QT Port Douglas is a spunky resort in the heart of Port Douglas.
QT Port Douglas is a spunky resort in the heart of Port Douglas. Kate Clifford

Enjoy a flamin' great dinner under a rainforest canopy

MAKING up my mind on what cocktail to order could be the hardest decision I make while staying at the QT Resort in Port Douglas.

After all, there are 13 choices.

I decide to sweat out my decision in the outside lounge area at Estilo Bar, melting into a quaint white couch in the sun.

The combinations of homemade brandies, fresh fruit and even sorbet cocktails are endless, with names such as Aperol Spritzor, Coconut Colada and Jasmine Dream.

The menu even includes a list of "skinny cocktails", which are made naturally occurring agave nectar to reduce the calories.

Even the quirky little descriptions, such as every sip is like a sit-up, no spin class required, you're pretty much doing laps at the bar, adds to the idiosyncrasy of this resort.

The QT Port Douglas has a lot on offer for lovers of food and fruity cocktails.
The QT Port Douglas has a lot on offer for lovers of food and fruity cocktails.

Finally, I decide on a devilish concoction of tequila, cherry brandy and crushed fruit nicknamed the Port Douglas Sling.

I am screaming "happy holidays" from the first gulp.

The 170-room resort is new, although its facade has been here as the former Rydges Sabaya.

Now, thanks to a $6.5million nip and tuck, a retro, '50s vibe has taken over and absolutely no expense has been spared.

From the gleaming white foyer to the comfortable rooms, every piece of furniture, art and decor flows perfectly with the retro-glamour appeal.

A giant black-and-white striped lampshade is one of the first things I notice, before my eyes drift to the seaman's ropes bordering the ceiling and cane armchairs kitted with kaleidoscopically coloured cushions.

A spunky little receptionist is wearing bright pink lipstick and a blue jumpsuit to greet the guests, while a bellboy dressed in trademark red suspenders carries their luggage.

They are not the only ones dressed in character either.

All the staff are clad in themed attire, styled by costume designer Janet Hine.

The waitresses flitting around the bar remind me of the Beach Boys film clip to California Girls, with their midriffs showing through flamingo-patterned tennis outfits, while the male bartenders wear shorts printed with tiny surfboards.

Deciding I have had enough sun, I take my cocktail to the room, past the gleaming pool, perfectly blue and refreshing, to get ready for a dinner.

The retro theme flows through the QT's reception space.
The retro theme flows through the QT's reception space.

Tonight we are going to the Flames of the Forest dinner - an enchanting dining experience of traditional Aboriginal cuisine beneath the oldest rainforest in the world.

The bus arrives at 7pm and greeting the strangers I am going to be dining with, they all seem as chipper and eager for the show as I am.

The brochure was not joking when it said dinner would be served in the rainforest either. This rickety bus should be a 4WD instead.

A few bumps and bruises later, we find ourselves rolling along a candlelight path, surrounded by tall trees and thick greenery.

A fire flares brightly as we step off the bus, head along a path to a quaint little hut, illuminated by hundreds of sparkling candles.

The waitresses greet us with delicious tapas plates of goat's cheese and caramelised onion, chicken skewers and fish cake before the show begins.

An Aboriginal man, one of the true land owners, welcomes us to the dinner, guiding us to the restaurant under the stars where his brother plays the didgeridoo.

For the next three hours we are filled with fruitful conversation, amazing five-star food and entertainment.

We are told the Dreamtime story of the platypus and of childhood memories of the brothers growing up in the ancient rainforest.

Satisfied and a little weary, we take the bus back to the resort where I hop into bed and reminisce.

Today I took a trip back to the '50s, enjoyed delicious cocktails and had an incredible Dreamtime dinner under the stars.

This is what a holiday should be.


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