Recently my friend Steph did two things to confirm that she’s a stand-up mate. Firstly, she asked me to be her bridesmaid. Secondly, she announced that being a bridesmaid meant I had to get myself to Port Douglas for a destination wedding. Don’t mind if I do!
I’d already been to P-Dougy on a raucous girls’ road trip when I was 19, but this time I was keen to celebrate with Steph then kick up my feet and switch off my hyperactive mind.
Port Douglas is a quaint, tropical town that’s one of Australia’s most popular destinations, offering the ideal blend of snorkelling and diving, gourmet seafood dining, open-air pubs and a seriously slow pace.
Steph and Shannon tied the knot at the gorgeous beach chapel, much to the joy of passing tourists who stopped to take photos.
Afterwards, we were taken to the phenomenal Flames Of The Forest restaurant, about 10 minutes out of Port Douglas. If you’re up there, do yourself a favour and book a special dinner there – the setting is like nowhere on earth and the food is amazing.
From the road, you follow a trail of lanterns down a path that brings you to a clearing amongst the forest filled with burning lanterns and fairy lights. It was magical.
The dancefloor cranked all night – thanks especially to the 40-odd pairs of thongs Steph provided for girls in painful heels.
My travel buddy/boyfriend and I spent the next few days chilling in Port Douglas, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and napping beneath the shady palms on the beach before grabbing a hire car and heading north to the Daintree at Cape Tribulation, where the relaxation really took hold.
Most tourists will settle for a day trip up there, but having sampled the Amazon the year before, we knew we wanted a good dose of rainforest action. There’s something about going to sleep to the sound of cicadas and having no phone or internet reception that helps you forget about normality. Cape Tribulation is where the Daintree meets the ocean, so you’ve got the double benefit of stunning forest and tropical beach. Heaven.
There’s countless bush walks on offer around the area that take you to secluded, crystal clear swimming holes.
Juse make sure you check for signs of danger. We happily frolicked in a freshwater swimming stream, wondering why body else was taking a dip … it was only after we got out that we saw this sign. *Shudder*