Luxurious accommodation, romantic glamping on the Great Barrier Reef and an Indigenous musical event are among the new offerings in Tropical North Queensland.
Luxury eco-lodge joins Baillie
Baillie Lodges has added Silky Oaks Lodge to its portfolio of luxury lodges. Set among the World Heritage-listed wilderness of the Daintree National Park on the banks of the Mossman River, the lodge offers river snorkelling, driving safaris, Indigenous guided walks and the Healing Waters Spa.
Romance on the Reef
Couples can get cosy after dark on the Great Barrier Reef in a new deluxe two-person swag on Sunlover by Starlight. The glamping experience on the Moore Reef pontoon is popular with couples wanting to say their vows on the Great Barrier Reef and spend their wedding night under the stars.
Indigenous choir joins art fair
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices will sing in their languages at Cultural Heights, a new event for the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Indigenous artists from across Queensland exhibit at the prestigious fair on July 10-14.
Dine at an aquarium
Watch schools of sharks and fish swim by at the newly opened Dundee’s Restaurant at the Cairns Aquarium. Dishing up Australian beef and seafood, Dundee’s can be included as part of the new VIP Premium Experience, featuring a behind-the-scenes tour and feeding of a cownose ray.
Room upgrade for Shangri-La
Cool neutral tones with a splash of nautical blue set the scene for a relaxed stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, at The Marina Cairns. The hotel has recently completed a refurbishment of its spacious rooms. The waterfront bar and restaurant has also been revamped and named The Backyard.
Celebrate craft beer
The inaugural Cairns Craft Beer Festival will bring five local breweries together on May 11 at Hemingway’s Brewery on the Cairns wharf. More than 20 craft beers and a special collaboration brew will be served along with local food and music.
Discover the rainforest
Dare to stand on a transparent boardwalk 160 metres above the Barron Gorge at The Edge Lookout for an unimpeded panoramic view of the Barron Falls, north of Cairns. It is one of three lookouts at Skyrail Rainforest Cableway’s Barron Falls Station, where you can also visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre.
Master Reef Guides
The first official interpreters for the Great Barrier Reef have graduated and are armed with stories and facts to give visitors the best possible reef experience. The Master Reef Guides can introduce you to a citizen science project or explain the intricacies of life on the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem.
Feed a barramundi
Hand feed giant barramundi and visit a fish hatchery at the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, a spectacular interpretive centre in Karumba, the outback town by the sea. The centre showcases the local wetlands and mangroves, birdlife and flora of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria.
Fresh local produce will be dished up beachside at Palm Cove, north of Cairns, when Reef Feast returns in October 2019. The village’s relaxed lifestyle is livened up with a weekend of music, beautiful food, fine wine, vibrant entertainment and a craft beer competition.
Soothe away the jetlag
Reset that feeling of right place/wrong time with the Touchdown Jet-Lag Remedy at Cairns’ newest day spa, Eléme in Riley on the Cairns Esplanade. Part of the Crystalbrook Collection, Riley is the first of three new hotels to open in Cairns city.
Luxury in the outback
Degustation dining and gourmet picnics in the outback are on the menu at Mount Mulligan, a luxurious boutique lodge alongside an 18-kilometre sandstone ridge. Explore the cattle property with an all-terrain vehicle and tour the historic mine and township.
World’s top rafters compete
White water speed demons will try to tame the Tully River in May 2019 when the World Rafting Championships are held for the first time in the world’s oldest rainforest. Teams from 50 countries will descend on the Cassowary Coast for the eight-day event.
Tuck in at a sports bar
Burgers made with local meat and teamed with craft beers from the Barrier Reef Brewing Co have been a winning combination at n17 Burger Co in Port Douglas. A sports bar has recently been added to the restaurant so you can catch your favourite game.
Fly to an island
Bedarra Island Resort now has scenic flights from Mission Beach over the Great Barrier Reef and its islands with Island Reef Helicopters. The private tropical haven offers secluded barefoot luxury in just 10 villas hidden in 45 hectares of tropical rainforest.