Family Fun in thr Sun
Far North Queensland has an amazing array of activities and attractions, which is why it’s one of Australia’s most popular destinations For Family holidays. Isabelle Lui checks out a Few of her Favorites.
Exploring the 344,400-square- kilometre, Unesco-listed Great Barrier Reef is a must for any traveller bound for Far North
Queensland, but you won’t want to share your experience with the masses, which is why Port Douglas, situated less than 70 kilometres from the thriving tourist hub of Cairns, is a great alternative. From here families can take regular day tours to the outer reef for a day spent snorkeling, sun-worshipping, and marveling at the rich marine ecosystem.
Get a little wild at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, just 25 minutes south of Port Douglas, home to a myriad of Australia’s tropical inhabitants. There, nineteen 2.5-metre to 5-metre-long crocodiles can be observed closely while cruising the park’s lagoon. After learning about the coastal andscapes of northern Queensland and the importance of crocodiles in wetlands, you’ll hear more about the conservation efforts underway to protect this ancient species.
Perhaps the best place to admire the magnificence of a tropical rainforest is from the air. Sitting in one of Skyrail’s cable cars, you’ll have an aerial view of Barron River National Park’s rainforest as the vehicle glides over abundant canopies. During the ride, you’ll spy the Barron River Falls emerging from the lush bush, before disembarking at the two stops along the way to delve into the forest’s interior. An alternative to the cableway is the Kuranda Scenic Train, which descends from Barron Gorge, passing across bridges adjacent to the awe-inspiring 243-metre Surprise Falls.
A relaxing afternoon walk on Port Douglas’ popular Four Mile Beach is a must-try activity for nature-loving travellers. Spanning 10km along the Coral Sea coast, this scenic beach is sand bubbler crab territory, with thousands of tiny sand spheres thrown out from crab-drilled holes all over the beach. Be sure to time your visit for the beach’s dramatic sunsets.
Alternatively, early risers might prefer to catch the sunrise during an hour-long hot air ballooning experience with Hot Air Balloon Cairns, which offers postcard-perfect views of the coast. While you’re reaching 300 metres above the ground, the sun rises from the back of the mountains and the warmth of the sunlight hits your skin, contrasting the surrounding chilly air. Back on land, enjoy a luxury beachfront breakfast with champagne on Palm Cove. www.hotair.com.au/portdouglas
A relaxing afternoon activity is cycling along the coastline from the Trinity Bay lookout through Port Douglas. Macrossan Street is lined with boutique shops and restaurants, perfect for souvenir shopping or dining. If you’re staying for the weekend, time your ride to coincide with the Sunday Markets, held near The Reef Marina. The markets, established 20 years ago, are open from 8am till 1.30pm and features a range of locally made handcrafts and the backdrop of Coral Sea.