GBR Drive a brand find­ing its way

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - HOLIDAY FUN TIME - Scott Tib­balls

THE long ap­pre­ci­ated Great Bar­rier Reef Drive is be­gin­ning to re­ceive lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion.

The project to have the 140km stretch of the Cap­tain Cook Hwy re­branded as the Great Bar­rier Reef has long been a project of the team at Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree (TPDD) – with the road re­branded last year in a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward.

There’s still work to do though – ac­cord­ing to Tara Ben­nett of TPDD now is the time for lo­cal op­er­a­tors to get on board and pro­mote the drive be­tween Cairns and Port Dou­glas as an as­set. “Its about devel­op­ing a vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence – it’s not owned by TPDD it’s owned by ev­ery­body, and a big part will be get­ting lo­cal peo­ple on board.”

Steps taken in the past few months to raise the pro­file of the re­branded road in­clude TPDD putting to­gether a 5-day itin­er­ary for trav­ellers to the re­gion, high­light­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties along the road.

The itin­er­ary which was re­leased last month has been sent abroad to tourism of­fi­cers in New Zealand and Europe in a bid to pro­mote the drive.

“It adds an ex­pe­ri­ence – the ma­jor­ity of first-time vis­i­tors have no knowl­edge of the in­cred­i­ble scenic drive we have,” said Ms Ben­nett.

One of the chal­lenges now is so­lid­i­fy­ing the stretch of road be­tween Cairns and Cape Tribu­la­tion as the Great Bar­rier Reef Drive – and stak­ing the re­gion’s claim on the brand­ing to pre­vent the name be­ing di­luted by other re­gions.

Ms Ben­nett hoped there would be sig­nage at ei­ther end of the road pro­mot­ing the drive. Leav­ing Cairns be­hind, head north past the north­ern beaches of Clifton Beach, Trin­ity Beach and Palm Cove. With its long sandy beach lapped by the Co­ral Sea and a back­drop of rain­forest­clad moun­tains, Palm Cove has the per­fect set­ting for an in­ti­mate get­away.

Driv­ing north you pass through pretty El­lis Beach be­fore the road hugs the coast­line as it winds be­tween rain­for­est-clad moun­tains and the wa­ters of the Great bar­rier reef. Stop at a de­serted beach along the way and linger at the Rex Look­ing where an in­cred­i­ble 180-de­gree view of the Co­ral Sea and its coast­line begs a pho­to­graph.

The road leaves the blue of the ocean for the green of sugar cane fields just be­fore the palm lined en­trance to Port Dou­glas.

Known as the place where A-list celebri­ties es­cape, Port Dou­glas has an in­cred­i­bly ar­ray of restau­rants, great bou­tique shop­ping and the iconic Four Mile Beach. It is the clos­est main­land port to the Great Bar­rier Reef and only a short drive to the rain­for­est at Dain­tree and Cape Tribu­la­tion.

Set­tle into your ex­clu­sive re­sort or spa­cious bou­tique apart­ment where ev­ery­thing is in close prox­im­ity. A mea­sure 26km to the Outer Bar­rier Reef from Port Dou­glas makes the world’s largest liv­ing struc­ture in­cred­i­bly ac­ces­si­ble.

Pris­tine is­lands, se­cluded cays, flam­boy­ant co­ral gar­dens and schools of ex­otic fish life can be dis­cov­ered in a mul­ti­tude of ways. Choose from a re­laxed lux­ury cata­ma­ran, multi-ac­tiv­ity pon­toon, ded­i­cated dive and snorkel ves­sel or hop aboard a he­li­copter for a bird’s eye view. Re­turn to Port Dou­glas to be de­lighted by the di­verse range of eas­ier from lo­cal pub fare to ex­trav­a­gant seafood restau­rants and in­no­va­tive al­fresco din­ing. The short drive from Port Dou­glas to Dain­tree Village of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to learn about the abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple who have called the Dain­tree rain­for­est home for thou­sands of years. This is the coun­try of the Kuku Yalanji abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple

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