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Port Douglas - 1 week end March April

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Feb 23rd, 2013, 12:51 PM
  #1
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Port Douglas - 1 week end March April

Spending 1 week up in Queensland, base in Port Douglas, at end March.
Obviously a snorkelling trip on GBR is on the list.
Other suggestions have been:
~ Daintree
~ Kurranda Rainforest
~ River Trip
~ Mossiman Gorge
~ Atherton Tablelands
~ Yungaburra?;
~ Paranella Park/Mission Beach
~ Townsville / Magnetic Island

Advice please on what's there, how long to get there, drive there or recommend an arranged trip, suggestion as of interest to 12yr old boys and their middle aged parents!
Any help or advice would be appreciated. Apologies for spelling!
Kazart11 is offline  
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Feb 24th, 2013, 11:09 AM
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Kazart, I found both Kuranda and Mossman incredibly overcrowded and in the case of Kuranda, very touristy. Recent trip reports I have read haven't made it sound any better in more recent time. Might I instead suggest that you take the ferry across the Daintree river and visit one (or more) of the fabulous rainforest boardwalks up there? You get the rainforest without as many crowds. There are several nice stops along the drive, including a place for ice cream! I guess that is assuming that at the end of March the wet season is over and things are open (others can chime in on that)

If you prefer a tour, I am sure there are several but we didn't use any in the Daintree.

Yungaburra is in the Atherton Tabelands. We enjoyed the Tablelands so much we are planning a return there. There is incredible diversity of critters to see, including platypus! In this area we used Alan Gillanders at alanswildlifetours.com.au We don't have children but I have read many trip reports where families have talked about how well Alan tailors for families, finding things of interest. He does both day and night tours, where you can see all sorts of animals. Up in that area there is also the extremely cool curtain fig tree (not sure I go that right) but your kinds might find it fasicnating.

On Lake Barrine, you can take a boat tour, and the tea house was great for lunch. There is a nice boardwalk, so your kids might enjoy both walking in the area and taking the boat.

For river trips on the Daintree, we went with a couple of different people, but I know for sure that Ian Worcester is still doing tours (I just checked) and we really enjoyed his company (others too, it's just that I know he is doing the tours). www.daintreeriverwildwatch.com.au. He not only was good for the birds and wildlife, he was a great story teller.

The first time I visited the area I also went to Tjapukai, an aboriginal cultural park. www.tjapukai.com.au. That has been a lot of years though, so maybe someone can chime in. Your boys might enjoy it as they might have an opportunity to throw a spear and/or bowie. I recently read my travel diary for that time and noted I had a good lunch in the cafeteria there, but again, it's been a lot of years.

Hopefully this is helpful until some more local people have some input.
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Feb 24th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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Sorry, I meant boomerang, don't know where I got bowie from!
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Feb 24th, 2013, 12:58 PM
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You should be able to do all the places you mention in a week, with the exception of Townsville and Magnetic Island.

Agree with Toucan - some places like Kuranda have become rather touristy and Mossman Gorge can get crowded, unfortunately. It is a good swimming spot, though. One fun suggestion would be the Argo 8x8 tour at Daintree Village - think your family would like that even better than the river cruise. Yungaburra and the tablelands are wonderful, as are the boardwalks and beaches at Cape Tribulation. We found the Nerada Tea Plantation on the tablelands to be a top spot, not the least because we chanced upon a family of tree kangaroos living there. If you are feeling adventurous, rent a 4WD and drive the Bloomfield Track north to Cooktown. A different wold up there, away from the tourist meccas of Port Douglas and Cairns. Willie Gordon's Guurbi Aboriginal tours (from Cooktown) are great.

We recently returned from a trip to North Qld and you'll find my trip report on this board if you search or scroll down. More details on places we went.
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Feb 24th, 2013, 02:55 PM
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Kazart11, Alan here. That link above should be http://www.alanswildlifetours.com.au/

There are lots of interesting things for the boys on the Atherton Tablelands and if you give me some more idea of your interests and theirs I can make some recommendations.

Tjapukai is still good. I was there in November last. The spears they have now are easier for beginners to throw. The cultural presentations are well done.
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Mar 1st, 2013, 12:41 AM
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Really good advice, everything appeals right now, thank you all. As we're there before and during Easter weekend is it best to book trips beforehand or wait until we get there? Was going to leave GBR trip until we arrive to check forecasts etc. I'm now thinking we've underestimated how busy it will be!
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Mar 1st, 2013, 02:02 PM
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AlanJG - Our interests are varied, we do love walking and are interested in seeing native wildlife as well as anything of geological interest. I'm interested in the Aboriginal / cultural side also but my husband prefers to keep away from the crowds - so Tjapukai is still on the maybe list! We're hoping to book an "Alanswildlife tour" and a barrier reef Snorkel trip. Our boys are 12yrs old - so pre-teen up/down interest levels, but they are very active (play rugby union, enjoy swimming, football, assault courses etc)and up for some outdoor exploration, they'd be happy with a bit of spear throwing! We will have a hire car and wondered about a drive to Cape Tribulation - if so are there nature-reserve parking and marked walks? We also wondered about driving down to Mission Beach - would that be worth it? We also wondered about safety when walking without a guide - anything to worry about in Queensland? I'm off now to read Ralph's Queensland trip-review!
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