Michaela Mills, the Tigers Abroad marketing intern, writes:
When Australia program alumni are asked to name their favorite program location, most respond the Great Barrier Reef or possibly the farmstays. However a spot mentioned less frequently but that’s equally as remarkable is Hidden Valley. Located on the western slope of the Paluma Range in Queensland, Hidden Valley provides an experience in the Australian bush like none other.
Our guide Ross, who also operates Hidden Valley Cabins where we stayed, was undoubtedly one of my favorite guides of the entire program. After retrieving our group from Townsville, Ross drove us northwest toward Hidden Valley. Along the way he told us the most interesting facts from topics such as rugby to the typical type of music they listened to and everything in between. We made a couple stops on the way at beautiful waterfalls and a huge tree that we could step inside! Upon arrival at Hidden Valley Cabins, Ross’ parents, Ian and Bonnie, greeted us with a hearty lunch, such a great way to win over a group of college kids! The food at Hidden Valley was out of this world, seriously hands down the best food on the entire program.
While at Hidden Valley, we learned about solar power, the efficiency behind it and the installation and operation costs. Hidden Valley is Australia’s first solar-powered resort, so where better to learn about solar power. The next day we hiked into the beautiful Running River Gorge, which I thought even resembled the Grand Canyon.
Our group bonded over activities in the evenings as well. Some people watched rugby with Ross and Ian, a lot of us played pool together, and often we would sit under the gazebo and do our modules together. I also took the time to talk to Ross more about the Australian culture and his life in general, which I highly recommend to do with all the guides throughout the program. Like most Australians, the guides are extremely friendly and will answer any questions you have. I truly miss Hidden Valley and the amazing McLennan family who operate it. If you’re headed on the North Queensland program this summer, then get excited to meet them and enjoy your time in the Australian bush!