Alex O'Brien


8 things to do in Tropical North Queensland

8 things to do in Tropical North Queensland

Tropical North Queensland offers an abundance of natural beauty and genuine cultural experiences accessible from the front seat of your car. Here are eight of the best!

Self-drive your journey through the only region on earth where two World Heritage listed areas collide - the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.

1. Mossman markets

The charming Mossman Markets aren't as well-known as the Port Douglas Sunday markets but they offer an eclectic mix of quality homemade and second-hand goods.

The Saturday market's stalls offer everything from organic fruit and vegetables to homemade preserves, clothing, artwork and live entertainment.

Despite the markets being situated only 20 minutes from the tourist centre of Port Douglas they have an authentic feel, with locals coming in to pick up supplies for the week.

2. Hoglund Art Glass Gallery

Ola Hoglund and Marie Simberg-Hoglund's glassblowing studio and store sits off the beaten track 40 minutes from Port Douglas.

The husband-and-wife team have worked together for more than four decades to create world-renowned glass artwork.

The stunning jungle glass gallery is where the pair create, display and sell their work.

Hoglund Art Glass made the official glass art for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

The store is open from June to October and closed during the wet season.

The pair also has a New Zealand shop located 20 minutes from Nelson, which is open year round.

3. Mossman Gorge Centre Dreamtime Tour

The Mossman Gorge Centre in the Daintree Rainforest offers a unique and authentic insight into the customs, rituals and everyday life of the local Indigenous population.

The centre, which was dreamed up by community elder Roy Gibson and opened two years ago, offers tours guided by one of the local Kuku Yalanji people.

As well as being a viable cultural-tourism operation, the centre offers a sustainable option for training and employment for the local Indigenous community.

4. Janbal Gallery Aboriginal Art Class

Janbal Gallery is another way for visitors to immerse themselves in the culture and heritage of the local Indigenous people.

Aboriginal artist and co-owner Brian "Binna" Swindley shares stories and knowledge of traditional art, while visitors create an authentic souvenir.

The gallery is open to the public for art classes, painting workshops and gallery sales Tuesday to Saturday, Sunday and Monday the gallery is open by appointment.

5. Hartley's Crocodile Farm

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures offers educational and entertaining wildlife presentations with a focus on sustainability.

Located between Cairns and Port Douglas, the park has more than two kilometres of walkways, leading guests on a journey through woodlands and wildlife where they can see an array of wildlife, including tropical birds, reptiles, insects and native fauna.

The park offers a range of different presentations and experiences, including a daily crocodile feeding display.

6. Sweet Farm Tour

Gerard Puglisi's family has been growing sugarcane in North Queensland for more than 90 years.

The Puglisi's have branched out into the chocolate business and are one of the first cocoa farms in Australia and produces the only single-origin chocolate in the country.

The newly-established Sweet Farm Tour gives visitors a detailed look into how sugarcane and cocoa is grown and harvested, and turned into sugar and chocolate.

Puglisi takes guests on a tour of the working farm and explains the operation's ethically and environmentally-sustainable practices.

7. Evening cocktail at Herbie’s Beach Shack

An evening cocktail at Herbie's Beach Shack, situated on Thala Beach nature Reserve's private beach is the perfect way to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

The shack is open between 4.30pm and 6pm daily for those who are keen to explore the delicious cocktail menu and watch the waves break on the nearby beach.

8. Thala Beach Stargazing

A great way to wind up the night is under the night sky for Thala Beach Nature Reserve's stargazing experience.

Out of the city and free from pollution the sky above Thala offers a clear picture of well-known constellations.

Resort staff use a light beam to introduce visitors to Southern Constellations, most of which can not be seen from Europe or North America.

Guests emerge in a clearing where they can sit and gaze at the stars through their astronomical binoculars.

A 10-inch telescope gives guests a closer look at red giants, star clusters, nebulae where stars are being born, globular clusters, and distant galaxies.

Written by Laura Walters. First appeared on

Laura Walters travelled to tropical North Queensland courtesy of Tourism Port Douglas & Daintree.

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