Going troppo in North Queensland

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!

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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.

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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.

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Steph and Shannon tied the knot at the gorgeous beach chapel, much to the joy of passing tourists who stopped to take photos.

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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.

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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.

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The dancefloor cranked all night – thanks especially to the 40-odd pairs of thongs Steph provided for girls in painful heels.

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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.

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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.┬áCape Tribulation is where the Daintree meets the ocean, so you’ve got the double benefit of stunning forest and tropical beach. Heaven.

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There’s countless bush walks on offer around the area that take you to secluded, crystal clear swimming holes.

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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*

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