After over a year with no real break, we were very excited to be headed to Port Douglas in Far North Queensland, for some well-earned rest. The holiday began with a very comfortable direct flight to Cairns. As we were flying business class, we had access to the Qantas business lounge. Being a morning flight, breakfast was being served in the lounge which included scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, pastries juices and assorted cereals. The cappuccinos made by the barista at the Marble Coffee Bar were very good! The lounge is spacious and comfortable with all the facilities you would expect from a lounge, including showers.
It was time to board the plane an Airbus A330 and we were pleasantly surprised at how good the business seat was. Configuration was 1, 2, 1 and we had booked single seats. For a domestic flight, this business seat was amazing, very private but the best feature was the amount of storage space that was within easy reach. I had room for my book, my bottled water and my reading glasses and I could access them very easily. The seat also reclined fully, not necessary for a 3-hour flight, but it is there if you need it.
After a light breakfast of frittata, yogurt mushrooms and beans (and of course, champagne) it was time to settle in and watch a new release movie. Before we knew it, we were landing!
After collecting our bags and our Avis car, we were ready for the 1-hour scenic drive to Port Douglas upon arrival we checked into our tropical oasis at the Niramaya Villas, we were not disappointed.
These villas bring the inside out, and the outside in. Beautiful tropical plants surround the villas and huge glass doors surround the living, dining, kitchen areas that you can open so and feel the gentle sea breezes. There is a BBQ area and two outdoor dining spaces - just amazing. There is an open-air pavilion that separates the living areas from the bedroom and ensuite. From this pavilion, you can sit on the comfy sofa and look out on to the lush garden, sunbed, large daybed and private pool. This is what we had been waiting for – total relaxation and it was all ours.
Our pool backed out on to a wetland with a lilypond that was visited by ducks and Magpie Geese.
We were entertained by them as we swam in our pool and they were quite happy to just hang around. Our villa had some information on these geese. Many form trios for life, one male and two females, they all work as a team building a nest and all three take turns incubating and protecting the eggs.
This resort also has a gym, day spa, large resort pool surrounded by huge day beds, a cocktail lounge and a One Hatted restaurant, where breakfast was served daily. There is also a barista, so I was very happy, and the coffee was amazing.
As it is the hottest and most humid time of the year in December, that evening we closed all the doors and turned on the air con. Unfortunately, it was not working and after calling the front desk and we were moved for two nights into the rainforest villa, which was just as beautiful and the pool backed on to the rainforest, just gorgeous. Apparently, we were not the only ones that loved the rainforest, we were told that the squeaking we could hear was bats in the rainforest, they left at around 8:30pm and came back at 4am and continued to squeak!
On Sunday morning, we drove into the main street of Port Douglas to go to the Sunday markets.
The stalls there sell everything from fresh fruit and juices, arts and crafts, handmade jewellery, candles, shaved ice, handbags etc. It was very hot and sticky so after that we went back to the villa for a dip in the pool.
The next day we drove to Palm Cove which has a beautiful stretch of beach. The main road is right across from the beach and this road is where most of the resorts, restaurants and shops are.
You really don’t need to venture too far from here for food or shopping. It is a very scenic and serene resort area. The beach has an enclosure for swimming but, as it was box jellyfish season and there had also been a few crocodile sightings, swimming was not recommended.
The restaurants in the centre of Port Douglas were fantastic – I can highly recommend On the Inlet (seafood), Salsa Bar and Grill, Sea Bean Tapas Bar and Restaurant.
The next day we went to visit Mossman Gorge. The Gorge is located 20km north of Port Douglas so a very easy and quick drive. Once you arrive at the information centre, there are buses that take you to the Gorge- a 10-minute ride. Once there, there are walking tracks through the rainforest and to the Gorge itself. Generally, swimming is not recommended as there are strong currents, however, many people ignore the warnings and enjoy the very refreshing water!
We also looked around the Sheraton Mirage and its meandering pool – this is a very large resort and we enjoyed cocktails and snacks in the hotel’s Daintree Bar. There is also a great view from Flagstaff Hill that overlooks Four Mile Beach.
Our tropical escape was everything we hoped for and much more, we came back to manic Sydney more relaxed and ready for Christmas!