The Irwins have come up with an even more meaningful way to honour Steve Irwin’s legacy by opening luxury accommodation The Crocodile Hunter Lodge in Beerwah, Queensland — about 60 miles (96.5 km) north of Brisbane — on June 22. By Rachel Chang
“Steve always wanted to give guests the experience of staying overnight and offer unique accommodation where people could appreciate our beautiful wildlife,” general manager and longtime Irwin family confidant Luke Reavley told Travel + Leisure.
Here’s a look inside the luxury lodge made to honour Steve Irwin
Located just south of the family’s Australia Zoo near the Glass House Mountains, the property features eight family-friendly cabins, as well as a two-room accessible cabin, in an area that’s a habitat for kangaroos, emus, and koalas. The area also includes a new home for the zoo’s southern koalas, who were victims of the 2020 bushfires, where they live alongside echidnas.
“The Irwin family has been super involved throughout the entire project,” Reavley said. “In the early days of planning, we would all meet and work out theming and design elements. They also came up with the perfect name for the lodge and restaurant. Throughout the build, we visited most days to see what exciting part had been finished.”
Both of Irwin’s kids, Bindi, 23, and Robert, 18, added their own touches to the property. “Bindi chose the perfect name for the restaurant, Warrior, paying tribute to Steve who coined the phrase Wildlife Warrior, and the next generation, Grace Warrior,” Reavley told T+L. “Robert made the pool extra special, photographing two of Australia Zoo’s crocodiles that were printed onto the pool tiles. It’s super cool, and a little unnerving!”
As for Steve’s widow Terri, there’s an extra significance to the site. “The front doors and check-in desk are recycled timber from the original Crocodile Environmental Park that Steve built himself — it’s also the spot [where] Steve and Terri first met in 1991″ he said. “There are so many special sentimental parts of the lodge. We designed it with our Outback Conservation Property in mind, which Steve and Terri first purchased to protect wildlife in the early 2000s. It was one of Steve’s all-time favourite places.”
Guests to the lodge will receive a welcome gift upon arrival, as well as free breakfast, unlimited entry to the Australia Zoo, shuttle service to and from the zoo, entry to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital, and exclusive use of the lodge’s 82-foot-long infinity pool called The Billabong, from which the wildlife can be spotted. In addition to the Warrior Restaurant and Bar (where the current seasonal menu features mint-crusted Tasmanian lamb loin, Queensland blue pumpkin, and rosemary risotto), there’s also a gift shop, laundry facilities, and a 24-hour concierge.
For Reavley himself, who is familiar to viewers of the Animal Planet show Crikey! It’s the Irwins, it’s been a realisation of a plan years in the making. “When I started working at Australia Zoo 16 years ago, the team were talking about a long-term plan, so it’s surreal that we’re now at this point and about to welcome guests,” he said. His favourite element is the lodge’s First Nation artwork. “It’s been incredible to feature such beautiful original pieces” he said, adding that he also adores the “expansive” on-site animal habitat. “Sitting at the lodge and seeing koalas high up in the eucalyptus trees, red kangaroos grazing, and emus wandering around is perfection.”
The new site hopes to give visitors a more immersive way to enjoy everything The Crocodile Hunter himself embodied. “The lodge celebrates what Steve loved most: wildlife, fun and family,” Reavley told T+L. “We’d love guests to have an unforgettable experience with their loved ones and leave feeling more connected to the natural world.”
For more information on The Crocodile Lodge and to book your stay, visit the hotel’s website here.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
(Main and Feature Image Credit: Kate Berry/Australia Zoo/Courtesy of Crocodile Hunter Lodge)