An escape to Tropical North Queensland

Cooling off in refreshing waters of Mossman Gorge after a morning spent wandering the rainforest!

If you’re dreaming of a Winter escape that has it all, Tropical North Queensland is certain to exceed your expectations. With two heritage listed national parks coming together to offer an immersive experience, TNQ has got you covered for indulgence, pampering, adventure and a whole lot of sunshine, for the ultimate break that packs a punch.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be whisked away on a #Wintervention with Accor Hotels and Tourism Tropical North Queensland. Exploring the rainforest and the reef over four action packed days, we were given a taste of exactly what winter is like up here in the Far North.

Kicking things off with a good dose of adventure, we jumped into a helicopter and took to the skies for a scenic flight with GBR Helicopters over the Great Barrier Reef. Whilst soaring high over the ocean, the jaw dropping views of the magnificent Great Barrier Reef unfolded beneath us. From up above, we picked out the perfect spot for a tropical picnic before setting down on a secluded sand cay to enjoy a glass of champagne, bask in the sunshine and explore beneath the surface for a while.

Soaring high above the incredible Great Barrier reef with GBR Helicopters

Day two, found us wandering through the oldest surviving rainforest on earth, following the path of traditional owners and their aboriginal ancestors, as we learnt more about the Kuku Yalanji people and their ancient heritage in this magical place. As the day heated up, we enjoyed some tea and scones before cooling off in the refreshing waters of Mossman Gorge.

Day three was spent on the ocean, and we sailed away to the secluded island paradise known as Low Isles. Here, the clear blue waters of the coral sea lap against the islands white sandy beach, as the palm trees sway in the breeze. Green sea turtles can be found splashing about in the shallows and curious baby reef sharks come in for a closer look. Welcome to paradise!

Getting high for a better view of the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino from the Cairns Zoom – Dome climb!

But the adventure was only half the fun as when it comes to luxurious accommodation and fine dining options, we were in the right place, with TNQ being home to some of Accor Hotels’ most prestigious properties. Whilst in Cairns, we could look no further than the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Situated directly opposite the picturesque trinity inlet, with everything we could need right at our fingertips including luxuriously appointed rooms, a boutique casino and Cairns’ only Chef-hatted restaurant – Tamarind. It was the perfect spot to unwind after a day on the reef.

Moving further north, we came to the bustling seaside town of Port Douglas and the Pullman Sea Temple Resort. Home to one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest pools, this massive five star resort had us poolside in no time, enjoying coconut cocktails and the largest array of tropical fruits imaginable.

Say hello to one of the largest pools in the southern hemisphere at the luxurious Pullman Sea Temple Resort, Port Douglas

Last, but certainly not least, we found ourselves in Palm Cove, where we checked into a very stylish home away from home at The Reef House. This colonial beach house-inspired resort combines style and luxury with first class service. I fell so in love with the recent upgrades to the guest suites that I would have been happy to laze about in this bright and airy space all day, and on the final day of the trip, that is exactly what I did for the perfect end to the perfect getaway!

Breakfast in bed? I’ll take lunch and dinner here too please! – Falling so in love with the guest suites at The Reef House, Palm Cove that I never wanted to leave.

Coconut cocktails are a must for any tropical escape at the Pullman Sea Temple, Port Douglas

Rolling out of bed to a spectacular sunrise over Trinity Inlet and the mountains beyond. It doesn’t get much better than mornings like this at The Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

Taking to the skies for a scenic flight with GBR Helicopters – there’s really is no better way to see the reef and Cairns than from above

Breakfast with a view from my private balcony at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns

Feeling as though I just stepped into another era at the beautifully refurbished Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns

Your tropical fruit cravings are satisfied at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns

Photography by Katie Purling.


Getting there
Jetstar flies direct to Cairns from Sydney 18 times a week;

Where to stay
• The five-star Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is considered one of Cairns’ most prestigious hotels;
• Renowned among the finest hotels in Port Douglas, Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort & Spa offers a range of accommodation choices, all situated around one of the largest lagoon pools in the Southern Hemisphere;
• Featuring a beautiful beachside location and newly refurbished accommodation facilities, The Reef House Hotel & Spa, Mgallery by Sofitel is a stylish, boutique Palm Cove resort;

When to go
TNQ regions Cairns, Port Douglas and Palm Cove, are hot and humid year-round with temperatures averaging around 31°C. Winter months are generally milder yet clear and sunny, averaging around the mid-twenties, making it an ideal #Wintervention escape from Australia’s cooler climes!
Rainy season is from November to April and beware of stingers from October to March.

What to do
• Take a scenic helicopter flight over the Great Barrier Reef with GBR Helicopters;
• Cuddle a koala, zipline over a saltwater crocodile, or embark on a dome-climb over Cairns with Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome;
• Experience a Dreamtime Walk and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Daintree Forest before taking a dip in cool, emerald waters with Mossman Gorge Gateway Centre;
• Sail aquamarine waters aboard a luxury catamaran while island hopping and snorkelling around the Lowe Isles with Aquarius Port Douglas;

More information
• Visit Tropical North Queensland;
• AccorHotels;

More on Katie
Katie Purling is a photographer who first developed her love and appreciation of nature while growing up amongst the gum trees and rolling green fields of the Adelaide Hills. Katie is currently based in Cairns, exploring all that the the tropical top end of Australia has to offer.
You can also follow Katie on instagram @mycolourfulworld_ 

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