November 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, travelled 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
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Additional Information about Jabiru Safari Lodge

Property: Jabiru Safari Lodge
Address: Pickford Road | PO Box 2446, Mareeba, Queensland 4880, Australia
Region: Australia > Queensland > Mareeba
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Speciality 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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