A boozy week in tropical North Queensland

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In October 2020 Covid restrictions were starting to ease in more states around Australia. My home state of the NT had only had 30 or so cases up until this point and due to this success, we started opening up to other states with similarly low (non-existent) Covid numbers. So, when one of my besties broke up with her long term partner and was feeling like she needed a little getaway, I was all too happy to plan a trip!

Flights to Cairns in tropical north Queensland (TNQ) were on sale and so it just seemed like the obvious choice. We weren’t really look to go adventure seeking, we just wanted a holiday, which is exactly what we got.

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Miss Laura and I on our first night in Cairns

Our first night in Cairns was spent dolling ourselves up and drinking cocktails on a nearby rooftop bar. This night would set the tone for the rest of the trip, our alcohol consumption was absolutely through the roof!

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The next day we set off on a Great Barrier Reef diving excursion, although it didn’t get off to a good start. I made the mistake of telling them on my registration forms that I was taking a prescription thyroid medication for my very stable Hashimoto’s disease – which made them then bar me from diving. Apparently in Queensland it is illegal to let anyone taking any prescription medications (including birth control) go diving without getting medical clearance first – something that I had never experienced anywhere before! It sounds terrible to say, but if I had known that in advance I honestly would have just lied on my registration form (although I definitely don’t condone that sort of behaviour from anyone else) and enjoyed a day of diving.

I was pretty peeved off, but eventually cooled down and decided to still go out on the boat and just go snorkelling instead. As it turns out, it was probably for the best. The spot on the reef that they took us to was absolutely dead – completely bleached coral and almost no wildlife – so saving the extra $100 by diving may have been a blessing in disguise. I will say this, people bang on about the GBR, but it is in absolutely terrible state right now, thanks to climate change and our incompetent government who make no effort to preserve it.

So, what did I end up doing?

Yep, drinking cocktails on the beach and the boat was my day in a nutshell, and honestly, that was kinda lovely in itself.

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The next day we drove from Cairns to Mission Beach to spend a night at some truly stunning accommodation. We had gotten drunk together in the trip planning stage and decided to really go out and splurge on one night in a luxury resort. Most of the resorts were either booked up or totally out of our price range, but we eventually found an available night at Bedarra Island Resort and booked it quickly before sobriety could kick in and tell us not to be so reckless with our money.

Sure, it was an expensive night, but I certainly don’t regret it; in all honesty, we probably ended up drinking our money’s worth and then some.

The island is located about 10km off of Mission Beach and our transfer across was with a beautiful speedboat. We arrived looking pretty windswept, but we didn’t mind, we were now on island time!

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A stay at Bedarra is all-inclusive, and you better believe that we made the most of it. Our room wasn’t quite ready for us when we arrived, so we spent a few hours drinking aperol spritzes on the beach, and because I was in charge of making them, we were hammered in no time at all.

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Cocktail glass or fishbowl? You be the judge!

Once we had settled into our room (stay tuned) we experienced our first meal at Bedarra. Lunch was served in a scenic private dining area and was absolutely phenomenal. The soft shell crab was totally out of this world and exactly what I had hoped for.

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Queensland-Port-Douglas-Cape-Tribulation-Cairns-Girls-Trip-Travel-Blog

After lunch we retreated back to our room to swim in our private pool. Our pool was absolutely stunning, but it was also where my beloved drone decided to take his final flight. I made the mistake of drunk droning, and accidentally brought him in to land too close to the wall, so when a big gust of wind came he made contact with it and rapidly swan dived into the water. I immediately jumped in to save him but it was too late, when I tried to turn him on he started to aggressively smoke and I made the executive decision to cease all remaining resuscitation attempts.

I was sad to lose him, but seriously, if you are ever going to lose a beloved belonging, doing so in a place like Bedarra certainly numbs the pain!

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I mean seriously, how glorious are this pool and its surroundings?!

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The views from our room were nothing short of phenomenal. It’s the kind of view that you simply cannot tire of.

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Not a bad place to wake up!

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The next morning we were both suffering from varying levels of hungover-ness. Mine was mild, Laura’s was definitely on the more severe end of the spectrum. Luckily, a few coffees and a big breakfast were just the cure we needed! We checked out a few hours later and it is a miracle that we were both feeling better as we had a bit of a long drive ahead of us.

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From Mission Beach we made our way to Port Douglas – a touristy town a smidge further north than Cairns. The main drag reminds me a lot of Canggu in Bali – lots of restaurants, day spas and beachy clothing shops to peruse. We checked in to our hotel and spent the rest of the day doing what we do best – getting back on the booze!

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We decided a couple of days later that as much as we loved day drinking and poolside lounging, we really should get out and about and do something a little bit adventurous. Laura had her heart set on going horseback riding in Cape Tribulation. Cape Trib is a remote hedland located within the Daintree rainforest. It is known for being a unique mix of rainforest and coastline and is also where you really start to enter croc country.

(And apparently emu country!)

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I’ll be honest, I had my reservations about this tour. I hadn’t ridden a horse since I was about 7 years old, and using the word ‘ride’ to describe that experience is being generous; I maybe let the horse take two steps before I freaked out and demanded to get down.

I was nervous to ride a horse! It sounds silly, but I’d honestly have felt more comfortable going bungee jumping. Laura thought I was exaggerating when I said I was nervous, but she definitely realised I was being serious – she told me after the tour that for the first little while I looked like I was being tortured!

However, I eventually relaxed and by the time we arrived to the beach I was actually able to start enjoying the experience. It helped that when we were on the beach my horse couldn’t trot too close to the forest and cause me to get slapped in the face with branches!

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Queensland-Port-Douglas-Cape-Tribulation-Cairns-Girls-Trip-Travel-Blog

It ended up being an absolutely fantastic way to end what had been a wonderfully boozy holiday away. We didn’t have any truly epic travel moments to report, but sometimes it really is nice to go on a trip that is simply fun, easy and relaxed.

There is a big difference between ‘travelling’ and ‘holidaying’ and the reality is that this was the first holiday I had been on in a really long time.

I loved it.

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THE  LOWDOWN

Bedarra Island Resort: This ultra luxe 5* resort is one of the more affordable luxury stays in TNQ. It was bloody wonderful and well worth the splurge. Rates start at $1390 AUD per night and all inclusive. Click here to learn more
Cape Tribulation Horse Rides: Despite my reservations about it, this tour ended up being a wonderful experience. There are two tours running per day and the price per person is $139 AUD. Click here to learn more
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: Don’t drink and drone! I cannot stress this enough!

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

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