The one that got away…

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We have all heard the story. The ‘Big Fish’ that was right there… and then got away. It was huge! Well at Secrets on the Lake, perched right on the shores of magnificent Lake Baroon, we hear this story quite often. When you stay in one of our luxury treehouses you have use of our canoes and fishing gear to go out and fish for Yellowbelly and Bass.  So we are told by our guests, there is a big Bass that seems to always elusively get away. We have nicknamed him the Baroon Pocket Beastie.

Now looking after our lovely treehouse guests, Secrets Dining on the Deck patrons, and our excited Wedding couples, means George and I haven’t actually seen the Beastie. It’s been a long time since we have thrown a line in the lake! But, we have heard enough of the same ‘you should’ve seen it’ stories to wonder…

For the fisherfolk among you… take advantage of some great midweek special prices and book a few days in a luxury treehouse. Bring your fishing gear and use our canoes to explore Lake Baroon. Or, George is happy to lend you his fishing rods and lures, so you can have a go at catching dinner… or maybe even finding the Beastie. We would love a picture if you do?

To find out more or to book contact our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

Secrets Magic…

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Secrets is a family owned and run world-class luxury treehouse accommodation retreat, with a stunning lakeside wedding garden venue, and AGFG award-wining daytime licenced restaurant… and looking at us now it’s hard to believe that back when we first opened our doors, it was operated by just our family members! Granted, we were a bit smaller way back then… just 6 treehouses and the WhistleStop. Secrets on the Lake, much like our family, has been a labour of love with a life of its own… and in the end, better than anything we could have dreamed it to be.

I turn 75 this weekend! Where did the time go! I am writing this as I’m sitting in favourite nook by the log fire in our reception. My son Rob has just passed through checking with George about his latest building project, asking for more details on ‘What would you like me to carve Dad?”. I can hear my daughter Cath laughing and doing a happy feet dance in the office after gently coaching a young farmer on how we can help him devise a secret proposal for the love of his life. My daughter-in-law Sarah has just taken a small group of restaurant goers for a tour of one of our treehouses before the lucky couple who have booked it arrive for the next few days. I can hear the excited chatter of the group who have experienced a glimpse of the magic of our treehouses.

And then there is our wonderful staff… who feel like family, many of whom who have worked with us since before my teenage grandchildren arrived. And those cheeky grandchildren are now getting taken under those staff’s wing to learn the ropes in the restaurant and kitchen on weekends and school holidays. And then there is the lovely guests who come back year after year… some who have come to stay with us every year since we opened 25 years ago… guests who have become friends and feel like family too. And I count my blessings… because the magic of Secrets is more than the beautiful grounds, buildings, carvings or location. The magic comes from the heart…. and all the little thoughtful details and personal touches.

When you call up on the phone, we go the extra mile to provide a room, package or special extras to make your stay or meal with us perfect for you. When you walk through our doors you are given the same attention, privacy and care that we give to the celebs that book their secret getaways. The magic of Secrets is that you become part of our family. So as I sit here near the crackling fire, enjoying my years and feeling blessed surrounded by family… I invite you to knock on our carved doors, ask to see a treehouse, or have a meal in our restaurant. We hope to see you soon so you can experience the magic too….

To find out more or to book please contact our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

Our Aboriginal Heritage…

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The Sunshine Coast, and in particular the Hinterland, has an astoundingly long, amazingly rich and largely undiscovered Aboriginal history. This area has always been a place of cultural, spiritual, social and economic significance for the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara peoples. A great many of us are very interested in learning about Aboriginal cultures, especially the spirituality side of Aboriginal culture, but where do you start?… where can you learn not just historically, but about our contemporary culture?

Secrets on the Lake feels this connection to the world’s oldest living culture deeply. Before Lake Baroon came to be, we had a 50 acre farm in Baroon Packet and there was a Bora Ring on our farm. Secrets is located right next to the campfire circle stones used in the traditional Baroon Pocket gatherings for local tribes to feast on the Bunya Nut bounty during the ceremonies and trade, and mock ‘war games’ of these tribal gatherings. Did you know that the Bora Rings of earth and stone were made by the women, and a second smaller Kippa Ring was usually located a small distance away for men’s educational and ceremonial purposes?

There are not many Aboriginal owned and operated educational tours educating tourists and local communities about the traditions and significance of our area. Recently we networked with Tais K’Reala (aka Les) from Biral Tours who offers authentic aboriginal cultural adventures and experiences with a spiritual twist. He was a real Aussie Larrikin and we are sure his tours would be not only interesting and informative, but you’d probably have aching sides from laughing so hard. Check him out at or on their facebook page

When you stay with us at Secrets on the Lake, there are several easy to reach locations that played significant roles in local Aboriginal history…you just have to know where to look! To book your next getaway at Secrets on the Lake please call our friendly staff on (07) 5478 5888 or email or visit

Scar Trees, Mapleton

Only ten minutes drive along the Blackall range to Mapleton National Park lies a significant Scar Tree, similar to trees found in Nambour, and somewhere between 200-400 years old. Experts and Historians don’t know whether it’s marking a pathway, a boundary, or it might even be a signal to tell people to turn right to head up to the Baroon Pocket for the Bunya Festival. Tribes cut the gashes or shapes with stone axes but they didn’t destroy the tree, then they used the ash from the cut to heal their own wounds and to heal the tree after they’d taken the bark out of it.

Grinding Grooves, Landsborough

Just 20 minutes drive from Secrets on the Lake…take Old Gympie Rd exit just outside the centre of Landsborough, and the 200 million year old sandstone Little Rocky Creek has over 80 different Grinding Grooves that show a glimpse into ancient lives. They were used by the Kabi Kabi and Jinibara people to make and sharpen tools for their axe and spear heads, to build canoes, and to find and crush food.

Glass House Mountains

Just 25 mins drive from Secrets are the ancient Glasshouse mountains aptly named by Captain Cook as he chartered the Queensland coastline. The mountains took shape after a series of volcanic eruptions 25 million years ago. The 12 mountains are Queensland’s most iconic Aboriginal landmark due to their geographical and historical significances, but also because of the unmatched climbing opportunities they offer. Please be respectful to the wishes of local tribes and do not climb Mount Beerwah.

There is also a Bora Ring in the Glasshouse Mountains area just off Johnston Road on the Bruce Highway. It is about 2.8km off the road down a dirt track between Mt Cooee and a pineapple farm. A fence guards the Bora Rings fragile earth from damage. Please be respectful of this barrier and the significance of this site to local Aboriginal peoples.

The Aboriginal Dreamtime legend explains that Mount Tibrogargan and the biggest mountain, Mount Beerwah, are husband and wife, and that the remaining mountains are their children. In fear of the incoming floods, Tibrogargan gathered his children to flee to safety, sending Coonowrin, the eldest, back to help his pregnant mother. Coonowrin disobeyed, however, and instead ran to safety on his own. This angered Tibrogargan, and he chased his son down and beat him with a club, dislocating his neck. This injury would be permanent and explains Mount Coonowrin’s skewed peak. Tibrogargan refused to forgive Coonowrin for his actions despite his son’s many pleas, and cried heavy tears that formed a stream leading out to sea. Finally, Tibrogargan cemented his feelings of shame for his son by turning his back and vowing never to look at him again.

Stay… just a little bit longer

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A guest popped in to the office to thank me yesterday… and this thankyou was a little different to the beautiful smiles on the faces of all our lovely guests as they drop their keys back in to reception and prepare to enter the reality of normal day to day. It was different because they hadn’t just spent a weekend or few nights getaway… they had just spent 7 days staying on one of our Luxury treehouses.

This lovely couple told us that their annual holiday was normally booked abroad but they had become tired of wasting a few precious days of their break in travel time, and this year had decided to spend it closer to home so that they could really relax and enjoy their break. And… they were so impressed that they have already booked their annual holiday back with us next year!
This kind of feedback really warms my heart, because as I am sitting here taking in the mist floating above the magnificent Lake Baroon and listening to the gentle sounds of wildlife scurrying and birds chirping on this crisp autumn morning, I can think of no place I would rather be.

Whether you want to hideaway for a week with your loved one in the luxury of your world-class treehouse, sipping champagne to the warmth and crackle of your open fire… or if you want to explore the many national parks, including Kondalilla NP with its stunning waterfall and creeks, there really is something for everyone. Why not sample the taste sensations of our iconic Dining on the Deck lakeside restaurant or the many other top class restaurants in our region. You can browse the boutique shops, and tour the fantastic art trails of the hinterland. You can visit some of the top 10 beaches in the world only 30 mins away on the Sunshine Coast. In fact, you could explore for weeks and still be finding new things to do, experience and enjoy in our beautiful hinterland and Sunshine Coast region!

We have some discounted special rates for long stays so if you are thinking about where to go for your extended holiday this year… contact us for more information about how we can help you with the ultimate world-class romantic or family holiday right on your doorstep in the Sunshine Coast. Call 07 5478 5888 or email or


Happy Easter

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Once more we are steadying ourselves for the Easter Break and preparing to welcome many holiday goers and diners through our oversized hand carved doors. Having been here a time or two before, we know things get busy over this long weekend in our lush hinterland hills. And with good reason! It’s a simply stunning time of year to soak up the Autumn sun, crisp clear mornings, and magnificent views of the Sunshine Coast, Lake Baroon, and the many national parks in our region.


In true Secrets style, we are well prepared to give all our visitors the best experience possible. Our lovely staff are ready to greet expectant guests, the kitchen is stocked to the brim with fresh local produce and tasty ingredients, and our fabulous restaurant manager and her staff have their skates laced and ready to roll. It is a delightful time for George and I, as we get to meet up again with many long term guests and friends. So many opportunities for reminiscing, reconnecting, and rejoicing in each other’s company!


Many years ago now, George and I owned and ran a fruit shop business at Grantham, called Green Acres. If you drove that way, you may still recall the tractor and dray out the front of our business with a large handmade orange sitting in it, and a huge watermelon hung up high in the air. Our young daughter Cath would be perched on a stack of fruit as we did the needful and served our customers. At Easter, we used to watch the traffic going buy all weekend while we worked, wondering what it would be like to be off to the coast for a weekend! Well, here we are nearly 50 years later, and we are still doing it… and now Cath is perched in front of a computer doing our marketing!


But… Easter means so much more than a beach holiday for many of us. It is not just a time for BBQ’s and sunhats and your favourite stubbie holder… though all of that is lovely! For Christians it is about selflessness, sacrifice and forgiveness. It is about showing respect, making wise and considered choices, and about realising that no one is perfect, but that Christ gives us Salvation if we ask for it. For me this means that there is nothing we do that is ever so bad that we cannot be forgiven, and that we should learn to forgive others and ourselves. It is not our place to judge other’s choices or actions, but to strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.


So out of respect, on Easter Friday and Easter Monday we have always closed our doors to our beautiful Dining on the Deck daytime licenced restaurant. We are open Easter Saturday and Sunday. It is our wish that everyone enjoys their well-earned break this Easter, and whether it’s a BBQ at the beach or a gathering on our beautiful deck for a meal with family and friends, please remember to show respect and kindness to those who have to work to provide those services to ensure your happy holiday. We would like to show our own respect to our very special staff… our fantastic housekeepers, front of house, kitchen and restaurant staff. All of whom work their little hearts out with consummate professionalism, infectious smiles and a genuine desire to provide our quests with the best experience possible. Above all, please drive with care and respect as we would like to catch up with you all again next year!


Happy Easter from George and Aldy!

A Beautiful Endeavour…

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If you live in the Sunshine coast Hinterland then odds are that you are quite used to excited day-trippers slowing their cars down with faces pressed against the glass, as their passengers enjoy our rolling hills and sweeping rainforest and ocean views. There has been a bit more of that than normal this last week along Montville’s Western Avenue, with the latest Endeavour Prize home opening its beautiful white doors to the long awaiting public.

If you are one of the many people wanting to check out this beautiful home and support this worthy cause, then turn off the Montville Maleny Road onto Western Avenue, and it is a couple of kilometres along on the right… and just a jump away from our iconic rainforest restaurant Dining on the Deck at Secrets on the Lake.

We have noticed that many of you are making the choice to then continue on just a hop along Western Avenue, take the left turn down Narrows Road, and end up walking through the beautiful hand-carved wooden doors of our Dining on the Deck daytime licensed restaurant.  Why not make a real day of it and check out Dining on the Deck, winner of the AGFG People’s Choice Award 2019? Not only are we only 3 minutes drive from your new prize home, but our rainforest restaurant is perched on the shores of magnificent Lake Baroon and has arguably one of the best lake views the hinterland has on offer.

It’s a perfect pitstop for a beautiful breakfast, mouth-watering lunch, or afternoon tea with a cheese platter and cold glass of your fancy, or a warm mug with one of our famous high teas. Bookings for breakfast taken before 9:30 can also take advantage of our Earlybird Special and get a free cup of standard tea or coffee with any Secrets Benedict, Secrets Hunter, Secrets Gatherer, or Secrets Omelette. We also offer a wide variety of Gluten Free, Paleo and Vegetarian choices!

Best of luck in the prize home draw! If you win, then we look forward to serving you and your guests in our restaurant when you need a break from that amazing kitchen. But if you miss out, then there is always the chance to book an escape in one of our truly unique world-class luxury treehouses to console you. Ask about availability for a treehouse tour when you have a meal at Dining on the Deck.

Open 8:30am for Breakfast, from 11 – 2:30 for lunch, and afternoon tea to 4pm. To enquire or book now please call our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

The Secret is out…

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RACQ just voted the Hinterland drive the 2nd best road trip in Queensland. It was only bested by the Pacific Coast way, which ironically the Hinterland drive is also a prominent part of!

Though it is always fantastic to see our beautiful region get its due accolades… this news comes as no surprise to those of us already living, dining or holidaying in the Hinterland! This place really does have it all… and there is something here for you whatever your unique interest may be.

Whether you are taking off in the family car, jumping on your bike, putting the top down in your convertible, or going for a helicopter ride. Whatever tickles your visual fancy, we have it in spades…

Check out the stunning national heritage listed Glasshouse Mountains. Their unique exposed sub-volcanic landforms and remarkable aesthetic attraction has become dreamtime legend over 60,000 years and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of our region.

National parks abound throughout the whole of the hinterland. Take your pick or try them all out over time! Set out through the pristine temperate rainforest of the different trails comprising the Great Walks or simply find your perfect spot and relax by the babble of our beautiful mountain creeks and waterfalls.

With each step up the range, the lush green paddocks become a little bit greener… and becomes a little cooler than the famous beach towns right at the bottom of our hill. And when you arrive at the iconic tourist town Montville, you can take a pitstop and cruise the many boutique shops, galleries and crafts our region has become famous for.

Lake Baroon provides us with stunning lake views and recreational activities… and the range section of the Hinterland Drive gifts the day-tripper with a multitude of magnificent views of the lake, and of the ocean and sunshine coast beaches beyond on the eastern side of the range. No two days provide the same view… and every day gives a unique slant on the natural beauty of the Hinterland.

And the best part about Queensland’s best driving route is something that combines all of the blessings of the Hinterland in one location… a visit to Secrets on the Lake! Drop in for a meal at our iconic rainforest restaurant Dining on the Deck, with arguably one of the best lakeside locations and views our region has to offer. Spend some time to really enjoy the sights, sounds and experiences of the Hinterland and book to stay in one of our world-class luxury treehouses featured on National TV as ’the perfect romantic escape for couples’. Our treehouses are nestled in the rainforest canopy right on the shores of magnificent Lake Baroon.

The hinterland drive offers locals and tourists a truly unique experience with very little traffic, uninterrupted ocean, mountain, and lake views, and plenty of safe places to stop and pull off to take the perfect picture or smell the clean mountain air. We look forward to showing you our back yard next time you are in the hills. For more information or to book a meal or treehouse please don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly staff on 07 5478 5888 or email or visit

(Images provided by guest Wendy Hargreaves staying in Secets penthouse cabin last week)

All aboard the WhistleStop…

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Recently we got a lovely review from a family who stayed in our beautiful WhistleStop cabin, situated on its own private grounds just metres from the entrance to the Sunshine Great Walks and National Parks…

“We spent 3 nights in the Whistle Stop cabin and found it a wonderful relaxing place to stay. The setting is beautiful and relaxing. The cabin (the former Beerburrum railway station) is beautifully restored, well equipped and extremely comfortable. Every staff member we met was polite and friendly and this was a very special weekend. We would certainly stay there again and recommend this place to our friends”

Damien 19/02/19

Thank you for your review Damien! It is a lovely reminder about how the unique qualities of our charming WhistleStop Cabin touch the souls of all those who stay there. We spend so much of our time focused on telling you about our iconic Dining on the Deck restaurant, the stunning Secrets Wedding Venues, and our world-class luxury hand carved treehouses, that it is easy to neglect mention of our beautiful WhistleStop cabin tucked away privately in pristine rainforest. With all the charm of yesteryear and all the luxuries of modern living, including the brand new recently refurbished kitchen… this charming 2 bedroom converted railway station is a nostalgic favourite of many Secrets on the Lake guests.

Our guests book to stay in the WhistleStop for many reasons. Some purely because it is an old Queenslander railway station and has enjoyed many incarnations in its long colourful history since first built in Beerburrum in 1910. It will have its 110th birthday next year… stay tuned for the birthday celebrations! Other’s come because it’s the perfect family cabin to do some outdoor exploring of the many bushwalking trails, national parks, creeks and waterfalls nearby… literally just metres from its doorstep. Some guests don’t realize that when we have a lot of rain you can sit in the spa right beside rapids cascading… so close you can feel their spray on your face.

Our WhistleStop guests often come back, and back, and back again… because your privacy is guaranteed when you walk to your cabin across your private hand-built bridge over the permanently running stream. The bridge is another one of our talented son Rob’s very special carved creations! But when you stay at the WhistleStop your backyard is much larger than its own private grounds… you have access to all the facilities and features of the iconic Secrets on the Lake when you are ready to face the world again! Your playground just gets bigger and bigger. You can wander the Secrets Gardens, use our canoes, fish, play billiards, access our DVD and entertainment libraries, and the list goes on….

So, though the WhistleStop is not one of our luxury treehouses… it is no second cousin either! Like to know more? Call us to book or for more information on +61 7 54785888 or email or visit our website at

Kind regards George and Aldy!

Rain, Hail or Shine…

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Recently the threat of Cyclone Oma’s imminent assault on South East Queensland sent locals and tourists into a whirlwind frenzy of anticipation, preparation and trepidation. Complicated tracking systems predicted up to 20 inches of rain and extreme damaging winds. We are no strangers to the effects of tropical cyclones in Queensland, so our larder’s were stocked, holiday plans questioned or cancelled, and the bottle shops boomed. And then we waited… and waited… and waited some more…

And nothing happened! Well, not entirely nothing… the surf was definitely something to write home about, and we got some lovely showers to refresh the lush gardens here at Secrets on the Lake. We know that some areas certainly felt Oma’s onslaught and our hearts go out to those in North Queensland who are currently battening down again while still recovering from recently receiving a year’s worth of rain in just one week!

Here in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland we are blessed when it comes to weather events. In the heat of the QLD summer we are always a welcome few degrees cooler than the coastal towns only half an hour away down the hill. The cool coastal breezes waft up the hill, thermal through our valleys and travel across the rippling water’s of magnificent Lake Baroon right in front of your treehouse decks.

When it buckets with rain, all of our many beautiful creeks and waterways start pumping, and the private waterfall behind our penthouse treehouse ‘Secrets’ thunders its own powerful rhythmic force. The creek behind the rustic spa and BBQ house at our WhistleStop cabin becomes a rushing rapids that you can almost reach out and touch. And the Lake Baroon spillway can send shoots of water through the air in a glorious display of nature’s raw power… much to the delight of tourists and locals alike who flock to its viewing platform for the perfect picture.

The cooler winter months are our peak accommodation times, largely because our guests really enjoy the warmth of our stunning floating fireplaces as they re-energize, reconnect with each other, and enjoy our pristine rainforest environment. The beauty of the Sunshine Coast’s temperate climate means that it just doesn’t ever really get cold enough for a log fire in the popular tourist destinations down on the coastal flats. Choosing the Hinterland as your holiday or restaurant destination actually gives you the welcome chance to really enjoy the hotter and cooler months for all their glory.

So, before you buy into the latest ‘most sophisticated’ weather predictions and cancel your holiday or Hinterland dining plans we hope you check in with us to see what is happening outside of the algorythmns. Rain, hail, snow or shine… Secrets on the Lake has you covered, and each season gives you a different glimpse into the stunning location we are lucky enough to call home.

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

Your own slice of Secrets…

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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

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