I wanted to take my 87 yo mother for a holiday with my sister as we had done in previous years. Finding a location that was not too taxing travel-wise and where there were attractions to cater for all abilities was the challenge. I had gifted a stay at Port Douglas to some friends as a wedding present and they returned with glowing reports on Ramada Port Douglas (during renovation period!) so I was keen to see for myself now the renos were complete.
The open foyer (plus free roaming cockatoo) and tropical garden courtyard were refreshing and very welcoming. We felt comfortable and relaxed immediately. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful (as always) with planning our activities for the week. After settling into our very spacious 2 bedroom unit we visited the onsite restaurant, Tree Bar & Grill, for some “Sundowners” by the pool (there is a different cocktail special everyday and we tried them all) while we went through our brochures. We dined at the restaurant on a number of occasions and could not have done better anywhere else.
Our first day was a take it easy day – a Sunday. My sister and I went for a morning walk on 4 Mile Beach only a short distance (2 minutes) from the resort, while the others had a sleep in.
Our plan was to take the Balleyhooly Steam Train (St Crispin’s station is just across the road at the Sheraton Country Club) to the Marina Mirage and walk up to the Sunday Markets and township. Day two was a reef visit. We chose Quicksilver Cruises to the outer Great Barrier Reef, as it offered something for everyone. A stable pontoon meant mum was safe and she went out on the submersible to see the reef while we went snorkeling.
The next day we did a self guided tour of historical sites of the town and Flagstaff Hill. Lunch at Lure Restaurant and Bar, at the marina, was delicious. One goal for mum was to see the Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation so a road trip north, taking in Mossman Gorge on the way, was essential. The Gorge was easy for mum. A trolley car ride from the visitors center, into the park and an easy well-paved walk to the Gorge, meant we all could enjoy its beauty.
Further north, crossing the Daintree River, we picnicked at Thornton’s Beach where the forest meets the ocean and found a wonderful exotic fruit farm that sold homemade ice cream with flavors like lychee, black sapote, mango and coconut (it only came as 4 scoops in the cup, so you had to try all).
Our last major destination before heading home was Kuranda. It has many interesting attractions that could take days to get through. The big draw card for me was the Butterfly House. Mum wanted to do the Skyrail (she had been on the scenic train before) and then there was the myriad of shops and local traders to visit. It was a rainy day in Port Douglas and we had decided to go north and out to Mareeba on the Tableland and then into Kuranda and back up the coast. What a fun trip. We visited wineries, coffee farms, chocolate houses and then coming back onto the coast – Palm Cove – a beautiful beachside community just north of Cairns.
We managed to fit it all in and still had plenty of time to relax and enjoy the facilities at Ramada Port Douglas. There are many more activities to experience so I am going back with some Canadian visitors next year. Can’t wait!
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