All Posts By

Secrets On The Lake

Your own slice of Secrets…

By | Latest

As a parent it is an amazing and sometimes nail-biting journey watching your child take their first steps… on the loungeroom floor, in the schoolground, in their career, and in their relationships. As you watch your children walk out the front door into this big wide world, confidently taking steps towards their dreams and life’s journey, it is a special moment of pride, joy and dare I say… a tinge of sadness.

It’s a fine line traveled between shouting hallelujah at their successes and then holding yourself back when they stumble along the way to allow them to build the resilience to stand tall and on their own two feet. But wherever possible you offer words of comfort and unconditional love… they will always be your babies. And wherever possible you do what you can to help ease their journey.

Our daughter Cath has recently listed her unique 3 story Montville house at 79 Balmoral Road for sale. It’s a beautiful property with amazing investment potential… it has 2 street frontages and 2 completely separate 3-bedroom apartments with 180-degree ocean views. Ready to live in, rent or Air BNB the apartments, or turn into a massive 6-bedroom home. It also features the elevated wooden boardwalks, decks and platforms from the builders of the iconic rainforest getaway Secrets on the Lake at Lake Baroon. As a parent I am thinking outside of the box and want to do everything I can to expedite her sale… so we are offering a weekend stay to the lucky buyer that acquires this property and their own little slice of Secrets. As a parent we do what we can to help…

And then, when your nest is once again empty. What do you do?! Where do you go from here? This is your time and sometimes you need reminding who you have become, and of the things that give you joy and happiness. Seize this time! Grab the moments of joy and reconnect with each other as a couple… not just as Mum and Dad!

George and I believe that one of the best ways to do this is to regularly find time for a little escape far from the madding crowd… to celebrate each other and your relationship, to rekindle the fires, and to reinforce your connection. This is one of the reasons we built our treehouse retreat in the hinterland hills over 20 years ago. Secrets is a special place lovingly designed to celebrate romance, connection and creativity. When you come to Secrets, you are welcomed into our family… you are not just given a key and shown your cabin. There is a reason we have been billed on national television as ‘the perfect romantic escape for couples’.

After 50 years of marriage, George and I know a thing or two about romance and we have poured all that we have learned into creating our magical wonderland. We invite you to come and visit… whether for a romantic meal at our Dining on the Deck daytime licenced restaurant, with arguably one of the best lakeside views in the hinterland… or to spend time together in one of our stunning hand-crafted luxury treehouses.  Because if you’re lucky… this time belonging to just you is fleeting… the blessing is that you might be lucky enough to get to start all over again with your grandchildren!

For more information on Cath’s house contact Montville Real Estate on 07 5478 547 or  check out the link at

For more information or to book a meal or stay at Secrets please contact our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

Stop and smell the roses…

By | Latest

Secrets is a very special place… George and I think it is one of the most magical places in the world! Our treehouse guests and Dining on the Deck visitors let us know on a daily basis that the peace, creativity and connection to nature that is the cornerstone of Secrets touches the hearts and souls of all who visit our rainforest wonderland.

Often George and I are busy serving guests, maintaining our beautiful treehouses and manicuring our lush gardens. We don’t often get the chance to sit and smell the roses. In the quiet times like early this morning when I woke to the beautiful bird song that pulled me from my sleep, I feel immersed in its peacefulness and renewed by the calm and spiritual energy that has made this place a gathering spot for the Aboriginal tribes for many thousands of years. We can grab a moment and allow ourselves to get lost in the wonderful views of magnificent Lake Baroon and the cool of the pristine temperate rainforest. And then there are also the many lovely things that we have brought about in the building of our dream… such as our amazing gardens, and the unique and truly delightful treehouses where our passion and creativity was allowed full steam. Yes… we are not biased to think this is one of the most magical places in the world, and we love and are very proud to be here.

However, even being lucky enough to live and work in paradise, we too need to have a holiday from time to time. The most recent plan to find a bolt hole for 2 weeks in February this year fell under a bus, when some key staff dropped the bombshell that they were leaving, just before we were due to head off. Damn there goes the cruise ship without us. If you are like us and can only grab a few days here and there amongst work and staff commitments… we understand you entirely.

We are often time poor… but even grabbing a few days escape is enough to recharge the batteries and reconnect busy relationships.  Secrets is the perfect place to do just this, and for people who live in South East Queensland you won’t need to spend days travelling to reach paradise. Why Secrets? Because it ticks all the boxes. Peace, tranquillity, escape, beauty, excitement, exercise, things to do or not to do if you so choose. For some of you, it’s also a chance to revisit and catch up with George and myself, enjoy great, healthy, homemade food and taste treats from our Dining on the Deck daytime restaurant or delivered to your treehouse door. You might also like to venture out to sample the delights of the restaurant culture that the hinterland has become famous for. The delightful part about it is that for Sunshine Coasters, although it is just a hop and a step away, it’s also a world away. Take a moment… smell the roses. We will see you soon!

For more information or to book please contact our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit


A Secrets Surprise…

By | Latest

Planning a visit to Secrets on the Lake is an exciting and romantic thing to do for your partner. The feeling of love and connection that comes from being totally surprised by a partner who has gone to a lot of trouble is one of the glues that keep a relationship thriving. Some of our guests can be masters of subterfuge in order to hide the trail leading to this big surprise. My team love to get involved and the fun and games not only make our job a real pleasure but makes the event unforgettable.

I recall way back a lovely lady asking us if we would let her visit Possums treehouse to show her husband how beautiful it was. Of course we said yes… because she had already secretly paid for the room! Off they went to Possums, and the story goes that as she was showing him the treehouse, she decided to take the framed picture of Bower Birds off the wall and put up another painting (his birthday present) and then proceeded to sit on the lounge and then lie on the bed to try it out!  Obviously, he became more and more shocked by her behaviour until he finally got it. They were actually staying! Their smiles on returning to the reception were priceless.

We’ve had another lovely gentleman arrive with his beloved who had had a tea towel wrapped around her head since they left home. She was left in the car while he checked in, and then lead down the boardwalk to the treehouse and unmasked at the entrance to a wonderful surprise of a treehouse filled with rose petals, romantic music and luxury chocolates.

Elopements are another opportunity to surprise, with ring boxes hidden in petal hearts on the bed, white pebbles spelling out “Will you marry me?” set up on the jetty, and everything in between… depending on possibility and imagination.

All of this brings joy and harmony between couples and is so worth the trouble, whether it be the one doing the planning or the one trying not to let them know they have sussed that something is going on. God Bless them!

Why not let our team at Secrets help you to celebrate in a way that becomes a story at the dinner table that gets regaled for the rest of your life. If you have a hankering for a surprise to spoil your better half, then give our friendly team a call for some ideas or suggestions on how we can make your own surprises come to fruition. Call us on (07)54785888 or checkout our website and send us an enquiry.

Australian Good Food Guide People Choice Winner 2019…

By | Latest

Over the years we have realized that awards in the hospitality industry are often based on who you know rather than what you know. A panel of ‘experts’ sit and dissect your entry form which is either rejected for using a confusingly incorrect category system, or is disregarded for not using the special phraseology that particular awards committee require, or overlooked because you are a newcomer and need to serve your time. In 90% of cases big companies spend big money paying for a professional awards writer who then puts together a submission… and then maybe you are in with a chance??!

We decided many years ago to stop playing that game. We just don’t enter awards anymore. The joy on the faces of our luxury treehouse guests, return customers, wedding couples and restaurant patrons lets us know how our business is doing. The return customers, soul smiles and excellent reviews are really all the award we need. And I guess that’s why our news this week is extra special for us… because it comes from you!

What makes this different is that the annual AGFG Readers’ Choice Awards are designed to give the Australian public the opportunity to vote for their favourite establishments throughout the year. Patrons recognize a business’s efforts and ethics and then vote. To have received the 2019 People Choice Award we received the most votes in 2018 in our region and for our respective category. For us this means an awful lot! We are constantly trying to improve our facilities, service, products and food… and we are dedicated to providing you amazing service and healthy local food in a magnificent setting right on the shores of beautiful Lake Baroon. It does our hearts good to see that our efforts and ethics have been acknowledged. We must be on the right track?? And we will keep on doing what we do to the best of our ability.

We welcome you to pop in to our licensed daytime restaurant Dining on the Deck next time you escape to the hinterland and see for yourself why the good people of the Sunshine Coast area chose us for this award. We would love to share the magic with you! To check out the award listing use this link For more information please contact our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

What makes a perfect honeymoon?

By | Latest

Your honeymoon is the time you can finally relax and celebrate with each other after the whirlwind of planning and organisation preparing for the ‘I do’. Many couples spend thousands of dollars flying off to Fiji or Bali to find some alone time… but the perfect honeymoon doesn’t have to be an international destination, in fact the less you need to travel the more time you get to spend with one another! And in our eyes that is what makes a perfect honeymoon. It is that simple… private time with your bride or groom, in a magical location focused on providing you with all the attention to detail and the luxury extras to keep your souls singing.


Honeymooners want something extra special… and all of our treehouses are extraordinary! George and his talented team have lovingly maintained and continuously improved our treehouses, reception and restaurant, and beautiful grounds since we opened 25 years ago. Secrets on the Lake has been uniquely designed to delight and amaze you… and all presented with great taste and fantastic creativity. Our treehouses are full of carved cedar work, bespoke blacksmithing and artistic details. They really are the perfect place to retreat after the wedding to relax in privacy and to be together in our magical romantic wonderland.


Activities available (none of which are compulsory by the way!) include bushwalking, canoeing, fishing, billiards, picnics, sampling breakfast or lunch in Secrets Dining on the Deck Restaurant, BBQs or Meals to the cabin prepared by our chefs. Often the best medicine is simply just to relax into your treehouse with one another and let the stresses of the modern world slide away.


What makes us know we have the perfect honeymoon location is our guests! Our loved-up honeymooners tend to return to Secrets over the years for special anniversaries. We love the opportunity to catch up with them and their latest news … and get a real kick out of the connection that our cabins are partially responsible for many new additions to these beautiful families! Our longest repeat guest (20 years now!) still comes faithfully every August staying in our Wait Awhile treehouse and we really enjoy catching up and spoiling them a little bit more with the special extras we save for our repeat customers.


We would love to spoil you too! For more information about weddings, honeymoons, or special romantic getaways please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

Making a difference…

By | Blog, Latest

Sometimes we all wonder if what we are doing makes a difference? It is so lovely when life gives you a situation where you are reminded of the impact we can all have on one another. Recently I attended a seminar at Visit Sunshine Coast and was touched to find that the seminar leader had honeymooned at Secrets on the Lake and could not speak highly enough of the experience. But the icing on the cake was when I was leaving the event, much to my excitement, one of the ladies from the tourist team facilitating also approached me warmly, and said exactly the same thing! You should’ve seen my smile!


George and I have been creating our dream of Secrets for a long time. When we first opened our doors 25 years ago there were only 15 businesses in the hinterland incorporating Montville, Maleny and Mapleton. We all knew and respected each other, and we met and networked and had fun. Now I believe there are well over 150 businesses and add Air BNB into the mix and things have changed a lot over the years. However, our approach has never changed (unless, hopefully it was for the better). For us its all about the lovely details and thoughtful extras. When you arrive at Secrets on the lake, you don’t just get to stay in a luxury treehouse… you receive our complimentary offerings of a luxury breakfast basket with bottle of wine, home-made scones with jam and cream on your arrival, and croissants or muffins to top up breakfast each morning.


Our focus has always been to create the best, most magical experience for our guests, and every detail and feature of our treehouses has this experience in mind. We were the first business in this area to do a luxury BBQ hamper for our guests, and then a honeymoon package… and an escape package followed. Over the years we have put together some romantic and unique extras you can add to your stay to make it suit your personality. Now you can propose in rose petal words and trails, amidst luxury chocolates, cheese platters and celebrate the ‘YES” with a private restaurant prepared meal for 2 in your luxury treehouse. Its your choice!


We would be our pleasure to share Secrets with you as well. Just takes a visit to our website or a quick phone call to our office where the Secrets team will help you. And if you see me in the street please don’t hesitate to come and say hello… I’m still wearing my smile from the lovely comments at the seminar!

Take a break

By | Blog, Featured | No Comments

George and I have just had a week away to our favourite bolt hole on the coast in NSW. We have totally (or almost very nearly) put business on the back burner and spent the time resting, reading, going for walks and even went to the movies to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I actually managed to arrange a manicure and pedicure for myself… a real treat! We’ve tried to be good about food but also have enjoyed eating out most nights. Why? Because who wants to slave over a hot stove when on holiday! To top it off we have had lots of laughs with friends.

So… it is with this in mind that I can say with 100% surety that there really is nothing like a short break away to revive and rejuvenate! We returned to Secrets yesterday to find the staff had done really well and all was running like clockwork… and they had even arranged a top secret gathering of George’s nearest and dearest at the Lakehouse for his 75th birthday. He looks great for having had a break. We can only recommend it.

We would like to invite you to reap the benefits of getting away from it all and factor in a short break of your own. Some time to reconnect with each other, rest and rejuvenate. When you plan to visit us we have it all covered… the treehouses gleam, the lake is full to the brim and the gardens are flourishing, the chef’s are cooking up a storm, the staff are caring and professional, and along with all that, the Hinterland behind The Sunshine Coast beckons you with its amazing scenery, walks and iconic places to visit. Let us help you to book in some downtime. Call us on 07 54785888 or press the Book Now button on our webpage

Why We Welcome Direct Bookings

By | Blog | No Comments

They say change is inevitable… however sitting here with the wisdom of my seventy plus years, the rate of changes and the extent of them is often mind boggling! George and I have been in the accommodation business since 1994 with Secrets on the Lake. When we opened with our heritage cabin called The Whistle Stop, the key was left under the mat for guests to let themselves in! It was a simple world where guests gave us a call and made a booking by talking to us directly. They either posted us a cheque with the deposit or gave us a credit card number and we posted their booking confirmation out to them… the original snail mail. There was no middle man and in general getting away was pre-planned event worked out between you and I communicating.

I don’t have to tell you how different it is now in 2018. That personal touch seems lost but it really doesn’t take much to re-establish that connection. “A simple booking” on the surface seems so easy… but it is not. There are all sorts of complications and hidden charges. Huge multinationals are now poking their large noses into our business and a simple transaction has become crazy. Let me explain…

Secrets has a vacancy. You are wanting to come stay. Instead of calling us or visiting our website (best found by keying In the actual website and hitting the BOOK NOW button… there are hundreds of booking sites out there vying to take commissions (anything up to 30%) out of the tariff that we need to charge. They then ask us to offer discounts or they themselves offer discounts out of the commission so our agreement to offer the same tariff is undermined. They don’t ask us for permission to do this, they just do it. Meantime you, the guest, are often paying more for your stay than if you had contacted us directly. Nobody wins but the international booking sites.

But it doesn’t stop there! Other things complicate what should be a simple personal process. For your convenience, we have a Paypal account for when guests purchase a gift voucher online. Paypal charges a merchant fee of 3%. The latest ideas include Zip Pay and Afterpay. These allow you to pay off items in 4 regular payments in a regulated timeframe but have the use of them now. The cost to the accommodation owner is another 6%. Can you imagine the book keeping involved and the nightmare of keeping these complicated listings and accounts in order?!

We ask our wonderful customers to bear this in mind and remember the simple way… by using our BOOK NOW button OR give us a call (07) 54785888 OR email us through our contact page. Bring back the personal touch and reap the advantages… you have the pleasure of discussing which treehouse you would like, or taking advantage of our money saving midweek specials, or getting some answers to your individual questions, or requesting a tailored version of a package, or a payment plan that suits you. The joy of it is, in addition to saving some money on your stay, we can begin to make a personal connection with each other again in this impersonal world. Those connections often leading to friendships… some of which are now up to 20 years old.

The Secrets Wedding Club

By | Latest | No Comments

Recently we have been fortunate to host some amazingly beautiful weddings… including our first official same sex wedding which was a particularly joyous and special day for some long time guests of Secrets. Our staff have been excitedly following event orders to the letter and working all hours to make these special days simply stunning. There has been an overwhelming sense of excitement in all corners of Secrets on the Lake as our gardens have been trimmed, weeded and manicured to their lush, colourful best. The boats are scrubbed and oiled, the Lakehouse buffed and beautifully decorated, the fridges are fully stocked, chairs arranged and weather reports are scrutinized daily. The hum of activity and anticipation is magical.

Weddings are always stunning at Secrets on the Lake… so what is the difference? Mother Nature has filled our lovely Lake to the brim and watered our lush gardens to perfection. George, Phil and Jeremy have tweaked the gardens so that they dance colour storms in front of our eyes. The newly renovated jetty built by our son Rob Johnston looks amazing with the water lapping below… and its all just waiting for that perfect hero shot with wedding couple gazing at the glorious sunset.

And with all the recent rain around, none of our weddings have been washed out… in fact last weekend the rainbow appeared just as the bride and groom walked down the aisle. How good is that?!… Mother nature keeps working her magic for us to provide these amazing wow moments on your special day! The new members of our ‘Secrets Wedding Club’ are growing fast and we hope to see you name on there soon. We are a fully inclusive venue and vow renewals count 🙂

Call our friendly staff on (07) 5478 5888 or email or visit for more information or to arrange to visit our beautiful grounds and facilities. Why don’t you drop in to our award winning Cafe on the deck for lunch while you are here and sample some of the amazing food created by our top Chef Mat Law.

Pamper yourself with a massage…

By | Blog, Stories | No Comments

Many of Secrets guests like to enjoy a massage as part of the relax, rewind and reconnect experience of staying in our beautiful treehouses. We have sought out the very best massage therapists in our region and made arrangements with them to come direct to your room… so you don’t even have to get out of your bathrobe!

Our experienced Massage Team of Angela from Touch of Power (0407 136 794) and Marnie from Temple Wellness and Massage (0481 846 064) look forward to helping you with your specific problems. Angela has been offering a professional service in the hinterland for 20yrs,  and Marnie has recently taken over the Temple Massage team. All our therapists are able to do singles or couples massage and offer you different packages and treatments designed to pamper, re-energize, and work away the knots and stresses that plague us in our perpetually busy lives.

How can you book? We ask that you book direct with the therapists who we have made arrangements with. Their contact details are found on our useful links page under the ‘About’ heading on Secrets on the Lake website. More information about their special packages can be found on our Massages page under the ‘Special Extras’ heading on our website. We find it less complicated if you book direct to arrange a mutually suitable time and in general it saves you paying the GST we would have to charge if booked through our business.

View our Massage information page online at for more information and contact details for Angela or Marnie.