The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page - WORDS//

It cer­tainly was too deadly at the Mandin­gal­bay Yid­inji’s first Deadly Din­ner by Night. This un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence left guests cap­ti­vated, aided by the am­bi­ence of the full moon that set the scene for a mem­o­rable evening.

We set sail to­ward the Trin­ity In­let, with the sun set­ting over Cairns as a back­drop. Host Dale Mun­draby set our imag­i­na­tions alight with the story of the croc­o­dile and the st­ingray that form the shapes of the moun­tains we headed to­wards.

Along the way, we spot­ted a huge croc­o­dile sun­ning it­self on the banks of the East Trin­ity En­vi­ron­men­tal Re­serve. At nearly 100 years old, he de­serves all the sun he can get. When we ar­rived, we clam­bered off the boat in all our for­mal wear, draw­ing some con­fused looks from nearby fish­er­men.

A short shut­tle bus ride and we were at our exclusive venue where we dis­cov­ered we were to dine in some­thing they called the Croc Cage! A safety pre­cau­tion, we were told, de­signed to keep the crocs out and the hu­mans in … say what?

Mandin­gal­bay Yid­inji ranger co-or­di­na­tor Vic­tor Bulmer led a mov­ing tra­di­tional wel­come and smok­ing cer­e­mony.

Lo­cal de­signer Grace Lillian Lee was there and said she was su­per ex­cited to be fer­ried by boat to a se­cret des­ti­na­tion cel­e­brat­ing the shared Yid­inji Coun­try.

“I feed hon­oured to be a part of the first Deadly Din­ner,” Grace said. “I en­joyed ev­ery minute from be­gin­ning to end … I’m ex­cited to watch the con­cept grow.”

The whole ex­pe­ri­ence, in­spired by na­ture, set its own style of rugged rough coun­try com­bined with a touch of mod­ern el­e­gance. Com­ple­ment­ing this theme, renowned harpist Natalia Mann com­bined her whim­si­cal tunes with the sweet sounds of na­ture.

From the tra­di­tional danc­ing per­formed by the chil­dren from the com­mu­nity to the out­back­in­spired food, the Deadly Din­ner left me in high spir­its.

My favourite dishes of the night were the croc­o­dile won­tons and whole baby bar­ra­mundi with tamarind served on smok­ing pa­per­bark.

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