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Some Hotels Are Zoos But The Reef Casino Hotel Cairns Has One On The Roof

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: 35 Wharf St., Cairns, Queensland, Australia, 4870
September 8, 2010 at 12:04 PM | by | Comment (1)

We’re big nature lovers. So long as the nature we’re talking about is experienced under controlled, well-maintained circumstances—you know, like a luxury African safari, or a guided reef dive. That’s why, when we were at the Australian Tourism Exchange earlier this summer in Adelaide, we were excited to hear about the Cairns Wildlife Dome at the Pullman Reef Casino Hotel Cairns.

The luxury casino is actually part of the Accor family of hotels, and is grouped within the Pullman chain, though this property is five-star and has only 128 rooms—all of them recently updated and rather spacious, with city or water views.

If you haven’t been to Cairns, it’s in northern Queensland, meaning a full-on tropical climate where the order of the day is sun, fun, surfing and diving. In other words, this is a strictly leisure facility where Aussies and internationals come to let loose. Rates start at $169 AUD (or $150 USD).

Back to what got us excited about this property, though: The Cairns Wildlife Dome. This hotel actually has a small zoo on the rooftop! It contains over 100 species of native Australian birds who fly freely around the dome (so duck, and watch out for splatters!), wallabies roaming the rainforest exhibit, plus all the usual suspects like koalas, lizards, possums and pythons. There’s also a four-meter saltwater crocodile to creep you out.

Now that we think about it, we actually heard about another unique experience in Australia while we were at ATE. The Marriott Surfers Paradise is also in Queensland, but near Brisbane, and it has a heated saltwater lagoon pool with a manmade white sand beach and coral reef that is stocked with over 400 tropical fish.

Hotel guests can snorkel in the pool and take scuba classes there as they prepare to take on the Great Barrier Reef. It also has a lava tube waterslide—for when you just want to make a splash and scare the fish. Rates at the hotel start at about $239 AUD ($212 USD), but we’d wait to stay there until they finish the refurbishment, which will start next year.

[Photo: The Reef Hotel Casino on Facebook ]

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casino player

The reef casino may have the jungle on the roof, but the true jungle is inside. I am not a very big fan of casinos, but when I go on vacation I enjoy a short visit in a casino. Don't think I do what most people do in a casino... play poker or roulette. I'm not that adventurous. I always go for the bingo games. And most of all for the big bingo bonus. I never win, but it's always fun to try. No risk involved, just luck.

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