Continued from last week…
After Victoria, it was time for some fun in the tropical sun of Far North Queensland. It’s always fun to drive on the “wrong” side of the road, so I rented a car at Cairns Airport and drove north to the little town of Mossman. Silky Oaks Lodge, located right on the bank of the Mossman Gorge River and adjacent to the Daintree National Park, turned out to be one of my favorite properties of the entire trip. As I entered my River Treehouse, I was immediately transported a world away by the dim lighting, the intoxicating smell of incense and the soft instrumental music playing. Exquisite meals are served at the open-air tree house restaurant, perched above the river under the canopy of the rainforest, and the dining experience here is simply top-notch – the kangaroo and the steak were my favorite and both cooked to perfection! Silky Oaks is the ultimate escape from reality and I could have stayed in that hammock on my Treehouse balcony listening to the sounds of the rainforest forever!
Following Mossman, I spent 1 night in Port Douglas and another night in Palm Cove – 2 little seaside towns north of Cairns and the perfect base to explore FNQ. Of course no trip to this region is complete without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. I took a catamaran out to Agincourt Reef where I got to snorkel amongst all kinds of beautiful fish, bright coral and even saw 3 turtles – an unforgettable experience!
I was lucky to get a taste of Aboriginal culture on my Daintree Dreaming day tour. Brendan, who is a descendant of the Kuku Yalanji people, took our small group for a walk on Cooya Beach and taught us how to spear crab and collect bush tucker. He then invited everyone into his home where we enjoyed some homemade damper on the balcony as Brendan cooked up the day’s gatherings while sharing more of his people’s stories. The next stop was at Mossman Gorge Center, where we took part in a spiritual cleansing “Welcome to Country” ceremony, walked through the World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park and went for a dip in Mossman Gorge.
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience in the Port Douglas area, Flames of the Forest is only a 10 minute drive but you will feel like you’re a world away. As I arrived into the rainforest, I was greeted with a glass of bubbly and some hors d’oeuvres. An exquisite family-style meal is served under the canopy of the rainforest as 2 local indigenous brothers play the digeridoo and share dreamtime stories. The pavlova served at the end of the meal was the best I tasted on the entire trip!
Stay tuned for next week’s post, when Ksusha finishes her trip in Sydney.