Week 19/3 - Port Douglas

Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
Trip End Dec 27, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

With Leanne's arrival on Tuesday we departed Cairns and headed for the lovely coastal township of Port Douglas, about 50 minutes north. This was to be our base for the next four days, from where we would explore the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

We checked into our energetic hostel, the Parrotfish Lodge; it was a fantastic little place with tropical themed mural covered walls, free breakfasts, free bike hire, live bands and salsa nights as well as $3 drinks - the cheapest I've seen anywhere in Aus!

From the hostel we walked up to the main street and explored Port Douglas. It's an easily likeable place, with a happy, relaxed vibe and clearly plenty of money floating around! Yet it retains an endearing character with all the comforts of a big city condensed into a surprisingly small town. It's certainly more sophisticated and intimate than Cairns, with the addition of a beautiful, four mile long white-sand beach and picturesque mangrove bordered harbour. It works to attract both the chilled-out backpacker crowd as well as the monied luxury spa-dwellers.

As an escape from a tropical downpour (we didn't exactly bargain on this in dry-season!) we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Salsa, apparently the best place in town, and, as evidenced by the autographed plate hung on the wall, patronised by Bill Clinton. Well, if it's good enough for a president, it's good enough for us ;)

Wednesday was a lazy and relaxed day. We met up with Pam and her friends from Gilles Street Primary (quite the girls' road trip!) at the Tin Shed, Port Douglas's Combined Services Club, where we sat on the waterfront deck, shared a bargain bucket of prawns and watched the boats come and go in the harbour.

After lunch, we explored Four Mile Beach (yet another imaginative place name), complete with stinger warnings - I'm building up quite a collection of dangerous animal warning signs! We walked up to the Flagstaff Hill lookout to take in the view back down the beach and then headed back into town for a local delight - Hummingbird Cake and coffee.

After a little retail therapy and a pie stop for Leanne (her latest Aussie addiction, with sauce of course), we returned to the hostel for the salsa and sangria night. Not a late one mind, Thursday was reef day!
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