Inspiration Destinations Australia Turn Up the Knots on Your Port Douglas Escape 

Turn Up the Knots on Your Port Douglas Escape 

Helmet diving on the Great barrier Reef is a fantastic way to spice up your standard Port Douglas itinerary - Luxury Escapes

You’ve strolled sweeping rainforests, explored technicolour coral gardens and dined at chic restaurants… so what's next? Spice up your standard Port Douglas itinerary with these exciting new additions.

If you’ve been to Far North Queensland before, you'll know that Port Douglas is the perfect home base for luxurious dining and spectacular adventures. If you’re planning on visiting again, you may be looking for something off the beaten track. Fortunately, the region offers much more than meets the eye. Look beyond activities on Four Mile Beach, restaurants on Macrossan Street and snorkelling and you’ll find a plethora of new experiences that are bound to elevate your escape.

Sail away into the sunset

Instead of: sunset watching at Rex Smeal Park. Try: a sunset sail.

Rex Smeal Park is a popular place to take in stunning hues of amber and gold at sunset. If you’ve already pulled up a picnic chair at the popular spot, consider experiencing the nightly spectacle from a more intimate vantage point: a sunset sail. Get to the Sailaway check-in office early to leave yourself time to ogle at yachts berthed in the harbour before boarding a luxurious catamaran bound for a 90-minute voyage on the Coral Sea.

Enjoy a drink of your choice upon arrival, then find the perfect spot for sunset viewing, whether it's feeling the refreshing ocean breeze at the boat's edge or relaxing on the sundeck beds as you glide over the shimmering waters. Nibble on canapes and admire views of the rainforest-clad Daintree Mountain ranges, Low Isles and the inlet – perhaps one of the most picturesque ways to end a day in paradise.

Indulge with a fairytale feast

Instead of: dining in Port Douglas. Try: candlelit dining in the rainforest.

If you've sampled all the dining spots on Macrossan Street, why not indulge in a dinner experience that feels straight out of a fairytale banquet? Nestled deep within the seclusion and mystery of Australia’s rainforest, Flames of the Forest offers a uniquely intimate dinner experience under a canopy of towering jungle trees. The location is so enchantingly secluded that the experience includes return transfers from town.

Guests can choose between two captivating performances, but the Indigenous cultural experience is not one to miss. Set against the backdrop of the candle-lit forest, two Kuku Yalanji brothers share their rich heritage through traditional storytelling, didgeridoo melodies and soulful songs. Once you’re ushered to your seat under the dark canopy, decorated with twinkling lights, a delicious procession of seven dishes is delivered to your table. From lemon myrtle-infused kangaroo loin and pan-fried reef fish to a traditional pavlova accompanied by seasonal fruits, each plate is a celebration of tropical produce and native Australian ingredients.

See the Daintree from a new point of view

Instead of: a self-guided visit. Try: a cableway ride or guided walk.

There are multiple ways to discover the Daintree – a walk through its prehistoric wonders being the most obvious. Now’s the time to switch up your view for a deeper appreciation of the world’s oldest, continuously living rainforest. Soar high over the treetops – a vista usually reserved for those with wings – and board a gondola at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Peer directly into the heart of the forest’s different shades of green and immerse yourself in its sounds and smells like never before. For a truly unique experience, opt for a glass floor gondola to see the action of the rainforest unfold directly beneath you.  

Discover the waterways and trails of the Daintree alongside the Traditional Custodians of the Land with a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk at Mossman Gorge. Drawing from centuries of living history, local Kuku Yalanji guides share stories of resilience and sustenance, offering insight into their deep connection with the land. The experience begins with a traditional smoking ceremony, followed by a stroll through lush landscapes to discover traditional plants and bush foods. Keep an eye out for the ‘wait-a-while’ palm, notorious for snagging its sharp hooks on clothing.

Eat where the wild things are

Instead of: general Wildlife Habitat tickets. Try: a breakfast with birds experience.

Wildlife Habitat's Breakfast with the birds, one of the most unique things to do in Port Douglas - Luxury Escapes
Wildlife Habitat, Port Douglas. Supplied.

Start your day with a unique breakfast experience at Wildlife Habitat, where early risers are treated to a feast alongside feathered friends. Enjoy a hearty breakfast in the main dining area, featuring overflowing platters of eggs, tropical antipasti and freshly baked goods, all while colourful cockatoos, owls and parrots flutter around you. After satisfying your appetite, friendly staff will introduce you to animals personally, including Max the dancing red-tailed black cockatoo and Lori the chatty lorikeet. You’ll also be invited to enter a koala enclosure to meet Australia’s favourite icon. With general admission entry valid for five days after your experience, you can enjoy access to the park again and again. 

Get deeper under the sea 

Instead of: snorkelling. Try: upgrading to helmet diving.

If you've tried snorkelling but aren't quite ready for full scuba diving, there's a perfect alternative: helmet diving. This unique experience is offered as an add-on during the outer Great Barrier Reef cruise with Quicksilver Cruises. You'll wear a helmet reminiscent of the 20th century, connected to a fresh air supply, as you gently descend onto a platform beneath the waves. Expect to encounter colourful fish of silver, iridescent blues, purple and green, or even a reef shark asleep on the sandy floor.

There’s still plenty of time to snorkel to your heart's content before or after your helmet dive. Swim as near or far as you’d like – seek out giant clams the size of coffee tables, follow the contours of technicolour coral gardens or simply search for ‘Nemo’. If you’d like to keep your hair dry, there’s a semi-submersible tour departing every 10-15 minutes that explores the nearby reef. An onboard bar ensures you can whet your whistle, with Australian tipples and favourites from Hemmingway’s Brewery.

Ready to explore? Read 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Cairns.

Featured Image: Outer Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Supplied.


About Sarah Julian
Lover of live jazz and Pinot Noir, Sarah loves sewing together outfits for her next adventure – when she's not sewing together sentences.

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