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Port Douglas/Daintree/Cape of Trip- Please advise for an active couple

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Nov 15th, 2002, 06:22 PM
  #1
Sophie
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Port Douglas/Daintree/Cape of Trip- Please advise for an active couple

Hi travellers-
My boyfriend and I are fairly active. After an 8-day bike trip in Tasmania we are looking for some fun scuba diving, rain forest hiking and sea kyaking near the GBR. I would love some advice on where to stay and what to do. We are no longer back packers, but I also don't feel we really need the fancy spa resort.
We arrive in Cairns on 12/9 and will leave for Sydney on 12/13. I am looking to spend $AUD120-200/night. I was kind of thinking of trying to pack Dunk Islands into our trip...sounds like a great place for active people...but that would mean skipping Port Douglas if we want to get to DainTree (has anyone stayed at the Heritage Lodge) and Cap Trib (we would do as a day trip including Cooktown). I have heard it is stinger season, so this might be a good bet.
This is my first trip to OZ, so any advice on places to stay and things to do would be appreciative....think active!!
Thanks so much,
Sophie
 
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Nov 15th, 2002, 07:36 PM
  #2
Pete
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Hi Sophie , Here's the way to do it.
Arrive Cairns. Pick up your hire car at the airport.
Drive direct to Port Douglas. That will take 40 mins. Spend a couple of hours looking round the shops and have a meal in a restaurant. Then continue your drive to Heitage Lodge. I have stayed there several times and it is just great. The location is the best in the rainforest as there is a small river running through the grounds. The place is small well run very clean, the food is wonderful. You will sleep like as baby with the sounds of the jungle gently rocking you to sleep.
I have been there eating a great dinner, enjoying a bottle of red with a python hanging from the rafters. Its a great experience. When you wake up on day two you have a swim in the stream and a nice breakfast which is included in the cost of the accomm. You then drive to Cape trib. That will take ten mins. Not much there except back packers so you will turn your car South back through the rainforest. Lunch in Cairns and then drive to Mission Beach. 1.5 hours South of Cairns. You should then catch a ferry to Dunk , 15 mins. Dunk is like most of the Islands in the North. It is owned by P&O. The actual reef is no where near the Island so you take a day tour to the reef. Dunk is a family orientated Island as it is not that expensive and is easy to get to. There are some excellent walks on the Island.
Stingers do go out that far in the season so you should be careful swimming in December. Stay night 2 and 3 in Dunk. Thats long enough to do a couple of the walks. Take the ferry back to the mainland. Pick up your car and drive to Ingham. 1.5 hours. The longest single span waterfal in Australia is in Ingham. WOW !!! Its a great walk to the bottom. I have done it lots of times. Once finished , come bach to the car and drive along the inland road to Atherton. Spend a night some where in that area. There are loads of B$BS and Australian Pubs up there. This area is known as the Atherton Tablelands. Lush , green , pastures and wide open spaces. You wil meet some Australians up there as well whom actually live and were born in the area unlike the coast where every one is from some where else.
And Sonia , theres your trip. Drive down to Cairns from the tablelands, jump on a jet and off you go.
Regards Pete
 
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Nov 16th, 2002, 02:25 AM
  #3
znorth
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Hi Sophie,

Just got back from Port Douglas and Cairns 2 weeks ago. Booked the accommodation through websites and got them really cheap.

Stayed at The Lakes in Cairns and booked it through standby.com.au. Got upgraded to a huge 2 bedroom apartment with full kitchen, massive enclosed balcony etc. Cost $99 a night. I tried calling the hotel directly and they quote a much higher rate to stay there and then the girl suggested go through the add I had seen on the net for the best deal.Heaps of tours leave from there and they have 3 pools, heaps of bbqs and it is only a couple of years old. Very quiet and not many kids at all.
Stayed at the fantastic Portsea in Port Douglas and it is gorgrous with kitchenette and spa for $149 a night. Ended up ringing them directly to get the best deal. We stayed 3 metres to edge of pool with own balcony area at ground level, very relaxing and not too busy.

Best websites were

Standby.com.au
wotif.com.au
lastminute.com.au

all for accommodation

We did some intro scub diving from Cairns out to Green Island which is a good day trip, snorkelling etc.

If you are an experienced diver you are best to go from Port Douglas further out on the reef to some of the better dive spots.

The Karundra skylift was great 8 KM's across rainforst and then the scenic train back to the bus. We did this after going white water rafting in the morning as part of a package.

Have fun on the trip.

Cheers,

ZN
 
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Nov 19th, 2002, 12:12 AM
  #4
Sophie
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It is like you both know me. Your advice...the detail...the thoughtfulness...is wonderful. I am getting really excited for this trip. The one question I have is will we regret having to skip Dunk Island? or the Atherton Tablelands area??? We only have from Mon-Fri and I don't think we can cram it all in. I am thinking....
Fly into Cairns
Drive to Port Douglas and spend the afternoon strolling the town & the beach
Spend day 2 diving (Poseidon seems to be a good company to go with...anyone have any others to recommend?)
Drive day 2 evening to the rainforest...to Heritage Lodge
Spend day 3 touring the rainforest and Cape Trip...even Cooktown (we will have our own car)
Day 4...now this is the question...I am thinking we will drive down to the Ingham/Atherton Tablelands area (as you suggest)...drive around and do some hiking, and find a cute B&B. The alternative is to go to Dunk Island for that day/night. Any suggestions?
Day 5....return to Cairns airport to catch a 3pm flight.
Thanks again!! I am so very grateful for your advice!!!
Sophie
 
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Nov 19th, 2002, 06:48 PM
  #5
LN
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I think you might enjoy Port Douglas more, Cairns is not that marvelous. (Actually a bit weary around the edges) If you want to go to Dunk Island - by all means DO IT!! You won't forget it and it will always be the big wish that you never did.

Pete seems to be giving good advice. but above all else.

have a marvelous time!!!!!
 
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Nov 20th, 2002, 11:53 AM
  #6
Bethany
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Well, you've certainly been given great advice. Too bad you couldn't fit in a live aboard to do you SCUBA diving. My husband and I did a 4 day live aboard with the Nimrod Explorer and we had the best diving experience of our lives. Not to mention that live aboards are the most inexpensive way to go. It cost approximately $125.00 a day which included all of your food, lodging, SCUBA equipment rental and the best education I've ever gotten on diving and marine life.

We also did the Cape Tribulation thing and I'd have to say, unless you're going to spend some time in that general area, it isn't worth the drive up. We drove up from Port Douglas and back in one day and it was mainly driving without seeing or experiencing anything. I would highly recommend the Tablelands instead. Much closer and just as much to see.

I hope you don't miss the opportunity to do some SCUBA diving while you're there. Afterall, it is the largest reef in the world and arguably the best diving you'll ever see. Just remember, no matter where you go in Queensland, it will be wonderful.
 
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Nov 20th, 2002, 03:36 PM
  #7
Kay
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Sophie,
I don't want to be a wet blanket but if you have a hire car, you won't be able to drive to Cooktown as the road is not made and usually you can't take rental cars on dirt roads. The bitumen road only extends to Cape Trib, and that's only been made recently.
We had a great day driving to Cape Trib and back to Port Douglas. We had a hire car and took a picnic, drove up to Daintree and caught the cable-ferry across the Daintree River (there's no bridge) and stopped here and there along the way. Picnic for lunch at Cape Trib on the beach and stopped along the way back at some gorgeous beaches, there is a place called, I think, Thorntons where you can get lunch or a drink and it's all open to the air and 2 steps from the beach - beautiful!
You can also do a river trip from Daintree (where the ferry is, just turn up and book) to see crocs etc. Be very careful if you go swimming, there can be sharks and crocs in the sea. You'll notice warning signs all over the place, particulary on the road to Cape Trib. Have a wonderful time!
Kay
 
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Nov 20th, 2002, 03:36 PM
  #8
Kay
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Sophie,
I don't want to be a wet blanket but if you have a hire car, you won't be able to drive to Cooktown as the road is not made and usually you can't take rental cars on dirt roads. The bitumen road only extends to Cape Trib, and that's only been made recently.
We had a great day driving to Cape Trib and back to Port Douglas. We had a hire car and took a picnic, drove up to Daintree and caught the cable-ferry across the Daintree River (there's no bridge) and stopped here and there along the way. Picnic for lunch at Cape Trib on the beach and stopped along the way back at some gorgeous beaches, there is a place called, I think, Thorntons where you can get lunch or a drink and it's all open to the air and 2 steps from the beach - beautiful!
You can also do a river trip from Daintree (where the ferry is, just turn up and book) to see crocs etc. Be very careful if you go swimming, there can be sharks and crocs in the sea. You'll notice warning signs all over the place, particularly on the road to Cape Trib. Have a wonderful time!
Kay
 
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