Image via Tourism and Events Queensland

We shouldn’t say it, but sometimes we secretly think that the honeymoon is the best part of a wedding! Yet with hectic social lives, family to look after and high-powered careers to contend with – let alone the cost on top of the wedding celebrations themselves – we don’t wonder why some couples are forgoing their honeymoon completely or opting for a mini-moon a.k.a. shortened honeymoon. If you’re short on time, we’ve created a sweet mini-moon itinerary for you to tropical Port Douglas and The Daintree region. After all, tropical weather and chilled out vibes are always welcome on any honeymoon. Not so welcome: passports, checking lines and super long flights!

Thala Beach Nature Reserve by Polka Dot Bride

Our schedule is for a quick three-day honeymoon. This trip is designed to be a little lazy. So you’ll have time to nap, sun-bake or swim in your nearest pool or safe harbour. Seriously, check for wildlife warnings before you dip in your big toe up here!

Image via Flagstaff Hill by Tourism and Events Queensland

Day 1: Breathe in fresh sea air, stretch your legs and spread your newly married wings… 

  • Hire a car. You’ll want to be mobile and there are several car rental places in Port Douglas itself. Otherwise, there are heaps of options in Cairns if you are starting there. Protip: the Skybury coffee at the airport is sourced from the local Atherton Tablelands and is a quality surprise, should you need a pick me up post-wedding festivities!
  • Take a morning drive meandering along as much of the Great Barrier Reef Drive as takes your fancy. Between pristine skies, wild bush-land and azure seas accenting the coast from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, you may spot colourful hang gliders and para-gliders. Keep an eye out for human made rock piles along the way. Don’t forget to bring your wedding playlist for road-trip music. Or to enjoy that dreamy ‘windows down’ weather.

Image via Great Barrier Reef Drive by Polka Dot Bride

  • Now to a different kind of cruising as you’re probably itching to get up close and personal with the regions’s famed waters. Sailaway offers afternoon cruises to the Low Isles where you can snorkel or sunbathe, then soak up the sunset. There are no kids allowed, so the only babies you’ll see are adorable baby sharks. Alternatively, they also command shorter, sophisticated luxury sunset sailings, where the only thing that gets wet is your whistle as you float upon the Coral Sea. You could even book an entire cruise just for two if budget is no object.

Image via Sailaway by Polka Dot Bride

  • Alight your vessel and you’ll easily spy your dinner spot for the evening: Hemingways Brewery. This gastropub boasts views of gently bobbing yachts in the Crystalbrook Marina, set underneath a canopy of glinting stars, if you manage to nab a table outside. Grab a beer tasting paddle to share as you debate ordering their 1kg flank steak with all the trimmings, designed for a greedy twosome.

Image via Hemingway’s by Krista Eppelstun

Day 2: Time for a little indulgence…

  • Sleep in! Or go shopping in Port Douglas. The choice is yours. If you can be bothered getting out of bed we recommend hitting up the whimsically-named Lemonade and Sparkles for amusing printed shirts and a caffeine hit. Try Tahitian Lime for vivid, locally-designed swimwear (and good karma: they donate a chunk of sales to animal charities) or Barbados which is a luxe island style bar where everything from the furniture to the coasters are for sale! There’s also Deep Whole Foods for nourishing picnic supplies or sneaky midnight snacks and Ahoy Trader for artistic bohemian wall hangings and homewares.

Lemonade & Sparkles by Polka Dot Bride

  • Next you’re off to a late brunch at Salsa Bar & Grill. Should their colourful, globe-trotting menu prove too much to contemplate give it up to fate with the chef’s selection tapas plate. You know you’re splitting the souffle made from Daintree Estates chocolate anyway.

Salsa Bar & Grill by Tanya Snelling

  • If it’s not too hot, work it all off with a stroll along the Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail. This 3km(ish) round trip nature walk from Rex Smeal Park to Four Mile Beach looks out over the Coral Sea, Low Isles and the Daintree Rainforest. Definitely time for some more honeymoon snaps!

Port Douglas Lookout by Krista Eppelstun

  • The evening holds upscale cocktails that taste of the tropics and an undoubtedly romantic seafood dinner amid the cosily-lit Mediterranean interiors of Zinc. Must orders include the ‘Four Raw Tastes of the Sea’ and their local tiger prawns with mango salsa. If you’re lucky, you might spy the odd cute curlew bird hunting for its own dinner between your table legs.

Zinc by Polka Dot Bride

Day 3: Quiet moments interspersed with things that make your heart flutter (not including your new husband or wife!)

  • Head out north from Port Douglas to the Daintree Rainforest area. Keep an eye out for cheeky cassowaries in the bushes along the way.

Cassowary by Tourism and Events Queensland

  • There’s always room for ice cream! Floravilla make their many flavours with organic cream, and local fruit, eggs and vanilla where possible. They have exotic tastes like dragon fruit, goji berry or black sapote and luxurious ones involving ingredients such as chocolate liqueur, Guinness and lush Ironbark honey. But there are more treats to come. Daintree Ice Cream Co, set nearby on 22 acres, including organic orchards and tropical gardens, grow many of their own ingredients. Try seasonal ice creams made with Davidson plum, soursop, jackfruit and a bellyful more.

Image By Ilona Couleur

  • Whether you do this part of the itinerary before or after your ice cream treat is up to you…and your stomach’s individual fortitude. You’ve already taken the plunge. Now take another with Jungle Surfing. It’s zip-lining on a harness through the ancient canopy of the Daintree Rainforest from platform to platform. There’s ups and downs and trust involved as most of the journey is taken side by side and – let’s be honest – there’s a fair bit of yelling; sounds just like marriage to us!

Jungle Surfing Image via Tourism and Events Queensland

  • Don’t forget to pack a rug or a couple of beach towels. Your late lunch will be a picnic where the rainforest meets the sand at the laid-back and peaceful Thornton Beach (maybe don’t sit too close to the water’s edge though; crocs have been spotted here). You don’t even need to pack your own feast, as CJ’s Bar and Cafe is right there ready and waiting by the beach. Naturally with these sea views, we recommend their fresh fish (cooked just as you like) and chips. Do you have time for a hand-in-hand stroll down the beach?

Image via Tourism and Events Queensland

Your mini-moon is complete. Now you just have to return home and begin your new lives together!

Image via Tourism and Events Queensland

Where to Stay – it’s just not a honeymoon without a plush room for two…

Port Douglas and Daintree have a myriad of accommodations to suit your style and budget. But here are just a few standouts if you’re after something extra special!

Niramaya Villas & Spa by Polka Dot Bride

  • Niramaya Villas & Spa: The luxury, Balinese-style, stand-alone villas at Niramaya boast a breezy open-air lifestyle, lush private gardens, including a pool for each space. The entire place feels like a fancy spa with self-contained accommodation options for just a cosy two or your whole bridal party. Don’t miss the the superior hotel breakfast at Chapter One restaurant here (do order the moreish flatbread with labne, cauliflower and hummus if it’s on the menu).

Niramaya Villas & Spa by Polka Dot Bride

ReNewell at Newell: For ultimate privacy, Executive Retreats has dozens of tropical residences in their portfolio for you to enjoy. ReNewell, an architectural home set right on Newell Beach, is just one of them. It has an indoor/outdoor vibe, a designer pool overlooking the ocean as well as views across to Port Douglas township. And you can still get spa services!

ReNewell by Polka Dot Bride

  • Thala Beach Nature Reserve: The stilted suites and forested surrounds of the eco-friendly Thala Beach Nature Reserve make it seems as though you’re sleeping in a rather deluxe tree house. Here you can bird and butterfly watch to your heart’s content. Or why not star gaze or meditate to the rhythm of the waves? Their beach – complete with hammocks and coconuts to order – is so isolated you’ll feel like castaways in a romance flick.

Thala Beach Nature Reserve by Polka Dot Bride

Ms Zebra Says: I can’t imagine how much you’re craving a holiday post wedding! This mini-moon is a great way to take a breather after the all the celebrations are over and you’re in need of some one-on-one time!

About Ms Fleur De Lys: Aside from being Ms Polka’s Editorial Assistant, Ms Fleur de Lys is also Polka Dot Bride’s Melbourne correspondent so you’ll see her running all over town finding wedding inspiration. As both a lifestyle journalist and cocktail aficionado, Fleur appreciates the power of words whipped up as deftly as a good martini.