Going troppo

I’d imagined Port Douglas would be like Byron Bay, only hotter. In fact it is more like Double Bay gone troppo.

Built for well-heeled tourists, the town is composed of man-made tropical gardens, tourist accommodation, shopping and eating places — and day spas. There is one petrol station, hidden in a back street. The petrol is cheap; the accommodation is not. The range of designer and exotic clothes was vast, and surprisingly inexpensive for their quality.

At half the price of the Peppers Day Spa, we had a fantastic long massage each at the friendly Port Douglas Day Spa in the main street, near Paddy’s Irish Pub. I highly recommend this Spa: instant results.

When I returned to the waiting room, all pink and relaxed and oily, a man seated there said, ‘I hope I come out looking as beautiful as this young woman’. He wouldn’t believe I was nearly 60, and I wouldn’t believe the owners hadn’t paid him to sit there and say such things.

Painted my toenails hot pink for the first time in 30 years after that!

The many restaurants seemed dear to me, and were astonishingly lacking in even token vegetarian options. Seafood is big, of course, and Emily made the most of that.  Daytime — the coffee, the whimsy and the background music at the buzzy Re-hab in the main street is great.


On the third night we discovered ‘Gone Bananas’, and fell in love with its unique indoor rainforest atmosphere, its cheery and efficient staff — and its fabulous food. Great value for its very reasonable prices — we’d have thought so at higher ones.

Coconut palms grow through the roof, water features tinkle gently, the music is eclectic and the lights are soft. Owner Damien and his sparky back-up, Jodie, each had a dry sense of humour and a generous attitude. We returned the next night, our last, wishing we’d found it earlier.

Had my first cocktail in 30 years there — I think it was called a Sea Cucumber: vodka, midori, frangelica and fresh lime juice. Loved it.

So you can see that the Woman off the Mountain made the most of her experiences in the tropical posh lane.


A relaxed Emily in her new tropical ‘Coco Beach’  gear at Gone Bananas. And this is before the Pina Colada.