Tree houses aren’t just for kiddies. Some people call them home all year round, like the Korowai of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, while others are rented out as holiday homes to those seeking a unique eco experience.
Nestled among the branches or constructed around wide trunks, tree houses offer the ultimate chance to be at one with nature, quite literally. Here are five of the coolest tree houses around:
Free Spirit Spheres Qualicum Bay, British Columbia, Canada
As the name suggests, these magical tree houses are spherical in shape and appear to float above the ground. Designed by Tom Chudleigh, the eco-friendly cabins are suspended by ropes and tension wires from fasting points around the forest, using much the same technology as sailboat construction. Access is by cantilevered steps secured into the tree. There isn’t a whole lot of room for manoeuvre inside but there’s everything you need for a short break — a double bed, sink, kettle, table and benches; much like the inside of a small caravan, and there’s a composting toilet nearby.
Prices from $175 per night.
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Apart from their obvious penchant for puns — they add the word tree to as many words as they can, ie, treesort, photogratree, facilitrees, I won’t go on — Oregon’s tree resort is made up of a number of tree houses dotted around 36 acres of forest, making up a tree village. Some are big enough to house four people and all are beautifully made. There are plenty of actreevitrees (sorry, it’s catching) available including climbing, rapelling and zip line rides as well as the swimming, horse riding and hiking.
Prices vary according to size of tree house booked but start at $120 for two per night.
Teniqua Treetops Sedgefield, Western Cape, South Africa
This tented tree house resort is perched high on the foothills of the ancient Outeniqua mountain range near the Western Cape of South Africa. Created to have minimal impact on the environment Teniqua Treetops are set within a private nature reserve where animals roam freely and an area of outstanding natural beauty so your view will always be picture perfect. One of the tree houses has wheelchair access too.
Prices from R790 (US$104) per night.
Cedar Creek Tree House Mount Rainier National Park, Ashford, Washington
If you’ve got a head for heights this is the tree house for you. Perched 50 feet up a 200 year-old Western Red Cedar, Cedar Creek Treehouse offers panoramic vistas of two National Parks. Accessed by an 80 foot long suspension bridge through dense forest the first glimpse of the treehouse is many a childhood dream fulfilled… or a lazy person’s nightmare as the treehouse sits at the end of a towering five story staircase. I dare say the views are worth it though.
Prices from $300 for two per night.
Tree House Lodge Punta Uva, Limon, Costa Rica
On the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica at Punta Uva lies a cluster of uniquely crafted tree houses. Built using sustainable practices and wood from the forest floor — no trees were cut down to make them — each tree house is designed to be sympathetic to the natural habitat. The beach is close by for swimming, snorkelling and fishing or you may choose to wander the acres of rainforest just over the doorstep. Money from tours booked through the lodge goes towards the Green Iguana Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the preservation of the local Green Iguana which is almost extinct. Take a free Iguana Conservation Tour which is run every week in the locale.
Prices from $1170 for 3 day relaxing package.