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May 31, 2006

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                     Silky Oaks Lodge

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An hour south of Cape Tribulation and a 20-minute (17-mile) drive from Port Douglas, on the edge of the Daintree Rainforest and the Mossman Gorge, is the exclusive Silky Oaks Lodge. It’s a 4-star hotel with 50 treehouses, all named after Australian creatures. I was in the Crocodile Treehouse. Like the others, it nestled up in the gardens and rainforest, and offer plenty of privacy. All rooms have timber floors, a king-size bed, comfortable furnishings, a spacious bath with Jacuzzis, and a deck with a double hammock. I didn’t have to worry about snakes or spiders there, because the staff did a great job keeping the rooms very clean. (Of course, my prankster colleagues had the manager leave a fake spider on my pillow. When I returned from dinner I almost had a heart attack).

Breakfast and dinner are included in the rates, and the food is very good. The best part, though, is the atmosphere. The dining room -- appropriately named the Treehouse Restaurant -- is located in a giant treehouse above the Mossman River, where guests kayak and swim. (There are no crocs: The water is too cold.) Sitting there listening to the gushing river makes (or at least seems to make) all your worries disappear. This is truly a relaxing place. Many guests play board games or read books. I opted to try a Koto massage from their acclaimed Healing Waters Spa. When it was done I felt like a jelly fish -- it was that good. Other activities include guided nature walks, mountain biking and nature slide shows. There’s a tennis court, fitness center, TV room, outdoor pool, free laundry facilities, and one computer with free internet. Silky Oaks Lodge: $350 AUD ($263 USD) per person, per room. Voyages Silky Oaks Lodge & Healing Waters Spa, Finlayvale Road, Mossman, Queensland: tel: 61-7-4098-1666; fax: 61-7-4098-1983.

The rainy season runs from December to March. The high season, from June to the end of October, is when temperatures are coolest, and rainfall is minimal.

Here’s a 2-minute Johnny Jet Video of my trip to the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef. With high-speed the video takes about one minute to load; with dial-up, please allow up to three weeks.

Next week we finish our trip to Australia. We travel to an exclusive island on the Great Barrier Reef, and spend a night in Brisbane!

Happy Travels,
Johnny Jet

*Please tell us what you think of this week's newsletter!

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Pictures From

The Trip


Silky Oaks Room




Breakfast View


Swimming In Mossman River


Next Week!

  • Wow, your trip to Australia looked awesome! The photos have left me speechless. Joe S – Anchorage, AK

  • I've been reading these for a long time, but Uluru is by far the best thing you've done!!! Karen T - Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed watching and listening to your video clip from Australia's Red Center. Great work! Can you provide me information on the background music (artist, song, album)? Needless to say, I like your taste in music, your skill in photography, and your choice of destinations. So, Who's That Girl? Thanks, John Frazier - Portland, Maine. REPLY: Thank you for the kind words! The song was off of the Voyages’ CD (the company that runs the hotels).

  • How come you didn't go to Coober Pedy ( with its opal mining history, underground houses, hotel and church? NHT - Grand Lake, CO. REPLY: Thanks for the email. There just wasn’t enough time.

  • Very interesting, but the video flashes by too fast! The tours offered by the Aboriginal people are very good. There is another way to get to Uluru. We took the train from Melbourne to Alice Springs - a delightful town with much history, then a bus to Uluru. Jan G - Concord, CA

  • Johnny - My wife and I have recently returned from a Sydney to San Francisco cruise on Diamond Princess (the Big ship with the BIG ship feel, but that"s another story). Your tip about the concierge (32nd) floor, which they call The Executive Club, at the Four Seasons Hotel - Sydney was invaluable to us. We had a package included two night stay at the Hotel. When we landed with Qantas at the Sydney Airport at 6;30a we were transferred to Four Seasons checking in at 9;00a. Along with a couple of hundred others we were told that our rooms wouldn't be ready until 3;00p. I remembered your tip in your 1/5/05 edition and arranged the upgrade for the Executive Club. It was great! For $90 AUS ($45pp) per day we were able to wait in comfort in the Club lounge, separated from the throng below, got a prime room several hours early, had a fine view of the Harbour, cocktail hour, full buffet breakfast in the morning and a super helpful staff. For future travel services, you own us. Bill Van Court - Denver, Colorado

  • Excellent Nancy & Dad

  • I am a huge Jimmie Johnson fan and was just searching on the net. I came across your article. I live in Erie, PA! I can't believe you visit here! That's awesome, and you are SO lucky to have met Jimmie. That would be a dream come true for me! M.L. – Erie, PA

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