Are you a sunshine loving, beach dwelling, ocean baby like me? Do you loath the dreaded chill of winter, as it begins to creep it’s way back into our lives year after year? And before you know it you’re strangled beneath fifty layers of clothes and still unable to feel your fingers.
OK, maybe I’m being just a tad over dramatic! But, thankfully I’ve permanently escaped the frosty season by relocating to a place where the sun shines year round.
Where might that be you ask….?
Far North Queensland of course!
So just as winter begins to really set in down south I was invited by Accor Hotels and Tourism Tropical North Queensland to take part in a tropical #WINTERVENTION to showcase exactly what the chilliest months mean to us up here in the far north.
To start with we swung past the airport to pick up the other #Wintervention-ers before heading straight into the city to check into the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. This luxurious five star property is regarded as one of the city’s most prestigious hotels and is situated right in the heart of Cairns, directly alongside the beautiful Trinity Inlet.
Having recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, The Reef Hotel Casino has so much to offer it’s guests, including an impressive array of stylish bars and fine dining options, a roof top pool, gym and sauna, a boutique Casino and my favourite – a unique wild-life dome conveniently located on the hotel roof. So you can be sure to get up close and personal with some of the regions cuddliest and not-so cuddly creatures.
All of the beautifully styled rooms are appointed with spa baths and a private balcony, offering guests views of either the city and mountains beyond or the iconic Trinity Inlet. Furthermore, included in all room rates is breakfast for two, free wifi, a selection of luxurious mini bar items and a complimentary drink at Bar 36 for each guest for every night of their stay.
So, to kick things off we chowed down on a delicious brunch at Merchant Cafe before making our way up to the roof, where the Cairn’s Zoom and Wildlife Park was in full swing. Here I had the pleasure of cuddling up to a koala, getting a better view of Cairns whilst experiencing a dome-climb and I even made friends with a teeny tiny sugar glider that easily takes the cake as cutest thing I have ever seen!
With half the day behind us already we set off on the next adventure and hopped on board for an afternoon Heli Flight with GBR Helicopters over the breathtakingly beautiful Great Barrier Reef! Taking to the skies for a scenic flight over the reef is an experience like nothing else and is truly the best way to appreciate the sheer size and beauty of this magnificent natural wonder.
From the sky we picked out the perfect spot for a picnic lunch and set the Heli down on a secluded sand island, known as Vlasoff Cay. We spent over an hour soaking up the sun from this little patch of paradise and finished up the afternoon with a champagne and a gourmet picnic lunch put together by the genius chef’s at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino.
If there is a heaven, this has to be it!
After a busy first day we arrived back at the Pullman RHC with just enough time to wash off the salt , freshen up and make our way down to the swanky new Bar 36 for some cocktails, tappas and live music before dinner.
Dinner that evening was at Tamarind, the only ‘chefs hat’ awarded restaurant in Cairns, which is also regarded as The Reef Hotel’s signature dining option. This prestigious venu, features stylish Thai inspired decor and a contemporary menu combining eastern flavors with only the finest locally sourced produce. Boasting a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere, exceptional service and a selection of mouth watering dishes with the perfect infusion of flavours, ensures that Tamarind is a dining experience that is one to remember.
Can’t decide on what to have, my pick is the duck curry… it is to-die-for!!!
Breakfast the next day was an early one, but it was worth it!
Enjoyed from my room, it featured a scrumptious selection of pastries, tropical fruits, granola and my fave – bacon and eggs. The best part however was that all I had to do was roll out of bed, open my balcony door and tuck in whilst enjoying a beautiful sunrise over Trinity Inlet.
This was literally my perfect morning!
After fueling up, we were on the road early and off on our next adventure. We are very fortunate up here in the Far North to be home to not one but two world heritage listed national parks and since we had already checked out the reef yesterday, our next destination was to be the world’s oldest surviving rainforest, the magnificent Daintree.
Mossman Gorge is located within The Daintree National Park and is approx. 1.5 hours drive from Cairns or 20 mins from Port Douglas. It is a sacred aboriginal site, rich with the history and culture of the lands traditional owners, The Kuku Yalanji people, who still call this ancient paradise home.
We set out on a dreamtime experience walk with traditional owner Sam, who guided us along the rainforest paths, past pre-historic ferns and crystal clear watering holes, all the while giving us a glimpse into the past as he talked about his ancestors way of life.
Not only is it rich in history and culture but the gorge is also the perfect spot for a refreshing swim. So after some scones and tea, we headed down to the river banks for a quick dip in the cool emerald green waters.
I could have stayed all day, but before long it was time to get on the road and make our way back to Port Douglas and the Pullman Sea Temple Resort.
Port Douglas itself is a picturesque seaside town, located within easy reach of both the Great Barrier Reef and The Daintree Rainforest. The perfect spot for those wanting a tropical getaway with style.
The Pullman Sea Temple Resort is renowned as one of the finest resorts that this bustling town has to offer, with a swimming pool that is one of the largest in the southern hemisphere and a location directly adjacent to the beautiful Four Mile Beach, this MASSIVE five star paradise literally has it all.
Upon arrival we were greeted with sunshine, coconut cocktails and an exquisite buffet lunch of freshly caught seafood and tropical fruits at Aqua Restaurant. The ideal cure for our rumbling tummies. Can I say, YUM!
After filling up on lunch, the rest of the afternoon was spent poolside, with some time to wind down and enjoy all that was on offer. This was a tropical holiday after all!
We had the choice of cocktails at the pool bar, soaking up the sun from our own private plunge pool or experiencing some absolute indulgence at the award-winning Vie Spa.I opted for colourful fruits, delicious cocktails and some me time as I enjoyed the last of the days rays, whilst floating around in my very own pool. Ohh Happy Days!
It was another early start the next morning with just enough time to sink our teeth into a delicious buffet breakfast at Aqua Restaurant before setting sail for the next destination.
Day Three of our #Wintervention was to be a day at sea with the friendly crew from Sailaway Port Douglas. At the marina we hopped on board Sailaway’s luxury catamaran, and set off on a reef and island full day cruise to explore the picturesque Low Isles. This protected coral cay is home to white sandy beaches, swaying coconut palms and beneath the surface a beautiful array of coral gardens and the marine life of the Coral Sea.
Enjoying some sunshine and island time on the beautiful Low Isles!
After a day on the ocean it was time to check out our final destination. We jumped off the boat and headed for Palm Cove, a picturesque little coastal village located only half an hour from Cairns. This sophisticated destination offers a quiet and relaxing atmosphere and is an amazing place to unwind, whilst still offering holiday-goers plenty to see and do. From award winning restaurants, boutique shops and a coconut palm fringed beach to laze about on, Palm Cove has to be one of my favourite places to escape to in TNQ.
Upon arrival we checked into the luxurious Reef House Hotel + Spa, MGallery by Sofitel.
Situated on the esplanade beneath 300 year old Maleluca Gum Trees, this five star beach side hotel is a truely exquisite place to let the troubles of everyday life just slip away. With only 67 guest rooms and suites, The Reef House likes to keep things small so as to maintain a relaxed and sophisticated atmosphere for all of those who come to stay. Here you will find that personal service and attention to detail takes on a whole new meaning which ensured that our time at the Reef House was second to none.
The recently refurbished rooms are styled to perfection with a colonial beach house inspired look that had me feeling so content I never wanted to leave!
So after checking in and freshening up I headed for the Brigadier’s Bar, to enjoy a complimentary glass of Brigadier’s Punch with the rest of the crew and the other hotel guests.This twilight gathering is a nightly tradition here at The Reef House and certainly makes you feel right at home.
Dinner followed shortly at the award winning Reef House Restaurant where we were treated to a fine dining experience that left me in a very happy food coma. The seasonal menu features only the very best locally sourced produce which are combined to create a vast range of dishes to suit any taste. I chowed down on the black angus eye fillet whilst also stealing a taste of the tiger prawn & chorizo linguini – and I can safely say that both of them were mouth-wateringly good!
After sleeping like a baby thanks to all of the delicious food, I was up early again for sunrise the next morning. After all, I can never pass up an opportunity to see the colourful skies come to life above Palm Cove.
We borrowed the hotel bikes on our way out and took them for a spin along the esplanade in search of the perfect spot to watch the sunrise beneath the palm trees. Needless to say we certainly found it –
After some early morning exploring, my tummy was rumbling again, indicating that it was definitely time for some breakfast! This morning I was treated to a breakfast back in bed consisting of buttermilk pancakes with banana & caramel sauce, poached egg and smashed avo on sour dough bread, tropical fruits galore and fresh made danish pastries. All I can say is, WOW it was amazing and whilst tempted – I promise I didn’t eat it all myself!
Full and content from the buttermilk pancakes, it wasn’t long before it was time to make my way down to The Reef House award winning day spa to experience some much needed pampering. This stunning seaside escape had me feeling relaxed from the moment I walked through the door, where I was warmly greeted by the friendly spa therapists and treated to cool towels, a refreshing drink and a choice between many incredible face and body rituals. I opted for a hot stone massage after which all my tension just melted away and I was left feeling a million dollars!
Lunch was upon us quickly, as was sadly the end of the trip. But not before enjoying some exquisite seafood dishes thanks to the head chef Ashe Lewis at The Reef House Restaurant. We were treated to live music by a very talented local flute musician, delicious cocktails and an incredible spread of locally caught seafood dishes that were all carefully matched to accompanying wines. It certainly was a fabulous last meal to finish up on and one that still has my dreaming of the ahhh-mazing chocolate pudding that we had for desert!
So there you have it, it’s incredible what’s possible on an Accor Hotel’s #Wintervention in Tropical North Queensland and if this little glimpse of paradise hasn’t got those travel bugs dreaming of sand and sunshine then surely this awesome video of the trip by the very talented @Phlipvids will get you there! Happy #Wintervention every body!