There are loads of amazing accommodation options in Port Douglas and as a frequent visitor I’ve done plenty of research. Mirage, Sea temple, Pool, Thala beach resort, Daintree Eco lodge and many more have hosted my fussy self and family on kid-free long weekends and school holiday family getaways. I feel I can comment given all the time I’ve logged in this special Aussie location.
It was a fun change to rent a house this time around with the entire Walsh clan. Through Contemporary Hotels, we rented beach cottage ‘31 Degrees’ on the stunning Oak beach.
My usual need for room service and a day spa was replaced with long leisurely days, barbequing barefoot and sipping a Rose at sundown before a sunset stroll on the private beach heaven.
With only a handful of homes up one end of Oak beach and Thala beach resort right up the other end it’s like having the whole beach to yourself.
Aside from the occasional walker, it was deserted most of the time. Morning runs, family games of beach cricket and ocean swims made this piece of heaven, the ultimates way to vacay on the planet.
Swaying palms and an ocean breeze while cooking up local seafood with a vino in hand made leaving the Oak beach seems like a very silly idea.
When we did leave, the one place I was sad to hear was now closing its door in October was ‘On the Inlet’. This seafood eatery overlooking the water has been there over 20 years and I should know, as my husband and I were there the day it opened!
Serving up the freshest and most innovative seafood dishes in a beautiful location was something I looked forward to every time I arrived in the port. This time around I’d like to give special mention to the Tuna Tataki and the Spanish mackerel for their outstanding performances on my plate! It will be open until October moving to another location. I’m just wondering what George the local friendly groper thinks about the change of location?
The Port Douglas markets are on Sundays, which for us arriving that day made it ideal to pick up local produce before heading to our house. There’s also local craft, beads and food stalls making it a fun Sunday morning outing. Just opposite the markets is the gift store and café Pebble that not only makes the best coffee in town but also has the most stunning array of Hampton’s style home wares and fashion accessories. Panama hats, beautiful beads and divine rattan lamps are but a few of the things, which make it a crime not to stop and shop.
Fine dining in the tropical outdoor surrounds at local institution Nautilus is a compulsory part of any Port Douglas trip. Having been operating for an impressive 60 years it’s Modern cuisine utilising Far North Queensland produce is a dining experience that epitomises everything port Douglas is famous for.
The Daintree curry of local prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, squid and reef fish in green peppercorn curry is the bomb. The out door setting is like Jurassic park with very chic styling and mind-blowing food.
The Daintree forest is somewhere that I’ve loved going for a swim with my husband for the last 20 years and I love that my children now ask if we can go the minute we arrive.
Aside from swimming in water that’s like Evian the walks through the beautiful Daintree are really spectacular.
This time we saw an echidna, the first time we’d seen one in the wild. The paths that wild through the forest are home to all manner of rain forest fauna. I just can’t get tired of looking at this Far North Queensland wonderland.
The reef has a bigger hold on me than cake does on a fat man. I just can’t come to Port Douglas without heading out on a boat to the Great Barrier Reef to check out the magical underwater world that lies beneath.
We went out for a day trip on Wave Dancer a big catamaran that does day trips to Low Isles, including lunch and all your gear. Low Isles is a perfect spot for seeing plenty of bright coral, reef sharks, turtles and brightly coloured fish. Our kids were in heaven spotting giant sea turtles right up close and seeing bat fish and sharks around the back of the boat during lunch. The food was delicious with fresh prawns and salads and the friendliest crew on the planet. I thoroughly recommend this trip for the whole family.
There are several other boats which take smaller groups should you want something a little more intimate. Sailaway, Calypso and Poseidon are also fantastic for a day on the reef having fewer guests for a more personal experience.
No trip to Port Douglas is complete without a visit to Harley’s crocodile farm. By far one of the greatest tourist attractions in Port Douglas it’s the best way to get right up close to giant salt water crocodiles and some of Australia’s most famous native wildlife. The river cruise in Hartley’s purpose built man made lagoon gives you a chance to see crocs being fed from the side of the boat in a thrilling display that will amaze both big kids (like myself) and little.
Every time we leave after a week in this Northern Queensland paradise I think of the dozens of other things we should also have done making it impossible not to already start planning the return visit. Hello, September school holidays!
Contemporary hotels ’31 Degrees’ Oak beach
31 degrees – http://contemporaryhotels.com.au
On the Inlet – www.ontheinlet.com.au
Nautilus – www.naulilus.com.au
Pebble – www.pebbleaustralia.com
Hartleys Crocodile Farm – www.crocodileadventures.com
The Reef – wavedancerlowisles.com/
Port Douglas Markets – www.facebook.com/portdouglasmarket/