Escape the winter chills. Discover Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge, the Daintree, Cairns and Botanical Ark. Witness heliconia, lipstick palms, miracle fruit and palms in tropical glory. Visit private gardens, meet gardeners and sample unusual tropical fruit.
Meet a Ross Tours representative at Sydney Domestic Airport before your flight to Cairns. On arrival, meet your tour leady Claire Bickle and board our waiting coach, travel to Port Douglas with a lunch stop at Tabu Garden.
This lush tropical garden sets the scene for our tropical holiday. Tabu is in Freshwater, nestled at the foot of Mt Whitfield. The design here is clever with mass plantings of beautiful foliage and flowers. It benefits from a rainforest backdrop, sculpted as it is into the hillside.
Our destination today is Mossman Gorge, within the Daintree, the world’s oldest rainforest (UNESCO wet tropics World Heritage). We’ll take a Dreamtime Walk, conducted by local Indigenous guides, be fascinated by the local Ngadiku (Nar-di-gul) stories and legends. This is one of the most beautiful walks in the world. The walk takes along private, gentle tracks, visiting special places and culturally significant sites, past traditional bark shelters and over meandering cool rainforest streams. After lunch in the cafe, we visit the new Mossman Botanic Garden.
Start the day like the locals do! At the famous Port Douglas Sunday Market where you’ll find original arts and crafts, jewellery, pottery, tropical clothing, fruit and vegetables, glassware, books, homemade foods and unique Australian goods. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax poolside at the resort, read a book or explore Port Douglas. We can arrange an optional Great Barrier Reef cruise so you can experience this marine wonder of the world.
A magical place awaits at Botanical Ark in the lush countryside outside Mossman in far North Queensland. Alan and Susie Carle have an ambitious goal, to save the rainforest. Instead of writing a cheque, they are going about it with a mix of creativity, practicality and sheer hard work. Meet the Carles who grow 3000 different species of rainforest plants, more than 400 of which are edible.
One of the Carle’s strategies is to use their love of food and their passion for new flavours to lure us into saving the rainforest by eating it. So lunch at Botanical Ark is a treat. But first, there’s a tour of the garden, crammed with unusual fruits and the stunning flowers of tropical heliconias, costus and other treasures.
Our palates and our minds are intrigued by the tastes, and the tales, of the rainforest fruits and we leave Botanical Ark energised and inspired by the Carles’ passionate activism.
We visit our friend, respected local garden designer John Sullivan’s idyllic Coral Sea house and garden with sublime views of an azure sea, a heavenly combination of native and exotic plants and contemporary tropical architecture. John will take us around his 1960s house which has been completely repurposed for comfortable 21st-century living and the pool area pays homage to Thomas Church-inspired design. You’ll never want to leave! As president, John will give us an insight into exciting plans for the new Mossman Botanical Garden and share examples of tropical garden design. Travel on to Cairns. Stroll around another beautiful tropical garden, Flecker Botanic Garden. Follow the Rainforest Boardwalk to Saltwater Creek and Centenary Lakes, to watch the birds.
South of Cairns is the extraordinary Paronella Park. Jose Paronella bought 13 acres of virgin scrub beside Nmena Creek Falls in 1929 with the plan to create a castle. After years of dedication, the park officially opened to the public in 1935. Today the castle is wrapped it up in an amazing range of 7,500 tropical plants and trees. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to ruins in a lush ancient jungle. This afternoon we’ll visit Orchids North an Orchid Farm and nursery with a beautiful array of tropical and exotic orchids on display.
Scenic drive up the Gillies Range to Australia’s largest tea plantation, Nerada. We’ll have a guided tour before Devonshire tea with scones in the Tea Room. On the way to Lake Barrine stop at Curtain Fig Tree National Park, named after the 500-year-old fig tree who’s 15m long ariel roots form a ‘curtain’ to the forest floor. Visit Lake Barrine, created 10,000 years go after a volcanic eruption and water filled the crater. See impressive local twin Kauri trees. Lunch at the Lake Barrine Teahouse.
Free morning in Cairns then afternoon flight home.
You will be contacted by a Ross Tours Travel Manager to confirm your details and preferred method of payment.
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