Getaway with the Grand Parents – A Round, Reptiles and the Rail

Day six in Port Douglas was Thursday and Dad and I rose early to get in a round of golf at the Mirage Country Club. The normal club rules applied of course with one addition…to forget about your ball if it is in or near the water as the crocodile warning signs are deadly serious. His emphasis on the word deadly was enough to make me buy extra golf balls as I knew I’d be saying goodbye to a few! The course was fantastic and being first to tee off that day gave us the freedom to just cruise around at our own pace and take it all in. The round finished up with me winning, Dad played a shocker and I playing only very bad, but it was nothing that a few late morning beers couldn’t fix back at the clubhouse.

cofGolf – The more shots you play the more value for money the round.

Meanwhile Amanda had taken the kids into town with Mum and did a spot of shopping. Mum treated herself to a massage and we met Amanda and the kids back at our townhouse for lunch. The afternoon was open so we spent the rest of the day at Four Mile Beach in town. This time we explored the rock pools at the near end of the beach finding crabs and fish galore as well as many shells for the collection.

That night Amanda and I had a date night, which is a rare event for us. We started back at the marina at Hemingway’s Brewery (for some more of that porter) before moving to Zinc for dinner. It was delicious and we had great service. I highly recommend dining there.

sdrFeeding the wallabies

On Friday we were a week into our trip and in the morning we visited the Wildlife Habitat. We walked around the different habitats feeding the wallabies and the pesky ducks, found the crocodiles and cassowary before going back for the koala talk and photo. Amanda got to hold the koala (for a price) although for only a brief moment, but she said it was worth it. We also went to the crocodile talk and the kids got to pat both a baby fresh water croc and an amethyst python. It was at this point Fletch decided he wanted to hold a croc for himself.

After lunch we went back for the 1pm photos and he and Immy both got to hold the baby croc. Fletch surprised me that he didn’t get overwhelmed and was great at following the directions of the keeper and photographer. I love snakes and decided I wanted to hold the python and the kids excitedly joined me as Amanda kept her distance. Luckily it was not as busy as it was for Amanda with the koala and the kids and I both got to hold our respective reptiles for a little longer.

Kid loving reptiles Reptile loving kids

At lunch one of the eclectic parrots came up to Dad, climbed his arm and sat on his shoulder. With his sun baked farmer skin he would not look out of place in a pirate movie conversing with his little green mate. Also walking around was a lady with two lorrikeets and they sat on Amanda and then Dad’s arms. Fletch and I unfortunately missed all this from being stuck in the toilets, the less said here the better.

Pirate Grandpa and Croc watch Immy

The kids were wrecked and we tried driving around to get them to sleep after dropping Mum and Dad back at the townhouse. They were heading to the beach and we just wanted the kids to sleep. As irony would have it they always fall asleep when you don’t want them to and they will never sleep when you need them to. So during our drive, whilst looking at local real estate, we found a playground and stopped there to let the kids loose.

The playground had a beach entrance so Amanda went back to get bathers and we ended up spending the rest of the afternoon exploring the far end of Four Mile Beach. This looked more like a beach for the locals rather than us tourists, so much quieter and also more treasures to find. As we walked along the water only ankle deep you could find plenty of fossilised coral as well as hundreds of crabs. We also found a hermit crab in an amazing shell, as well as a starfish. The kids happily splashed and chased some fish too.

IMG_2224_editedImmy loving the water

For dinner we spent our last night at Hemingways, our favourite. Drewboy was playing an acoustic set, a mix of originals with some killer covers, whilst we enjoyed the epic sunset with some drinks and pizzas. After dinner the kids ran around the marina checking out all the boats.

sdrPort Douglas Marina from Hemingways Brewery

Our eighth and last day we got away a little later than we would have liked, I think we were too reluctant to leave as a whole. We had decided to go to Kuranda up the Skyrail and back down on the Heritage train as Mum and Dad had not done this before and last time Fletch really liked it. The views from the Skyrail are great as you sail over the rain forest. On this occasion it was much drier than before, obviously the drought stretches as far as the tropics! As we’d hoped the kids enjoyed it, but Mum could not wait to be rid of the Skyrail (I don’t think she could see the forest from her sudden plummeting demise into the trees).

cofImmy sees a jungle whilst Nonna sees her crash landing site

Because we left so late we didn’t allow enough time to get around and explore Kuranda properly and from memory we had the same problem last time we visited. The town is great with its markets and bazaar, but we only saw these at a glance on this occasion.

The train back down was great for Fletch as he looked out the window at the amazing views and the occasional glimpse of the diesel engine and carriages as we rounded a bend. Immy on the other hand was a bit bored and so were the rest of us I think. I put it down to being the last day of the holiday and being tired and a bit somber about having to leave.

The airport and flight home were done without drama, which is nice to say. We were all in the same row on the plane so Immy slept between Mum and Amanda and Fletch between Dad and I.

It was a great trip and a place I feel constantly drawn to. One local we spoke to, who had moved from Sydney years ago, mentioned that people only visit Port Douglas three times and on the fourth the move there. We have been there twice now and we were already looking at real estate. All I know is that we have to go back there, especially with my parents!


This was the final post covering our adventure to Port Douglas, so be sure to head back and check out Part One (Markets and Mossman) and Part Two (The Reef and a Roadtrip) to get the full story of our holiday.

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

Getaway with the Grand Parents – The Reef and a Roadtrip

Day four (Tuesday) of our holiday in Port Douglas and Amanda and I went out scuba diving on the Agincourt Reef with Calypso Reef Cruises, leaving the kids behind with Nonna and Grandpa for the day. Amanda and I have dived before, including once already with Calypso, but this time it was only a few of us intro divers, which made it more personable. In the middle of the safety briefing, also mid-way to the outer reef, we stopped for a bit of whale watching as some humpbacks made their way across the front of the boat. Pretty exciting even if they were a distance away, but it was the first time I’ve seen whales and when they flicked up their tails I was even more pumped for a day of swimming and diving.

sdrCalypso Reef Cruises

The first dive, I have to admit, is always a bit stressful until I’m in the water. It took me a few breaths underwater to cool the nerves before I could do the prerequisite tests. On this dive, I couldn’t take my camera, which was a bummer as we came across a sea turtle which we swam with for a while as it went from coral to coral looking for food. There was also a lot of colour in this section of the reef with as fish as far as the eye could see. I’ve always wanted to swim with sea turtles so it didn’t matter what happened after this dive as this alone made the trip worthwhile.

IMG_2176_editedWally the puppy of the reef

On the second stop we snorkeled and this gave us another highlight to add to the turtle, which was getting to pat and swim with Wally. Wally is a wrasse that lives in that part of the reef and is as big as our 5 year old Fletcher. It surprised us when the photographer signalled for him to come over with a wave of her hand and for him to obey. He was so awesome just going from group to group for a pat. On this stop, whilst the fish and sea life were amazing, it was evident that the bleaching of the coral has seriously affected the reef. Our previous trip to the outer reef was only 4 years ago and there was a significant difference with the level of bleaching and lack of colour. The crew of Calypso reassure me that it is now starting to regenerate again, which is a promising sign.

DCIM100GOPROGreat Barrier Reef

On the third and last stop we scuba dived again and unfortunately it was a bit lack lustre. Whilst you don’t get a lot of colour down that far, we had next to none as it was overcast and probably due to the bleaching too. There were very few fish, which was the first time I had been to a section that didn’t have a lot of activity. It was still exhilarating, Amanda and I love diving and we have done multiple diving trips now. Our experience must be starting to show with the feedback we got from the master divers and consequently we were able to stay down for over 30 minutes each time, when most only get about 20 minutes diving time.

DCIM100GOPROCouples who scuba together look silly for scuba selfies together

A couple of beers and some travel stories with some of the other people on the cruise and we were back at Port Douglas in no time. As we approached the marina Mum had messaged saying they will meet us at the marina with the kids and we were able to wave to them from the boat. The kids loved seeing us out on the water on the boat and made their way down the pier to where we were coming to dock. We stayed at the marina to enjoy some drinks at Hemingway’s Brewery and recounted our respective day (side note: one of the best porters I’ve ever had and I’ve had a few).

We left Mum and Dad there to dine out by themselves and get a break from the kids, while we went back to enjoy a quiet night at our townhouse.

sdrMount Alexandra Lookout

Wednesday, day five, had rolled around way too quick, so to make the most of it we rose early. However, in reality this was thanks to Fletch again wanting to go straight to No. 6 townhouse to wake Nonna and Grandpa. He loved the independence and freedom to do so and of course the fact that his grandparents are only a couple of doors down.

We did need to rise early though to hit the road up to Cape Tribulation. We had no real plans other than to stop where we liked and to get to Cape Tribulation for lunch. We drove straight through to the ferry, which in itself was a highlight for the kids. They jumped out of their car seats and climbed around the van to get the best view of the ferry and the river crossing.

Marrdja Boardwalk

On the other side our first stop was at the Mount Alexandra Lookout, which was a little busy so we didn’t stay long. We next stopped at Marrdja Boardwalk, a short walk through the mangroves. The kids loved the chance to stretch their legs and run around the boardwalk above the mangrove roots. We got to watch an army of ‘green bum ants,’ as coined by the kids, and them making a webbed nest out of leaves in the tree.

Noah’s Beach all to ourselves

A mate from work gave me a tip to stop at a beach near Noah’s Camping grounds and we may see a crocodile on the beach sunning itself. So we did this and although there were no crocs there were also no other people. We had the whole beach to ourselves and Fletch ran wild up and down the beach from Amanda to me to Nonna and Grandpa. Immy on the other hand was preoccupied drawing in the sand. Noah’s Beach is very beautiful with one end of the beach cut off by a large cliff and at its base is a little estuary leading to a creek into the forest. The water was very clear, but we still didn’t go into the water, it was just great to admire the scene.

cofExploring Cape Tribulation Beach

The kids were tired after the beach so we went straight on to Cape Tribulation and stopped at PK’s Jungle Bar/Pub for lunch. Once fed, the kids sparked up and we made our way to Cape Tribulation Beach. The tide was still out and there was a couple of sand banks, which of course Fletch wanted to venture out as far as possible. He and I made our way out to the farthest sand bank, whilst Immy chased the fish in the shallows. There were mud skippers amongst the rock pools, which the kids found hilarious. Immy and I later explored the mangroves, weaving and crawling our way through the roots.

cofFletch, Jack and Immy (post ice creams)

On the way home we made just the one stop at the Daintree Ice Cream Company and enjoyed the seasons fresh flavours, wattleseed, soapsop, daveys plum, coconut and passionfruit. We walked around the fruit trees and the kids were fascinated with the Jack fruit tree that was one of the only ones in fruit. Immy had a little sleep on Amanda, but was very happy to wake up for some ice cream!

IMG_2189_editedFish’n Chips on the Beach

Fish and chips on the beach for dinner from Dave’s Takeaway. The shop was great with them taking a photo of all the Daves that come into the shop from around the world displaying the hundreds of them on the wall. The kids spent a lot of time splashing around the warm lapping water as the sun set behind them.

This is part two of three of posts covering our adventure to Port Douglas, so be sure to head back and check out Part One (Markets and Mossman) and stay tuned for Part Three (A Round, Reptiles and the Rails) to get the full story of our holiday.

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.

Getaway with the Grand Parents – Markets and Mossman

A while back we came across cheap deals for flights and we decided, off the cuff, to book a trip to Port Douglas and convinced my parents to come along too. I haven’t been on a holiday with my folks since I was a kid, so we had a slight concern about how would we travel together? Luckily my parents are amazing with our kids, so as we’d hoped there was no issue whatsoever and we all had a great time! In fact I’d go as far to say the trip was improved by us all being together. So what did we do and how did it all work?

There is not a lot to cover for the first day (Saturday). We had a late morning flight from Melbourne, so we stayed at home, whilst my parents stayed at a hotel near the airport. Once we had arrived in Cairns Fletcher, now five years old and fully aware of what a holiday is, went crazy and hyperactive with excitement. The first 15 minutes of our drive from Cairns was him yelling on repeat, “WE’RE GOING TO PORT DOUGLAS YAY!” That tune was broken by the sudden sight of the first palm tree of the trip, to which he started screaming, “YAY SUMMER TREES!”


Kids a bit excited to holiday with Grandpa

The kids were desperate to swim in the pool, so much so that Fletch plunged in with reckless abandon even though the water was freezing cold. Immy a little less reckless would only go waist deep. That evening was just setting up our respective townhouses, we were in No. 1 and mum and dad were a few doors up at No. 6. Pizza at our place from The Pizza Shop, which was a nice break for Dad who had the kids climbing all over him in their manic excitement. Needless to say it was difficult getting the kids to sleep this night.


Port Douglas Market – Every Sunday

Day two was Sunday, so we walked to the markets to check out the craft and get some fresh food. The day heated up quickly, so morning ice-creams were in order, fresh mango flavoured sorbets, YAY Summer Ice-creams! Every market I visit I sniff out the hot sauce stands and thankfully there was one. If you are a fan of hot sauces get onto Michael at Fenglehorn Sauces these were some of the best I’ve tried. Even had a taste of my first reaper/ghost chilli mix sauce, which he has concocted brilliantly. The delayed burn gave me a real kick, but it was easily rectified with a frozen banana dipped in chocolate!

We stopped at the Central Hotel for a couple of drinks and to discuss our finds from the market and decided the day was too good to waste, so the beach was voted as the best option for the afternoon. Four Mile Beach was busy, but we found some free benches (as in unused they’re $20 a pair), where my parents spent most of their time lounging and enjoying the sun whilst we splashed with the kids. The kids are now getting much braver when it comes to the beach and aren’t flustered by the waves anymore, taking themselves out deeper, which in turn makes it more enjoyable for us not having to deal with anxious kids.


Couple of lovely mermaids in the shallows
A simple BBQ at No.6 was a perfect finish to the day. A proper chance for the kids to rest after all the excitement of the previous 30 hours, but more importantly a chance for me to try my new hot sauces! Fletch still caught up in the excitement about having the grandparents there decided he was sleeping at Nonna’s this night, which he almost did until the very last minute.


Mossman Gorge-ous!

Monday, day three, and the kids had now started a morning routine of heading to Nonna and Grandpa’s as early as we’d let them to wake them up. They insisted on going there by themselves pushing for as much independence as possible, of which we were happy to oblige. Off to Mossman Gorge today to walk the bush trail from the main Centre there, it was one of the highlights from our previous trip and we were keen to do it again. Fletch was very excited to lead the way with map in hand and when that boy is on a mission it’s best to get out of the way and let him go. We first stopped at the swimming hole where I had to climb over every rock with Fletch, whilst Immy, seeing water ripped her shoes off and slowly inched her way closer and closer to the water’s edge looking to see if we’d stop her before finally splashing into it with glee. Amanda went with her into the freezing water and Fletch soon joined them once we got back from the middle of the river traversed by rocks.

Our water loving lady and rock climbing lad

The main walking trail beckoned and we marched into the 2 km round trip track. Turns out the walk is likely a lot longer once you peel off to the many side trails, and even if it is only 2 km it feels further with the hills and uneven track. In saying that our kids walked probably 85% of the way, which was amazing! Adding to this Fletch insisted on climbing the many boulders and rocks along the way. With the kids it took us about 2 hours to finish, but we were in no hurry and we let the kids set the pace as they explored the sights, sounds and touch of the rain forest. Along the way we stopped at the large boulder overhang and many of the amazing strangler fig trees. The kids loved the “jungle” and had their imaginations in overdrive. They were in “dinosaur land.”

Our little cave dwellers and an ancient strangler fig

That evening in Port Douglas we stopped for dinner at the Central Hotel and the kids enjoyed running around the stage in front of the movie screen. At one point a little boy took a fancy to Immy and Fletch seeing that she was a little uncomfortable with the attention ran over and put himself between her and the advancing boy. Fletch held out his hand to Immy and she happily took it and he then lead her away back to us. It was so nice to see him looking out for his sister and that he wanted to help, especially as he had noticed before any of us. As a dad I can now rest a little easier knowing I have eyes on the ground for future boy control.


This is part one of three of posts covering our adventure to Port Douglas, so be sure to stay tuned for Part Two (The Reef and a Roadtrip) and Part Three (A Round, Reptiles and the Rails) to get the full story of our holiday.

The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.