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“Loved our stay”

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Jabiru Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 November 2013

We stayed for one night in september.
We arrived in the morning and even as we knew we were too early we were offered a coffee for free and could enter our Eco tent before noon.
In the afternoon Greg took us on the safari with the boat and car. Afterwards we enjoyed sunset with wine. As we booked all- in we also had a lovely dinner and the day we left breakfast.
Our tent was clean and the staff very friendly and helpful!
It was a wonderful experience we had and the wonderful environment helped also!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Arlet2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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73 - 79 of 123 reviews

Reviewed 22 November 2013

We stayed for 2 nights at the Jabiru Safari Lodge in an Eco Safari Tent. Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by Linda and Marge and were immediately given all necessary information about the wetlands, walking tracks, safaris, and dinner options.

We were escorted to our tent and given 2 esky coolers with frozen water bottles (which were changed regularly during our stay). The Eco Tent was clean and spacious. While sitting on the verandah we could see emus, wallabies, kangaroos, lizards, and loads of birds, absolutely unique in every possible way!

At sunset (around 6pm) we were invited by Margareth and Linda to have some drinks and snacks at the main Lodge with the other guests. This gave us the opportunity to get to know the other guests as well as the owners/management.

Watching the sunset from this Lodge, as well as just leaning back and looking at the birds is a wonderfully relaxing experience.

As we chose to have dinner included in our package we would be asked what we preferred to eat and would be given the choice between several plates (all cooked freshly on the spot!). Dinner was always delicious, as were the desserts!

What we'll always remember about our stay is the honest warmth and friendliness of Marge, Linda and Greg, who really did everything to make our stay as memorable as possible!

We also booked a really nice boat/jeep-safari with Greg, who certainly knows his way around the wetlands and its wildlife.

Overall this was an amazing experience, not only thanks to the setting and scenery but also thanks to the lovely people managing the Jabiru Safari Lodge!!

Kevin and Lesley

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Kevin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 November 2013

We stayed at the Jabiru Safari Lodge on Saturday night and the overall experience was fantastic!
our hosts Greg and Marg gave us true Australian hospitality and wonderful service
We went on the Safari with Greg and saw wallabys, kangaroos, various birds and exquisite landscape surrounded by beautiful wetlands,Greg is a very knowledgable identifying all of our Australian species and allowing time for visitors to get their much prized pictures
On our return drinks and nibbles on the verandah , and watching a perfect sunset completed our afternoon
the Luxury safari Tents with en suites enable you to enjoy true Australian bushland in luxury
even getting visits from emus!
Dinner was excellent as was breakfast , all fresh and delicious
I would recommend this experience for both overseas visitors and Australians alike .

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank swimmingly_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2013

I strive to be honest in my reviews. I don't embellish. So this one will be the hardest one I've ever written.

If you were to ask me if I could recommend STAYING at the Jabiru Safari Lodge I would have to say absolutely not. Day trips? Fine, but don’t waste your money on the ‘safaris’ or the boat trip. Even a canoe must be rented.

Our three night stay was fraught with lapses in management, amenities and services.
The website extolls the fact that this is similar to an African safari, and in fact, it is-to a degree.

You’re staying in a spacious, screened tent. The tent is above the ground and has a lovely verandah. We watched wallabies and a family of emus pass. We heard Brolga AND Sarus cranes calling from the lakes, and curlews wailing at night. The wildlife and the tent is where the similarity to a ‘safari’ ends.

They have two types of tents; the ‘eco’ tent, and the deluxe. Neither is cheap, but of the two, believe it or not, the eco type was far cooler and more pleasant to live in.

When we arrived, we were forced to wait almost an hour before our tent was deemed ‘ready for occupancy.” That’s because the hot water heater had stopped working. Finally they got it ‘fixed’, long enough for us to move in. As it was late, we immediately began cooking dinner.

Instead of the advertised BBQ grill, our eco tent had a small two burner gas stove. It hadn’t been cleaned in a long time, and flared up for a while before the jets burned themselves clean. This was worrisome as the stove is quite close to the canvas tent-and the country as a whole has been under a withering drought for several months.

Kitchenware is provided in a plastic box, with a note (written and produced by the former owners, NOT the present management) advising it be kept closed to keep insects and dirt out. Ours hadn’t been closed in a very long time, if the sand and dead insect in the box was any indication. Included with a set of dishes, bowls and coffee mugs, was a dishpan, a bottle of dishwashing liquid, a worn dish towel, and a very, very old, tattered and stained Handi Wipe (called ‘Chux in Australian) that was (I’m assuming) intended to use to wash dishes.

One of the two kitchen knives had a sticky crust of something on it.

Luckily, I learned BEFORE I put our dinner on the dishes that they’d been ‘washed’ but not rinsed. Now I know why. It’s intended, I think, that one rinses the dishes in the tub. (Because there’s no hot water to the sink in the bathroom, and the cold water is non-potable). When I went to rinse the soapy dishes, I discovered that the hot water heater had stopped working. Again. Obviously this problem with the hot water heater was not a new one.

But no hot water means one can’t rinse the dishes.

Being long experienced campers, we washed and rinsed the dishes the old fashioned way: soaped them up in dishpan and rinsed them with hot water heated in the teapot.
Where does one store one’s clean dishes, then? In the dusty plastic box they came in.
Obviously management expects that the prior tenant one, knows to wash their dishes, and two, actually does it. It’s also painfully obvious that no one checks the boxes for the cleanliness of the kitchenware, or even for completeness.

Jabiru’s website says that the ‘eco’ tent has a gas fridge. Ours did not. Instead of a refrigerator, the eco tent has an ‘esky’…a large plastic box, large enough to store all your food, but certainly not up to the rigors of the Aussie climate. They’re kept cold by using frozen bottles of water which, we were assured upon check in, would be changed out daily.

That did not happen. The bottles in the esky were frozen when we checked in, but had completely defrosted by the next day. They were never replaced during our three day stay.

Being that this is a B&B, you’re fixing your own dinner (unless you choose to buy their horribly overpriced ‘dinner packages’ that consist almost solely of meat.) We didn’t purchase the ‘dinner packs’. Good thing, as it’s almost impossible to cook a pair of steaks on the tiny two burner stove in the eco tent.

The eco tent has solar powered (hence, battery) power, but you’re advised to use it sparingly. It powers two fluorescent lights and two tiny fans. They would be better off using LED lamps, which use a tenth of the power and are much brighter.

The ‘en suite’ bathroom in the eco tent was outdoors, although covered (and walled, for privacy) with a large canvas rain/sun fly and accessible to the main tent through a zippered doorway.

After doing dishes the camper way, I walked down to reception to ask for a second wash cloth (as only one had been provided for two people), and to report that the hot water heater wasn’t working. The request for a second wash cloth was met with a rather grieved expression of ‘you’re really asking a LOT’ (but I was given a second wash cloth) and an assurance that the hot water heater would be ‘attended to’.

Which it was…within minutes, one of the managers came to look at the heater. He tinkered with it, found that it worked on one setting but not on the appropriate second one, and warned us that it wasn’t working right, and if we heard popping noises, or smelled smoke from the tank, to shut it off.

I was lucky…I got a quick hot shower, but within a minute of turning the hot water on, I smelled smoke and heard an ominous popping sound. My husband shut off the tank. That was the last time the hot water heater worked.

From then on, things got worse. Every day, I found myself trotting down to the reception building to ask for things that should have been provided (and that I was paying for).On the day we were supposed to get fresh towels, etc., we turned in two bath towels, two washcloths, the stained and tattered ‘Chux’ dishcloth, the dish towel, and the wet bath mat (nothing dries in that climate).

When we returned that afternoon, we found two bath towels and hand towels, tossed on one of the beds. No frozen bottles in the esky, (the ones in it had melted), no towels for washing or drying dishes, no washcloths to bathe with and only a half roll of toilet paper to last us another two days. AND no hot water.

Back at the reception desk, I reported that we still had no hot water. I was told it’d been ‘fixed’ and in a rather dismissive tone, was asked ‘had we let the water run?’

The hot water heater is an ‘on demand’ type, meaning it’s designed to be hot right now. They KNOW that. I felt like a five year old being remanded for being a whiner.

When I complained (politely, mind you) that despite what they believed, the hot water heater was NOT working. And may I have at least another roll of toilet paper?

It was suggested to me that ‘had we booked a “deluxe’ tent (at a much higher cost), I wouldn’t have had these issues.”

There is no appropriate (or civil) response when one is being blamed for problems one has absolutely no control over. Blaming the victim is merely managements’ way of abdicating responsibility.

A most unhappy camper, I went back to my tent, muttering epithets under my breath, resolving to one, never come back, and two, make a ripping report to Trip Advisor.

Within minutes, one of the managers drove up and said that, because of all the issues we’d had with the Eco tent, would we accept a complementary upgrade to a ‘deluxe tent’?

I suspect that the offer was due primarily to the very real danger of a fire or a propane explosion in the tent…but we accepted.

I admit that the upgrade was the right thing for management to do.

We moved into the deluxe tent, which is deluxe solely in that it has electricity, a real gas grill, a refrigerator and a microwave. However, it was much hotter in the deluxe tent, and the emus didn’t bother to visit.

Kitchenware was provided in a transportable ‘picnic basket’. When we set the table for dinner, however, we discovered it had only one dinner plate.

Our stay from start to finish was fraught with irritating lacks of amenities we shouldn’t have had to worry about. The real danger of a malfunctioning propane hot water heater is something that shouldn’t have happened.

Even the breakfasts provided were pathetically TMF (typical motel fare). One was provided yogurt, a platter of slices of fruit, dry cereals (corn flakes, etc), a choice of white or raisin bread, a toaster to toast with, and of course, the miniscule ‘tubs’ of industrially produced jam and butter, each of which contains perhaps a half teaspoon of sugary something with artificial flavoring. Orange juice, coffee and tea were available as well.

The problem with Jabiru is the motel management.

There is none. There is such a pathetic lack of even the most basic knowledge of motel management that one wonders how they manage to get such a high rating in the first place. It appears that management has disengaged itself from the actual process of running a motel, and is depending on the housekeepers’ loyalty to make sure things actually happen. And, because the housekeeper (it seems there’s only one on duty) is overworked, unsupported, and possibly underpaid, it’s hard to ‘keep good help”.

No one is checking that the proper number of towels is provided. No one is checking on how many dishes are in each tent, or if they’ve been cleaned. No one is checking to see if the eskys are properly and daily supplied with frozen water bottles.

The excuse we heard was that the original owners/management walked out without warning a year ago. But a year is plenty of time to learn how to provide the services expected in a motel.

If they’re not willing to hire more worker bees, then management needs to come out from behind the reception desk and pick up the slack. This means, going into each tent before the next person checks in to see: are the dishes clean, and all present? Are there enough towels? Are the eskys fully charged?

The trouble I have with writing this review is that the staff (management and housekeeping); really mean well. Bless their hearts, they seem to be nice people, but are completely over their heads in running the place.

The problems we experienced weren’t due to malfeasance, but bungling incompetence.

Jabiru Safari Lodge has a great idea: provide a semblance of living in the Australian bush. But the prices they are charging for the lack of even the most basic of motel amenities means it is probably not a good choice.

Room Tip: If you insist on going, get the eco tent. They're much cooler.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SeattleMeadowlark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2013

Waking to the sounds of a daddy emu and his chicks outside the tent. Walking through the bush to the large lagoon. Startling black tailed wallabies. Brolgas dancing, jabirus nesting and hundreds of water birds. Fresh tropical fruit for breakfast. Cannoeing on the billabong. Making new international friends over sunset drinks and home style dinner. This is glamping at its best:-)

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Colin H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2013

If bush,birds and wildlife,safaris combined with generous hospitality are what you are looking for than a stay at Jabiru Safari Lodge is the place to visit.
The dining and viewing area of the wetlands was welcoming, spacious and a great place to relax for as long as one desires.
The tented accommodation was clean, comfortable and congruent with the Aussie bush -a well provided for barbecue on our own outdoor area leaves a lingering memory of bushland magic at its best.
Hosts Greg and Margaret are hospitality perfected and their individual efforts to ensure a successful stay could be summed up as the most impressive I have ever experienced.
Robyn R.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Robyn R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 November 2013

We stayed two nights at the lodge in a deluxe safari tent, having booked the all inclusive package. It was well worth it. The operators took extremely well care of us. We went on two safaris and learned about the origins of the Mareeba wetlands - a man made project where they turned land unsuitable for growing sugar cane into wetlands and created a paradise for all kinds of birds and other wild life. We saw an amazing variety of birds - many more than we would ever see in Europe.

The safari tent lets you experience the night and early morning (the birds start their day well before sun rise) in a comfortable and unique way. The singing at 5 am is just amazing, when the sun comes up, it all quiets down again.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner was always prepared fresh. For dinner we had a variety of meats, fish, vegetables and salads that were like home made - just better - and tasted excellent. The deserts were outstanding.

We will try to come back!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Matthias K
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

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: £145 - £194 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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