Why writer KATE WICKERS is dreaming of Port Douglas in Australia 

Upbeat for Down Under: Why writer KATE WICKERS is dreaming of Port Douglas in Australia

  • The Daily Mail’s Kate Wickers recalls a wonderful family trip to Port Douglas in northern Queensland
  • She remembers cycling along the broad white sands of Four Mile Beach and visiting Daintree National Park
  • She also has happy memories of exploring the Great Barrier Reef with her three teenage sons

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Sailing back to Port Douglas after a day exploring the Great Barrier Reef, in far northern Queensland, I sing along to Waltzing Matilda.

On the deck of the Quicksilver catamaran, a young man with a guitar and crowd-pleasing repertoire has the whole boat joining in.

We’ve spent the day snorkelling over the Agincourt Reef’s coral ribbons, among Moorish idols, butterfly, parrot and triggerfish, with an enormous Maori Wrasse making a star appearance.

G’day for a trip to the beach: Looking out from northern Queensland’s coast towards the magnificent Great Barrier

G’day for a trip to the beach: Looking out from northern Queensland’s coast towards the magnificent Great Barrier

My three teenage sons are sun-baked with freckled noses and sea-salted hair and I could stay here for ever, caught in this moment of contentment.

At Crystalbrook Marina, we stop for a Coral Cay beer and sunset view at Hemingway’s Brewery, before strolling through Port Douglas, once a fishing village, now an upmarket, though laid-back, resort.

Macrossan Street is lined with independent boutiques, restaurants and bars, and later we’re lured, by the promise of hilarity, into the legendary Iron Bar, for its nightly cane toad races.

A decor of corrugated iron and old timber is the backdrop for family fun and horns are blown to encourage the toads to hop.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie and Fat B*****d are the dubious names of our contenders and for good luck I’m encouraged by the compere to give each a kiss.

‘Strewth, I can tell you’ve done that before, Love,’ comes the affable jibe.

Kate Wickers remembers cycling along the broad white sands of Four Mile BeachFour Mile Beach

Kate Wickers remembers cycling along the broad white sands of Four Mile BeachFour Mile Beach

For dinner, we have a favourite: Nautilus, loved both for its tropical gardens and modern Queensland menu, where we feast on Moreton Bay bugs (a flat lobster-like crustacean) and mud crab cooked with citrus butter. The next morning, we cycle along the broad white sands of Four Mile Beach.

There’s a yoga class in flow and a handful of swimmers, but pretty much we have the beach to ourselves, pedalling out to where the palms end and the mangrove begins, through small streams that trickle into the Coral Sea, and pausing to take photos of the signs that warn of saltwater crocodiles.

I’ve packed a picnic breakfast — croissants and doughnuts from Grant Street Kitchen — which we eat with the sand between our toes. ‘What next?’ the boys want to know. 

Kate and her family visited Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park

Kate and her family visited Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park

A drive out to nearby Mossman Gorge in Daintree National Park to walk the riverside boardwalk to waterfalls where mint green water rushes over granite boulders; then over a rope swing bridge to climb through the rainforest for views of Mount Demi.

In early evening, we stoke up the barbie on the veranda of our beachside apartment. Simple pleasures. Family time.

If only we could do it now. 

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