Music, racing, award-winning beer, dining in the rainforest and new wildlife attractions give Tropical North Queensland a variety of fresh experiences for the cooler months in the tropics.
Live music at Paronella Park
Historic Paronella Park is once again alive with music from The String Family as part of the evening tours until October 31. The award-winning musicians play original compositions inspired by the magic and beauty of the Cassowary Coast rainforest filling the National Trust property with live music, just like the evenings hosted by Jose Paronella many decades ago.
Be charmed by snakes
Seeing snakes in their natural habitat just got easier with the opening of Pathway of Pythons at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas. The new snake precinct has jungle, olive, amethystine, water and black-headed pythons with each housed in a room designed to look, feel and smell like the place they call home. The attraction is one of the exciting 30th anniversary changes Wildlife Habitat is undergoing.
Deadly dining on country
Join the Mandingalbay Yidinji people on their country for a four-course Deadly Dinner featuring traditionally inspired local produce and Australian native ingredients. Cruise from Cairns city across the water with a Traditional Owner to the natural environment of East Trinity Reserve to be welcomed with a smoking and cleansing ceremony, traditional dance, storytelling and an internationally renowned harpist.
Drivers rally to Targa
Entries have surged by 40% in Targa Great Barrier Reef with more than 270 vehicles to drive Tropical North Queensland’s roads from 30 August to 1 September. This makes Targa Great Barrier Reef the second largest tarmac rally in the world. Non-competitive touring groups follow the drivers serious about winning Targa and put on a $25 million display of exotic sportscars and classic vehicles.
Be a cowboy
Discover your inner cowboy on both horseback and an all-terrain vehicle at KUR-Cow Barnwell, a working cattle property in Kuranda. Feed the cattle on a hay ride to learn about the different breeds and then savour the flavour of each at the restaurant with a beef tasting platter. Get a ringside seat to watch a show of bushman’s skills and meet the friendly working dog who can run all day.
Koala joey on show
Monte Carlo, the sweetest koala joey at Rainforestation Nature Park, has emerged from mum Vovo’s pouch at the age of eight months and is putting on a show for visitors by crawling all over his four-year-old mother. Dad Sunny was on loan from Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary as part of the captive breeding program. The Kuranda nature park has also welcomed two rescue koalas from the wild.
The race that stops Cairns
The Cairns Amateurs Carnival has secured two of Australia’s most awarded Fashions on the Field competitors, Lindsay Ridings and Emma Scodellaro, to judge this year’s titles. The Carnival on September 12-14 is three days of fun, fashion, food and entertainment built around two days of horse racing. Race-goers can pick their own trackside party from exclusive to tropical casual.
Dine in the treetops
Silky Oaks Lodge is throwing open its doors for lunch in the open-air Treehouse Restaurant set in the Daintree rainforest treetops overlooking the stunning Mossman River. Newly appointed Executive Chef Mark Godbeer has arrived from Longitude 131 at Uluru Kata Tjuta, which is also part of the Baillie Lodges portfolio. Two and three course menu options are available.
Fly to the Reef
Scenic flights over the Great Barrier Reef can be enjoyed on Nautilus Aviation’s new factory-built Airbus H130s helicopters which seat seven passengers. The luxury transfers and scenic flights are from Port Douglas to the Quicksilver pontoon at Agincourt Reef, from Cairns to Green Island, and from Cairns to the Great Adventures pontoons at Moore and Norman Reefs.
Top pilsner awarded
The Prospector’s Pilsner from Hemingway’s Brewery was awarded Best Pilsner at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards. Hemingway’s craft beers each have a local story and the pilsner was inspired by explorer James Venture Mulligan whose thirst for adventure ensured Port Douglas was founded. The brewery has waterfront gastro-brewpubs in Port Douglas and Cairns.
New exhibit in Kuranda
What does a caterpillar eat before it turns into a beautiful butterfly? The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda has introduced an exhibit that answers this question. The Food Plant Walk is a 20-minute guided educational walk highlighting various caterpillar food plants and includes a sneak peek at the sanctuary’s aviary used for disease control and egg collection.