PORT OF CALL
With winter chills finally descending in the southeast, the balmy days of the state’s far north beckon
Port Douglas is hot – figuratively and literally. With peak tourism season about to kick off, the small coastal town about an hour’s drive north of Cairns is set to explode as visitors descend on this extraordinary tropical paradise.
Tourism is the main industry in town and after a few lean years, 2016 is tipped to be a cracker – with good reason. This place is heavenly. It’s where two World Heritage jewels join – where the rainforest meets the reef. It’s so beautiful; you can’t help but stop and just breathe.
There are plenty of places to stay but for a hip and trendy tropical resort, make QT Port Douglas a first on your list.
Formally a Rydges hotel, the 170-room funky QT reopened in June 2012 after a $6.5 million revamp that transformed it into a retro-glamour Palm Springs-style resort with some serious rattan cabanas around the palm-fringed pool.
It’s part of the growing QT chain that features uber-trendy hotels in Sydney, Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast, Canberra, Falls Creek and Bondi. The funky QT Port Douglas offers an eclectic mix of typical hotel features – pool, pool bar, sun lounges and tennis courts – mixed with a quirky blend of retro art, contemporary design, a super cool custom-made stone bar and unique restaurant/food market.
Once you’ve relaxed with a treatment at the spa (highly recommended), you can spend a day lounging by the pool or stroll across the road to Four-Mile Beach.
Day trips to the inner or outer reef are a must with Quicksilver Cruises, or a sunset sail on Aquarius will work up an appetite for the feast awaiting you at QT’s Bazaar restaurant/food market.
Bazaar is another quirky twist, this time on the traditional buffet. It’s food art meets food stall, gluttony meets Pete Evans. Breakfast is a feast of all the usual morning fare with a special mention for the omelettes made of the freshest ingredients you can hand-pick from the market stall.
Dinner is a multicoloured mosaic of seafood – prawns, oysters, crabs, food-fired pizza, salads in every taste combination and don’t start on the desserts or you will never stop.
After dinner you can drop over to the Estilo bar for a cocktail or nightcap before waddling back to your room and a food-induced coma in blissful air-conditioning.
Sue McVay was a guest of QT Port Douglas.