Port Douglas – the perfect family holiday!
With Sydney’s winter dragging on and feeling desperate for some sun, we went to Port Douglas and fell in love!
Our self contained two storey villa Paradise Links was clean and comfy and in a great spot next to the pool.
Luckily for my golf-obsessed husband and son, our accommodation was a stone’s throw away from the one of the best golf courses in the region – The Palmer Sea Reef course, formerly known as the Sea Temple course.
Our first adventure was to the Daintree Forest, the oldest intact lowland tropical rainforest in the world (thought to be 110-200 million years old!) I cannot begin to describe the beauty of this place. The complexity of this tropical rainforest system is mind blowing. I particularly loved the ‘bush tucker trail’, and learning about the traditional indigenous sources of food and how nutritious and tasty things like insects actually are! Wicthetty Grub anyone?!
After taking ourselves on a tour of the forest at the visitors centre we were ready to find a safe swimming hole for a refreshing dip. A short drive away is where we found Mason’s swimming hole, where it’s quite safe to swim despite there being crocodiles 400m downstream. Nevertheless, we did a quick recon mission for crocodiles and satisfied ourselves that there were still people coming and going before diving into this lovely waterhole.
Feeling refreshed we continued on our journey to Cape Tribulation, an incredible spot where we looked out over the ocean in one direction, and back at the beach with its striking rainforest backdrop in another. Truly amazing!
Heading back to Port Douglas we stopped into the Daintree Ice-cream Company to end a perfect day with a perfectly delicious combination of banana, mango, black sepote (yum!) and wattleseed (double yum!) ice-cream, made from fruits grown right there on their orchard.
The kids were beyond excited for our second excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. There are many options for getting to the outer reef, and we chose to go with a more boutique cruise for a personal touch, and we weren’t disappointed. Wavelength Reef Tours took us to 3 outer reef sites selected especially for snorkelers, with marine biologists giving guided tours and reef talks. This was the highlight of our Port Douglas holiday for the kids, an experience they will remember forever and haven’t stopped talking about since.
Apart from the amazing coral reef, varied and amazing sea life, a green turtle and beautiful clear waters, boating our way back to the marina we had some unexpected visitors just 20 meters away from our boat – a breaching baby whale and her mama. As far as the kids were concerned, this experience sure made up for the lack of reef sharks they had been so desperate to see.
Scoping the local markets is always a highlight whilst on holiday. We opted for the smaller Mossman Markets (Saturdays 9am-12pm) over the much bigger Port Douglas markets (Sundays 7am -2pm), though I’m sure they were great too. It was great fun having lengthy chats with the stall holders. I met Jules from Julatten who grows delicious spray-free tropical fruits like pomelo, rollinia, sapodilla, yellow sepote …
and it’s where I finally got my first taste of the DIVINE Black Sepote fruit. Native to Eastern Mexico and Central America and abundant in FNQ, it’s a powerhouse of nutrients including Vitamin C, calcium and fibre. Back in Sydney I find myself pining after the rich, creamy, decadent taste.
Vanilla Australia who gave me an intense and passionate lesson about the realities around Vanilla production. He was proud to let me know how his is one of the only vanilla companies in the world that extracts naturally with alcohol, most other companies use Depol T40 which is a petrochemical and highly carcinogenic. Needless to say, I happily stocked up with his beautiful product and my kids bought his homemade icecream which they rate in their top 2 ice creams ever. It was delish!
We also met the Kefir Queen where the kids bought a chilled bottle of ginger, turmeric and lemon water kefir. Wish I could have stocked up on all her gorgeous ferments!
Mossman Gorge next stop! Part of the traditional homeland of the indigenous Eastern Kuku Yulanji tribe, it’s a truly magical place with the crystal-clear water of the Mossman River cascading over granite boulders which forms watering holes surrounded by lush green rainforest. These sheltered retreats offer the perfect location for refreshing relief from the heat.
I was so thrilled to meet so many of my own ‘tribe’ in Port Douglas, others who, like me, detest the cold, and moved there so as to never feel it again! The warm tropical weather of Far North Queensland suit me to a ‘T’, as does the endless blue skies, refreshing swim holes and sheer raw beauty of the place. I reckon September was the perfect time of year to escape cold Sydney to sunny Port Douglas, which was showing off with highs of 28 degrees and still free of the summertime ‘stingers’.
Have you visited FNQ? Are you are lover of Port Douglas too?