Leopard Tree Lodge’s Bush Camp
  |  First Published: May 2014

Leopard Tree Lodge, found at the top end of Somerset Dam about 5km from Kilcoy, is a farm retreat that offers visitors a range of accommodation options, access to Somerset and offers a chance to get away.

We recently stayed at the Bush Camp area at Leopard Tree lodge and if you’re new to camping or you just like that little bit of ‘extra’ when you’re camping, then this is one place well worth investigating.

The Bush Camp is close to the shores of Lake Somerset and the property has around 900m of actual lake frontage. Surrounded by trees, this secluded camp area is fenced to provide a place to relax and unwind and get away from the stresses of everyday life.

The beauty of the Leopard Tree Lodge Bush Camp really is that it is all there for you. All we had to bring was our food and drinking water and everything else was there. The Bush Camp has its own bush kitchen, gas BBQ, fire pit and camp oven cookware, cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery, solar lighting, two hot showers and a composting toilet. And that’s before you step inside the on-site permanent tents.

The tents themselves are brilliant. Heavy canvas that protects you from the elements, with plenty of windows that allow you to open up the tents to allow breezes to blow through and cool down the tents on a hot day. Inside each of the four tents are two single beds that have all bedding supplied and the beds are sensational. I’ve got a dodgy back and often accommodation beds are pretty ordinary, this is not the case here with both mattress and pillows suiting me down to a T.

But what really sets this place apart is your hosts. Both Boyd and Desley are sensational people who simply want to ensure you have the best time you can. If you want to relax and get away from it, they’ll give you the space to do that. If you want to become part of the farm you can drop into the animal feeding at 5pm and collect chicken eggs, feed the animals, get introduced to the horses and play around with the farm dogs. The kids just love this and our bunch of kids went nuts!

If you’re into fishing, then the Bush Camp is absolutely ideal. I can see three boats of two anglers booking out the Bush Camp and heading down to Kirkleigh to launch and retrieve. It’s only 10 minutes from the front gate to Kirkleigh and it couldn’t be easier. If you have a small boat or a kayak/canoe, you can simply follow the farm tracks to the lake’s edge and access the water from there.

Somerset is most famous for its Australian bass, however other species like golden perch, tilapia, redclaw and the occasional cod are all available in the productive waters of the lake. On our trip we fished from the bank and crossed paths with plenty of tilapia and spangled perch and we even rustled up a few redclaw for dinner.

If you just want to relax and look after yourself, the Bush Camp is the place to be. We had a first class camp oven cooker with us and with the fire pit set, Gary went about providing us a spectacular roast meal out of the camp ovens. It’s not an easy feat feeding our lot, but Gary managed to produce roast pork, lamb and vegies that simply melted in your mouth.

The one thing you do need to be aware of though is tat there is no power at the Bush Camp. If you’re a boating angler who uses their electric and the batteries will need charging, take a generator with you. I took my Korr Camp Light kit to give us extra light in the camp kitchen and this was great as the sun went down and the adults sat around the fire pit and wound down after a day of running around chasing the kids.

For those who need that little extra bit of comfort, the hot showers and composting toilet are fantastic. As silly as it sounds, we all pretty much left the toilet door open when in use as it faced away from the camp and the view looking over the paddocks and dam (yep, filled with yabbies!) was great. We simply yelled out ‘toilet in use’ and everyone knew not to walk around the front of the toilet.

The showers are sensational after a day of fishing, swimming, kayaking and entertaining the kids and the plentiful hot water made the two showers well used amenities by our crew.

All in all, the Leopard Tree Lodge Bush Camp is sensational and is well worth family groups or groups of fishing mates checking out if Somerset is on your hit list.

Getting there

From Brisbane, the easiest way to access Leopard Tree Lodge is to drive north to the Kilcoy turn off on the Bruce Highway.Proceed 50km and pass through the Kilcoy township. Just 2km north of Kilcoy, turn left on the Esk-Kilcoy Road. Watch for the Leopard Tree Lodge sign at 1.5km and Desley or Boyd will meet you at the gate and escort you to the Bush Camp.

If you’re travelling from Ipswich, you can make your way to Somerset Dam via Fernvale and then follow the Esk-Kilcoy Rd past The Spit and Kirkleigh to Leopard Tree Lodge.

Stay awhile

This is a place where one night is definitely not enough. If I had my choice a 2-3 night stay would be sensational as you could really unwind and get into some great fishing.

The facilities are first rate, your hosts are sensational and the experiences you can have at Leopard Tree Lodge will last a lifetime.

For more information, log onto www.leopardtreelodge.com or give them a call on (07) 5422 0700. The farm also has the amazing ‘Lodge’ that is a 100 year old farm house that has been fully restored and features a full gourmet kitchen, 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in fully air conditioned comfort. It’s another option in an amazing place to stay if glamping is not your thing.

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