Gretchen’s Blog

Remember the Swiss Family Robinson house? A tropical jungle tree house paradise, which the Swiss Robinson family built as shelter after they were marooned. The Swiss Family Robinson is a novel, first published in 1812, about a Swiss family who are shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia. (It was later made into a movie in the 1960s). The important thing here is that the family’s house was everybody’s dream tropical getaway. It was high in the trees, right next to the beach, in complete harmony with its jungle surroundings.

Today, I visited the Australian equivalent to the Swiss Family Robinson house.

Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers is the perfect relaxing environment for ages 18 to 80 looking for beach-side fun. Visitors have several accommodation options, including dorm room, cabin, camping or luxury tent hire. It is all situated under the shade of the melaleuca, gum, and eucalyptus trees, making for a cool, relaxing environment. It is not rare to see koalas throughout the trees! Many of the cabins and walkways are raised from the ground a few feet… just like the Swiss family Robinson’s tree house!

I was welcomed in by owner Michelle and her partner Mick. When I arrived, they brought me into their house, which is located right on the property, poured me a big glass of fruit juice, and began telling me all about Mick’s dream to start a backpacker’s place in Australia. Being world travelers themselves, Mick & Michelle, love interacting with their guests, hearing everyone’s travel stories and recommending great places to visit. Since they both know Australia like the back of their hands, they can point any traveler in the right direction toward a good adventure. Within the first 10 minutes I chatted with Michelle, she had whipped out her atlas and was recommending all sorts of places to visit up and down the east coast.

As she gave me a tour around the property, she explained to me that when purchasing the property in 1996, they decided to keep as many of the original trees and shrubbery as possible, “because when you keep the trees, you keep the animals.” Michelle is quite the animal lover, herself, and is actually a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator for injured or orphaned animals. She looks after heaps of beautiful birds, possums, a sugar glider, and an orphaned wallabee named Bobby. My favorite was the galah parrot named Lenny Cough-Cough, because his previous owner must’ve had a smoker’s cough which he now copies. The resident Western grey kangaroo, Josie, spends her days lying in the campers’ yard. Josie is used to humans, so she doesn’t mind if you walk up and pet her!

From there, I took a 5-minute stroll to One Mile Beach, where Anna Bay Surf School is located. Heaps of surfers and beach bathers dotted the shore line, and I decided to take a hike up the nearby hill to get an arial view of the action. Great view!

I’d recommend (and actually have, already) Melaleuca Surfside Backpackers to anyone looking for a relaxing Aussie getaway for travelers!



Read more about Gretchen’s adventures in Post Stephens here:

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