Cairns looks a lot like Melbourne Florida and Port Douglas looks a lot like Vero beach Florida. It's Florida with mountains, cold clear streams running over granite boulders and river rock to the ocean, big trees and wonderful high canopy rain forest, huge butterflies, mangos, sugar cane, tea farms and crocodiles.
Cairns airport has a terrific qantas lounge, huge! With latte machines, a food spread wines, beers, full bar, free wifi, a few charging stations and a couple apple computers. Quite unexpected but since we arrived 1:30 hrs before flt time we had plenty of time to check it out. No reason to arrive here more than 30 min. before departure, even 20 would see you on the plan with a boarding pass and carry on. The only waits wev’e had have been for checking luggage (sydney 30 min,). Tsa allows liquids, separate computers and aerosols, no ID needed, so visitors are allowed into the terminal and to the gates.
We were thrilled with qantas. Old time flying at its best. Spacious big planes. Helpful, trained experienced stewards. Meals in economy, even on a one hour flight! A free seat between us! In economy, on two flights. iPads in seats for entertainment, hello!
Ok now to our trip. We arrived by plane about mid day and gave ourselves about 50 hrs to see north of Queensland. Cairns is obviously a sweet little airport, that couldn't be easier to navigate through. We picked up our rental car and were easily off to port Douglas for lunch. Note double check billing on rental cars, since they appear to up charge at will. Took us a good 10 min. to get that resolved on return and they came up with every excuse not to use the set rate.
The drive north is easy, a bit narrow, lots of round abouts, stunning views of the rocky coast with wide sand beaches stretching for miles. We stopped at the marina, in port douglas, the inlet for lunch, which was pretty good, scallops and shrimp. They have a large shrimping fleet off this harbor.
Then onto our lodge, silky oaks just north of Mossman gorge. The lodge is a series of one room bungalows on stilts flanking the Mossman river. The NP gorge is just opposite the narrow river. The reception, dining lodge is open air with a gorgeous hardwood floor and views down to the river. Ulysses butterflies scamper about as do bush turkeys. The gym is pretty spare, nice tennis court, two self guided walks into the bush have great signage noting flora and fauna, the canoes are limited by the water level but we had a great time traversing the two sets about 6 times in an hour.
Included in our stay were great breakfasts, ok dinners, and a guided walk in the Mossman. I will say that having an aboriginal guide give you a walk clues you into the tree types and plant life as well as spotting a few insects and reptiles you wouldn't recognize otherwise. Worth doing,
Also worth doing was the boat trip up the Daintree river. Beside the fact that we saw two beautiful crocs cooling on the sandy river banks, the trees, plants, birds and insects are really interesting. There is also Brama limousine mixed cattle grazing, looks a lot like Hawaii - except for the crocks which do catch a few cattle now and then. The views are up to the hilltop mountains which I imagine look a lot like Papua New Guinea not too far from here.
The lodge! Well, we were on a package, which helped with costs I think...Eric was really thrilled with the lodge. I was less so. Australia has average service, period. Both in dining and hotels. At even the top hotels.
Essentially you're paying twice as much as you would in the USA due to the fact that everyone is earning a much higher wage. Good news is that you don't need to leave a Tip.
The lodge has wifi, but not in rooms. So everyone is on their iPad or phone at meals. The main lodge is open air and essentially on stilts in the canopy of the rainforest overlooking the Mossman river and National Park on the other side. It's a lovely, comfortable setting.
The bungalows are a walk from the lodge and have good privacy with views into the canopy. they are spacious with good closet storage and countertops, Eric loved the ceiling shower there was a jacuzzi and single sink in the bath. Evening turndown brought slight clean up and candles. I did enjoy the pool tho it was a bit chilly and not a lap pool but one meant to replicate a natural pool in a series of bean shapes.
Upon arrival we walked up to the rapids, on a rough trail, about an hour plus and enjoyed the signage along the way, then a swim and dinner. The next morning after a great breakfast we went off to the Mossman, and had a nice little intro by the aboriginal guide afterwards a self guided walk on the 2 mile or so walk past the suspension bridge with some gorgeous trees.
Next day we took the drive up to Daintree village for a croc boat ride. A lovely boat ride along the river side with beautiful bird and croc life. The boat we went on was motorized and chosen because it was ready to go when we arrived in Daintree. The first croc was open mouthed on the beach and not shy. Then we saw a spoonbill with other unique birds and tree types. The next croc was on a beach completely without fear. It was a fast one hour tour. Then back to Silky Oaks for tea, a workout and dinner.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Silky Oaks Lodge & Spa is the ultimate destination from which to explore Far North Queensland. This luxury eco lodge consists of elegant spacious lounges and living areas adjoining the stunningly located open sided Tree House restaurant which overlooks the surrounding rainforest and river. Spectacularly located in the Mossman Gorge region adjoining the Daintree National Park offering complete privacy and isolation yet only 20 minutes from Port Douglas ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Priceline, Booking.com, Expedia, Ebookers, Hotels.com, TripOnline SA, LateRooms, Evoline ltd, HotelQuickly, getaroom.com and Cancelon so you can book your Silky Oaks Lodge reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Silky Oaks Hotel Mossman
- Silky Oaks Lodge Mossman, Australia - Daintree Region