Join the great migration north, work from home at this tropical eco-lodge

04 Mar 2021
Words Cath Johnsen

Join the great migration north, work from home at this tropical eco-lodge

When brother and sister team Paul and Mary Martin left their corporate jobs in the big smoke behind in favour of the rainforest and reef of Cape Tribulation in North Queensland, Ms Martin said she threw out her work wardrobe in celebration.

“This lifestyle change was the best thing I ever did in my life,” Ms Martin said.

“At the end of the day, I just wanted to do something better. I’d done bigger things, but I don’t think I’ve ever done anything better in terms of what’s good for the soul and gaining that sense of satisfaction.”

Since purchasing the 3.15-hectare property in 2017, the Martins have transformed the estate from an overgrown jungle with a 40-year-old dwelling to a meticulously renovated three-bedroom and two-bathroom home with a study. They’ve also added three luxurious pavilions with decks for guests, all set within the now beautifully manicured grounds.

“We spent two and a half years searching for the right property, and we found this one, and it was totally overgrown,” Ms Martin said. “Our first job at hand was to try and see what was in here.”

To their delight, the Martins found a tropical fruit orchard, rare palms, a mountain-fed spring and glimpses over the Coral Sea.

“Cape Tribulation has always been a place that I love, but there’s never been anywhere to stay outside of backpacker accommodation, so there was a hole in the market, and we decided to fill the niche,” Ms Martin said.

“We built it as a business to sell, and there’s nothing better than selling something when it’s performing really well.”

The business, which is rated as the number one accommodation in the area on Google Reviews and TripAdvisor, is currently sitting at 65 per cent occupancy for the 2021 calendar year, with the resort already attracting return guests.

“The fact that it’s only three pavilions means it is very exclusive,” Ms Martin said.

“People don’t want to go to big resorts, they don’t want to be around a lot of people, and because they’ve never had the opportunity before to have luxury accommodation up here, they’re flocking in,” she said.

After much pondering, the Martins settled on the name mist for their eco-resort, a nod to the ethereal mist which regularly descends over nearby Mount Sorrow.

The name mist could also denote the Martins’ desire to ensure the resort has a “soft touch” on the environment.

“We are off-grid, so we’ve put in all the state of the art systems, including solar power with battery back up to ensure we’re eco-sustainable,” Ms Martin said. “We don’t rely on power grids; we’ve got our own water, we’re self-sufficient.”

The property has been listed exclusively with ResortBrokers for $1.3 million, and local agent Shane Croghan said the resort could be managed easily by just one person.

“I think it will appeal to a niche market and for that person who wants to run a profitable business with a great lifestyle,” Mr Croghan said.

“Ideally, I think it would suit a couple from down south, and statistics show that migration rates from southern states are increasing at present.”

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in the quarter ending September 2020, 76,200 people moved interstate, with Queensland gaining the most people. The ABS also noted an increase in people migrating away from capital cities.

For the Martins, their tree change is set to be permanent, with the pair determined to stay on in the area. But until the property sells, Ms Martin said she would spend plenty of time in one of her favourite areas – the onsite waterhole.

“It’s my favourite spot … my spaniel and I take a dip there all the time,” Ms Martin said.

“It’s funny, when guests are staying, you can quite often hear them doing their Tarzan calls from the waterhole.”

It may be a high-end home and resort, but it seems mist is still a wild and wonderful jungle too.

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