Architecture

Lionel Buckett's extraordinary treehouse hotel in Australia's Blue Mountains

Wollemi treehouse hotel: living space (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: living space (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's built around a turpentine tree on land adjoining the world heritage area of Wollemi national park." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's built around a turpentine tree on land adjoining the world heritage area of Wollemi national park." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Everybody gets excited by treehouses, it's a childhood fantasy thing." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Everybody gets excited by treehouses, it's a childhood fantasy thing." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "The other day there was a woman here and she arrived, and got out of the car and just started jumping up and down on the spot. Her legs were just going ten to the dozen like a little child. She looked at me and felt embarrassed and stopped." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "The other day there was a woman here and she arrived, and got out of the car and just started jumping up and down on the spot. Her legs were just going ten to the dozen like a little child. She looked at me and felt embarrassed and stopped." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "She looked at me like "do you think I'm an idiot?" - but when we got upstairs, she just started doing it even more. She was about 35, she couldn't help it." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "She looked at me like "do you think I'm an idiot?" - but when we got upstairs, she just started doing it even more. She was about 35, she couldn't help it." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I've built a lot of buildings, but I've never seen that happen before - I see it here a lot." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I've built a lot of buildings, but I've never seen that happen before - I see it here a lot." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Maybe it's because when we're kids, everything's wonderful, and we haven't worked out yet about all the other things that aren't so wonderful. So maybe when you see a treehouse, that feeling of wonder comes back? That silver chute is a long drop composting toilet." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Maybe it's because when we're kids, everything's wonderful, and we haven't worked out yet about all the other things that aren't so wonderful. So maybe when you see a treehouse, that feeling of wonder comes back? That silver chute is a long drop composting toilet." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: door handles (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: door handles (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's set up for photovoltaic cells - we haven't done that connection yet. I'm hoping batteries might come out soon that'll be good enough to disconnect it from the grid. We'll have a switch there so you can choose Nuclear or Solar, we'll see what people decide!" (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's set up for photovoltaic cells - we haven't done that connection yet. I'm hoping batteries might come out soon that'll be good enough to disconnect it from the grid. We'll have a switch there so you can choose Nuclear or Solar, we'll see what people decide!" (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "If I'm ever at a low ebb, I can come down to the treehouse and read the guestbook and just pump my ego up enormously. It's had 3 or 400 couples stay in it, and nobody's not loved it." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "If I'm ever at a low ebb, I can come down to the treehouse and read the guestbook and just pump my ego up enormously. It's had 3 or 400 couples stay in it, and nobody's not loved it." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's a Ph.D for somebody to do in why people love treehouses so much." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's a Ph.D for somebody to do in why people love treehouses so much." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a hopeless place to have an office. You never get any work done. You can do about half an hour's worth of work, but then it's just so easy to fall back and listen to the sounds, and look at the light changing… Next thing you know a wedge-tailed eagle will come across and start circling, so you start watching that. You can just get lost in the wonder of life, and the beauty of it." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a hopeless place to have an office. You never get any work done. You can do about half an hour's worth of work, but then it's just so easy to fall back and listen to the sounds, and look at the light changing… Next thing you know a wedge-tailed eagle will come across and start circling, so you start watching that. You can just get lost in the wonder of life, and the beauty of it." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a kid's private space… When I was a kid, I built a five story treehouse for my mates. I had a mate down the bottom setting up electric fences running off car batteries. The other kids knew they couldn't cross that line without our permission." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a kid's private space… When I was a kid, I built a five story treehouse for my mates. I had a mate down the bottom setting up electric fences running off car batteries. The other kids knew they couldn't cross that line without our permission." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's lots and lots of little details that you can really just forget about, because the view's so nice." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's lots and lots of little details that you can really just forget about, because the view's so nice." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: part of a gorgeous piece of Blue Mountains bushland (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: part of a gorgeous piece of Blue Mountains bushland (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "An easy place to get lost in the view. We have a TV system available here, but nobody's ever asked for it." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "An easy place to get lost in the view. We have a TV system available here, but nobody's ever asked for it." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Those three mountains there, the boundary of the property is down at the third mountain. Apparently some people think it's a pretty beautiful, inspiring place. And I'm one of them." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Those three mountains there, the boundary of the property is down at the third mountain. Apparently some people think it's a pretty beautiful, inspiring place. And I'm one of them." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: total exposure meets total privacy (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: total exposure meets total privacy (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: spa/shower (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: spa/shower (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "We sponsor Miss Pole Dancing Australia, so we've put in a competition pole - a 38-millimetre, unpolished brass pole is what they require." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "We sponsor Miss Pole Dancing Australia, so we've put in a competition pole - a 38-millimetre, unpolished brass pole is what they require." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: stunning living area (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: stunning living area (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: living space (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: living space (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Some people think that's the longest long-drop (toilet) in the country. It's a composting worm toilet. I'm sure there's longer drop ones somewhere." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Some people think that's the longest long-drop (toilet) in the country. It's a composting worm toilet. I'm sure there's longer drop ones somewhere." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "When it rains, the tree gets wet, the water runs down the tree. It's lovely. " (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "When it rains, the tree gets wet, the water runs down the tree. It's lovely. " (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there. Hmmm... There *was* a whip here, looks like somebody's got a bit carried away and broken it." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there. Hmmm... There *was* a whip here, looks like somebody's got a bit carried away and broken it." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: balcony view (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Wollemi treehouse hotel: balcony view (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "We always try to use passive solar principles. Facing North, Get the eaves the right length. It's heavily insulated." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "We always try to use passive solar principles. Facing North, Get the eaves the right length. It's heavily insulated." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's an amazing place to have a shower in a lightning storm - there's glass all around." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's an amazing place to have a shower in a lightning storm - there's glass all around." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's glass above the bed, so you can look up at night and see the stars." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's glass above the bed, so you can look up at night and see the stars." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: the kitchen (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: the kitchen (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a bit tricky – the tree's free-standing. The floor doesn't join into the tree. There's four building poles that go straight down into 3 metre bedrock. The tree could actually take up loads, but it doesn't. It chains to one of the beams." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a bit tricky – the tree's free-standing. The floor doesn't join into the tree. There's four building poles that go straight down into 3 metre bedrock. The tree could actually take up loads, but it doesn't. It chains to one of the beams." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's an idea, I don't know if it's true or not, that if the tree is held firm, then the roots lose their strength because they're not adjusting for the movement of the wind in the tree. You get a nice effect on a windy day, the tree moves a bit inside the room." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's an idea, I don't know if it's true or not, that if the tree is held firm, then the roots lose their strength because they're not adjusting for the movement of the wind in the tree. You get a nice effect on a windy day, the tree moves a bit inside the room." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "[the shiny metal around the outside] is all about fireproofing. We're in a high fire risk area, and part of our building conditions are having fireproof materials on our buildings. A bushfire came through here last year. The treehouse survived quite well, it's got fire sprinklers top and bottom and the steel can't burn. That's polished mirror stainless steel, you get beautiful reflections. It's an artistic choice." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
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Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "[the shiny metal around the outside] is all about fireproofing. We're in a high fire risk area, and part of our building conditions are having fireproof materials on our buildings. A bushfire came through here last year. The treehouse survived quite well, it's got fire sprinklers top and bottom and the steel can't burn. That's polished mirror stainless steel, you get beautiful reflections. It's an artistic choice." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)

When we visited Australia's Blue Mountains earlier this year to feature this extraordinary clifftop cave, we had no idea that the cave itself might not be the most amazing piece of architecture on the property. Almost as an afterthought, Blue Mountains Cabins owner and master builder Lionel Buckett invited us down to yet another secluded pocket of the gigantic wilderness area to discover another gem: his treehouse cabin. Built around a turpentine tree and fireproofed against the harsh Australian bushfire season, it's a magical space with profoundly stunning views.

Click through into the gallery from any of the photos below to enjoy master builder Lionel Buckett's thoughts on his most popular work to date: the treehouse cabin.

Wollemi treehouse hotel: part of a gorgeous piece of Blue Mountains bushland (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Wollemi treehouse hotel: part of a gorgeous piece of Blue Mountains bushland (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)

Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "I searched and searched here to find a good tree, one that's gonna last a long time, and a place with a great view. The view is just stunning from up there." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)

Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Everybody gets excited by treehouses, it's a childhood fantasy thing." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "Everybody gets excited by treehouses, it's a childhood fantasy thing." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)

Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's an amazing place to have a shower in a lightning storm - there's glass all around." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's an amazing place to have a shower in a lightning storm - there's glass all around." (Photo: Loz Blain/Gizmag)

Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's a Ph.D for somebody to do in why people love treehouses so much." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "There's a Ph.D for somebody to do in why people love treehouses so much." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)

Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a bit tricky – the tree's free-standing. The floor doesn't join into the tree. There's four building poles that go straight down into 3 metre bedrock. The tree could actually take up loads, but it doesn't. It chains to one of the beams." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "It's a bit tricky – the tree's free-standing. The floor doesn't join into the tree. There's four building poles that go straight down into 3 metre bedrock. The tree could actually take up loads, but it doesn't. It chains to one of the beams." (Photo: Noel McKeegan/Gizmag)

More information: Lionel Buckett's Clifftop Cave, or visit the Blue Mountains Cabins website.

4 comments
Jay Lloyd
Lionel Buckett on the Blue Mountains Cabins Treehouse: "We sponsor Miss Pole Dancing Australia, so we've put in a competition pole - a 38-millimetre, unpolished brass pole is what they require." Well done, sir. Well done.
Jay Finke
Finally, a tree house with a decent view. I like it !
Martin Hone
Stunning, but I see no evidence of how it deals with the potential bushfire threat. Also, no insulation in the roof, just corrugated iron. Hot in summer ?
DonGateley
I want one of these so bad for retirement in the Santa Cruz mountains that I'm drooling. :-)
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