Port Douglas, in Tropical North Queensland, is the kind of place you could stay in for weeks – the laid-back vibe, fresh food and friendly locals make you feel right at home.
But if you’ve only got limited time, these are some of the must-dos for groups.
Kick off your day with a Dreamtime Walk at Mossman Gorge Centre, an eco-tourism development located in the Daintree Rainforest National Park.
The Ngadiku (meaning stories and legends in local Kuku Yalanji language) Dreamtime Walks are conducted by the local Indigenous people who take visitors on a guided walk along private tracks, visiting culturally significant sites.
Groups are welcomed with a traditional ‘smoking’ ceremony that cleanses and wards off bad spirits, before venturing into the rainforest where the guide demonstrates traditional plant use, identifies bush foods and shares their own stories of their special relationship with the environment.
In the evening, there’s no better place to host an event than at Flames of the Forest, an inspiring event venue hidden amongst the rainforest.
Despite its secluded location, the venue has everything you need for a memorable event, such as a silklined marquee, handmade chandeliers, custom colour LED fixtures for branding opportunities and premium marble bathrooms.
The on-site catering is second to none, with the ability to serve up locally sourced menus for up to 800 guests for a banquet.
Retire for the evening in your luxury accommodation at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas. The property boasts 295 guest rooms and 18 event venues, all surrounded by two hectares of stunning lagoon pools.
The resort can cater for events of up to 1000 guests, with The Glade Pavilion offering the largest pillarless conference space in Port Douglas.
Guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining as well, with several restuarants and bars to cater for all occasions, whether a fine-dining experience or poolside cocktail.
Day two calls for a visit to Thala Beach Nature Reserve, a deluxe family-owned retreat set amongst
native forest and on the shores of Oak Beach. The retreat comprises 75 timber bungalows, each built
on stilts to capitalise on the views.
Settle in for lunch among the treetops at Osprey’s Restaurant, which serves up a seasonal menu that showcases the best of the region’s produce. The retreat also offers two conference spaces with capacity for up to 120 in cocktail style.
Head down to the sea via Thala Beach Nature Reserve’s exclusive beach access to enjoy a fresh coconut from the trees above.
Before you depart, there’s only one way to take in Port Douglas in all its glory. Take to the skies with GBR Helicopters, part of the Experience Co. group, and enjoy Port Douglas and Great Barrier Reef from above.
The adventure and activity provider has a fleet of three-, four- and six-seater helicopters to take groups on once-in-a-lifetime scenic flights above the reef. It’s the perfect way to end an incentive or event in one of Australia’s most stunning locations.
This event planner’s guide to Port Douglas originally appeared in Spice Magazine Autumn.
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