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Interesting and scenic day tour. The one we picked took in Alexandra lookout, Daintree river (for a crocodile spotting cruise) and the amazing rainforest... WE SAW A CASSOWARY in the wild! Also included an entomological museum (we saw two kingfishers fishing in a stream here while we had afternoon tea), Cape Tribulation and the fruit bat sanctuary (with Sunshine the rescued fruit bat). Great lunch, local info, ecological knowledge and chat provided by our expert guide Chris, one of Tony's staff... cheers mate (if you see him, make sure you check out the photos!).
Why go with the masses...? During our stay in Port Douglas, we obviously wanted to go and visit the reef. There's so many cruises to choose from. We noticed a leaflet for the S.V. Malaita and we're glad we chose this one. They sent a limo to pick us up at the hotel (now this was a nice touch as the leaflet mentioned hotel pickup, which we assumed to be the usual minibus. Naturally we were quite surprised when the limo turned up and we didn't think it was for us). Expensive you might think? No, the Malaita was actually very good value since it's a sailing boat and so doesn't use as much fuel as the big operators (tourist traps) who use large catamarans. We had a perfect day sailing out to the Low Isles and back (as passengers, it's not like they make you work!), a very nice buffet lunch, snorkelling at two sites around the isles (we were taken to a quieter site when a larger boat turned up and the place was invaded by about 200 people... they scared the fish). We had lunch and an interesting talk about the biology and history of the reef from our knowledgable captain. We even met Barry the Barracuda! Snorkelling gear was provided and for a (very) small charge.. something like $5, were wetsuits. Board at the Marina. So many people go with those gigantic catamarans, the Malaita is something much more special.... oh, and we swam with sea turtles!! Make sure you get the disposable underwater cameras from a local pharmacy (we went to one on Macrossan Street and got a free enlargement when we also had the film developed there.... really good quality pictures)
Dinner under the stars in the rainforest. Need I say more? Oh, OK then... we were picked up from our hotel and taken out into the rainforest where we followed a short candlelit path into a clearing. In the clearing we met our friendly host, Phil, who greeted us with a champagne reception. Then we went up to the candlelit marquee and from near complete darkness it was lit up before our eyes with lots of fairy lights. There were about 30-40 people dining that night and the food was brilliant (one of us is a vegetarian and she was equally impressed at her meal). Entertainment involved aborginal stories and music from the excellent Creek brothers, who even provided a demonstration on how to play the didgeridoo. Great entertainment. Great food. Great value. Magical romantic evening.
At one end of Macrossan Street, La Cucina is a smart Italian restaurant with world class food and friendly, efficient staff. Not too pricey either. So good we went twice.
Great for breakfast. We must have gone every day. Located on Warner street, just off Macrossan Street, about half way along. Excellent breakfast smoothies along with great bacon and pancakes with maple syrup!!
Also located on Warner street, this place had the best pies I've ever tasted... for me to say that, they must have been good. You may think saying that is a bit pretentious, but I live in Oxford and when my parents visit from back up north, I get them to bring pies from the local bakery in my home (Pimblett's, St Helens, Merseyside) town because no pie from any other bakery has ever come close.... that's how much I like good pies... and the ones at Mocka's were better.. sorry Pimblett's). I just wish they would deliver to England!!!
It's a beach, it's four miles long, it's safe, very clean, not very crowded and you can get stuff like body boards, windsurf boards and inflatable tyres to play with. We went to Port Douglas in September so there were no jellyfish (they have nets up in stinger season, which corresponds to the wet season, starting around November and ending around April). There's a cafe across the (very quiet) road next to the beach and central Port Douglas is about 5 minutes walk away. Walk up to the Macrossan street end of the beach and you can get great views of the whole beach from Flagstaff hill.
We went on the afternoon ride, picked up from Port Douglas and spent a great afternoon riding through the forest and along the beach after the excellent staff provided some instructions on how to handle the horses (we were both first time riders and by the end of the day we were hooked!). There were around 6-8 people on our afternoon ride.
The cablecar (world's longest) was good (we took it both ways although we did have the option of taking the train through Barron Gorge if departing or returning from Cairns), and the butterfly sanctuary was great too. Exploring the rainforest boardwalks at the two cablecar stations was quite interesting on the way back. You can do this tour, like many others, from either Cairns or Port Douglas (with hotel pickups).
You can't miss it, it's the bright green place on Macrossan Street. Loads of ice cream flavours, cheap internet and second hand books. We must have gone there every day. The best.
We booked a bus from our hotel reception up to Mossman Gorge and during an afternoon we walked around the rainforest and went snorkelling in the stream flowing through the gorge (we took our own snorkels... you can get a fairly inexpensive mask and snorkel in one of the shops in Port Douglas). We saw eel-tailed catfish and jungle perch, not to mention lots of colourful butterflies. The stream was quite fast in the middle so watch out if you're with children. If we'd had more time we would have visited Mossman and its sugar mill too, but we organised this trip hastily on one of the last days of our holiday. Try the refreshing sugar cane juice at the Sunday markets in Port Douglas though!
Breakfast with the birds was fantastic, as was feeding the kangaroos, wallabies etc shortly afterwards (you can buy food for them at reception). We took a taxi down from our hotel (Martinique on Macrossan... highly recommended) on Macrossan street and then walked back along the beach after our visit (quite a long walk though).
There is a sister habitat on top of the casino in Cairns... sounds a bit tacky doesn't it, being on top of the casino and all... but it wasn't at all. The staff were all very friendly and knowledgable. In the Cairns habitat we saw the fruit bats being fed!!
Departing from the marina, we took the lunch cruise on the Lady Douglas with its knowledgable captain down the Dickson inlet, where we saw a few crocs and birds of prey. Lunch was an extensive buffet and included red spot prawns collected from the On the Inlet restaurant en route. Very gentle pace and a fine way to round off our holiday.