If you’re after a holiday that will leave you feeling relaxed and recharged, then a wellness mini-break in the tropics may be just the trip you need. Wellness comes naturally to the top end as warm tropical weather, lush rainforests, long stretches of beaches and an abundance of fresh food set the scene for healthy habits.
We believe that wellness holidays should be an open book, not an unforgiving regime, so we’ve put together some of the region’s best wellness activities, from no-frills nature-based activities to luxurious indulgences for you to relax on your own schedule.
Day 1: Cairns | Friday
Wake up to the tropical sun peeking through the trees and let the anticipation of the first day of your holiday sweep you out of bed for some morning activity.
Head to the buzzing oceanside Cairns Esplanade for a stroll along the boardwalk, swim in the lagoon or take part in many of the free activities on offer. There’s everything from strength-building pilates, chilled-out yoga, energetic beach volleyball or dance-based Zumba to get those endorphins flowing through your body. For more fitness where this came from, check out this active travellers guide.
If you decide to stay in Kuranda, enjoy the fusion of cuisines and fresh local produce at the specialty restaurants and cafes for your nourishing lunch all located within easy walking distance.
Back in Cairns, an alternate lunch stop is Muddy’s café, a local favourite oceanside café with fresh fruit smoothies, flavoursome fish tacos and gourmet burgers.
By the afternoon, it’s time to cool off at Crystal Cascades or one of the waterfalls in this list. Refresh the body and mind at the series of freshwater swimming holes nestled in lush tropical rainforest and surrounded by granite boulders.
The tranquil setting is renowned for its natural beauty and a refreshing remedy on hot and humid days, as being in and near water reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline that course through our bodies.
As the sun descends on the horizon, it’s time to cure the hunger pangs at Salt House restaurant while taking in the waterfront views over Marina Point. The modern venue is centred around a custom-built Argentinian wood-fired grill where local seafood and meat take centre stage. Two highlights on the menu are the dry aged, grain fed tomahawk or a deluxe fresh seafood platter for two. Sip on signature cocktails and enjoy the social atmosphere between diners and friendly waitstaff.
Head to Crystalbrook Riley where luxury meets sustainability. Need more reasons? Heres 6 more.
Optional Detour – Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Does all that exercise sound too exhausting? No stress, you’re on holiday after all. Instead, why not relax in our tranquil rainforest. Soar above the treetops in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and take short breaks along the way at the designated stations to explore the rainforest up close.
At the end of your journey, Kuranda Village awaits with a variety of relaxing experiences like massages and reflexology. The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, with over one thousand species of delicate butterflies will calm the senses as you sit and wait for a visitor to land upon your hand.
To finish, let the sounds of running water at Barron Falls wash away your stresses. The entire round trip takes 2.5 hours, but you’ll want to allow for a few hours for Kuranda exploration.Learn More
Day 2 : Palm Cove | Saturday
Start your day right with an organic fresh breakfast at Rusty’s Markets in Cairns. Fuel your body with the freshest tropical produce with low-food-miles. There is an abundance of exotic fruit and vegetable stalls and delicatessens specialising in worldly flavours to sample. The market operates Friday to Sunday, so make a plan to visit anytime over the weekend.
After breakfast, it’s time to head north 30 mins by car to Palm Cove, the beach enclave and spa capital of Queensland. Naturally, the first stop on the itinerary is Palm Cove Beach for a spot of swimming and relaxation.
Let time be marked by the passage of the sun as you inhale sea-kissed fresh air and listen to the gentle lapping of the waves on this long stretch of palm-fringed beach. Clean air, clean beach = clean mind.
For lunch, beachfront fine dining at Nu Nu Restaurant is a treat for the senses. From the moment you step in, the flavours and ambience exude a perfect blend of elegance and tropical charm.
Each dish showcases the seasonal flavours of the region from the lush rainforest, the reef and outback cattle stations. By indulging in this culinary experience, you will enrich not just your palate but your overall well-being and relaxation.
Palm Cove has been labelled the spa capital of Australia so allow some time to try them for yourself with this guide and feel the stress of everyday melt away.
L.M. Spa at Alamanda Palm Cove by Lancemore provides a holistic wellness experience with a tempting spa menu, featuring treats like the mango enzyme and creamy coconut body wrap, all against a scenic backdrop.
Palm Cove Spa & Beauty at Peppers Beach Club was voted by Conde Nast as one of the best spas in the world and the high accolades can be experienced in their menu of massages, facials and beauty treatments. Visit the award-winning Vie Spa at Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa, where skilled therapists assist you in selecting treatments that leave you restored and inspired.
If your choice of accomodation for the night is The Reef House, you’ll have access to their guest only spa. It is the only spa in Queensland where you can experience Phytomer marine biotechnology skin care. The cultivated natural ingredients are proven to restore natural health and beauty with the benefits of the sea, leaving you looking as good as you feel.
Delicious dining awaits at Vivo, a Modern Australian restaurant with views of the sunset over the beach. Enjoy the fresh Atlantic salmon sashimi or indulge in the Kilcoy black diamond eye fillet or duck pappardelle. Sip on a dragonfruit and lychee daiquiri, watermelon and basil spritz or one of their equally impressive mocktails if you’re after a detox.
Alternatively, this restaurant guide to Palm Cove has you covered.
Choose from this list of accommodation in Palm Cove.
Day 3: Port Douglas | Sunday
Port Douglas & Mossman Gorge
It’s time to go deep into the lush ancient Daintree Rainforest to a place of spiritual and natural significance, Mossman Gorge. The inland oasis is a collection of pristine freshwater pools and tropical greenery, offering a serene retreat for visitors seeking tranquillity and natural wonder.
Join one of the guided walks led by local Indigenous guides who share the rich cultural heritage and storytelling of the local Kuku Yalanji people. The soothing sounds of flowing water, and legendary spirit of the land and its people, will create an unforgettable experience.
Heading north 24 minutes by car is the laidback tropical town of Port Douglas. Macrossan Street in central Port Douglas is buzzing with local cafes and restaurants, whether you feel like fresh local seafood, modern Australian or international fusion dishes.
Watergate restaurant is tucked down a lane away that opens to an airy tropical garden setting with an ever-changing seasonal menu and extensive cocktail list. For vegetarian diners, think coconut arancini, beetroot filo and mushroom risotto, or for meat eaters there is yellow fin tuna or kangaroo loin with local vegetables.
Wrasse and Roe is another popular spot and seafood lovers haven, whether you’re after a hearty meal or an afternoon snack of plump Smoky Bay oysters with a glass of champagne.
After a tasty bite, you’ll be ready for some retail therapy – they call it therapy for a reason, so treat yourself at the beautifully curated fashion, homewares and lifestyle boutiques all within walking distance.
Four Mile Beach is a slice of paradise that allows time to slow down. Stroll along the shoreline or simply bask in the sun’s embrace as you lull about in the gentle turquoise waves, read a book under your beach umbrella or if the way you relax is with action, tackle these things to do.
Continue the relaxation mode with a sunset cruise aboard Sailaway’s catamaran. Gliding over the Coral Sea, the ocean breeze in your hair and expansive horizon will reconnect you with the nature and a moment of mindfulness.
Port Douglas evening dining mirrors the laid-back atmosphere of the town. Located 15 minutes drive from Port Douglas is Osprey’s restaurant at Thala Beach Nature Reserve, set up high in the treetop canopy. Arriving prior to sunset to witness the magic of the amber glow and set the scene for a memorable last dinner while on holiday. The glazed paperbark smoked chicken or local barramundi are standouts dishes that will tantalise the tastebuds.
In town, Zinc is a fine dining must-try with a vegetarian and vegan menu. Enjoy Hokkaido scallops or seafood linguini, dished up with an abundance of locally sourced seafood, vegetables, and meats. Zinc’s mixologists can with one of their specialty cocktails such as a Gin Blossom or a Banana Colada Cruise.
Overnight: Check into one of these hotels and resorts in Port Douglas.
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