Even in its infancy, the economic slowdown is turning lives upside down.

"We haven't experienced anything like this," says Trish Parsons, the manager of the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, where some villas cost more than $600 a night. "It's pretty bad - Port Douglas is pretty much the same. Everybody is waiting to see what is going to happen."

Boasting a "true rainforest experience" beside the Daintree River, the luxury lodge has watched bookings almost dry up this month after reasonable trading conditions during the peak summer holiday season. In the latest sign of how the financial crisis is hitting the real economy, its occupancy rate this month is half what it was last February. The fall in demand has been just as pronounced among Australian visitors as foreigners.

Get the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald