Where the rainforest meets the reef
Cairns is located close to the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef, providing easy access and endless inspiration for incentive programs. This three-day itinerary combines rainforest and reef experiences with wildlife encounters, swimming, snorkelling and on-the-beach seafood feasts.
After breakfast at your hotel in Cairns, travel an hour north along the Great Barrier Reef Drive to Mossman Gorge in the Daintree Rainforest. Start your visit at the Mossman Gorge Centre, where the local Kuku Yalanji people will lead you on a Dreamtime Walk. After a traditional smoking ceremony, this 90-minute tour takes you to sacred Aboriginal sites, as guides explain local customs and culture. Enjoy a demonstration of how to make soap and ochre paint; learn how to identify native foods in the wild; and finish your tour with a morning tea of damper bread and bush tea.
Return to the coast for a picnic lunch on a private beach at Thala Beach Nature Reserve, a resort located on a secluded headland near Port Douglas. Share your picnic hampers on a blanket on the sand, or book Herbie’s Beach Shack, a rustic cottage on the water’s edge with a bar and timber deck shaded by coconut palms. Next, travel 10 minutes by car to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures to spot crocodiles and feed cassowaries. Afterwards, you can plant a tree as part of Hartley’s project to help restore the local Notophyll rainforest.
End your first day with dinner at Flames of the Forest, 10 minutes' drive south of Port Douglas. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by fire dancers and the sight of hundreds of lights hanging from the trees. This private, all-weather venue features a permanent marquee and can cater sit-down dinners for groups of 10 to 850 people. Flames of the Forest offers a variety of entertainment options and branding opportunities, including live performances, pyrotechnics and chandeliers lit in your corporate colours.
Charter a boat for up to 400 people and spend the day on Quicksilver’s private pontoon at Agincourt Reef, at the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. After a 90-minute cruise across the Coral Sea, you can snorkel with a marine biologist and learn about the reef’s ecosystem or dive among corals and kaleidoscopic fish. Those who prefer to stay dry can ride a semi-submersible through the reef lagoons or view the activity below from Quicksilver’s underwater observatory. To finish up, take off from a nearby helipad for a 10-minute scenic helicopter flight over the Agincourt Reef system, where you may see a reef shark or stingray in the shallows.
After a busy morning exploring the clear blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy a delicious seafood buffet lunch that includes oysters, prawns and tropical fruit. Then spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on a deck chair, or handfeed colourful fish from the edge of the pontoon. On the cruise back to the mainland, enjoy photographs of your day displayed on screens in the cabin.
Return to Port Douglas and prepare for dinner at Hemingway’s Brewery located on the Reef Marina. Upstairs is a dedicated function space, which has panoramic views across the marina to the rainforest, that can accommodate 78 people seated or 150 people for a cocktail function. Start with sunset drinks on the private deck before sitting down to a feast showcasing local produce.
If you’re in town on a Sunday, head to the Port Douglas Market at Rex Smeal Park for a guided tour with chef Nick Holloway of Nu Nu. This weekly market provides restaurants and caterers in the local area with their fresh produce, including tropical fruit, herbs and seafood. Learn about these exotic ingredients while you explore the stalls with chef Holloway, selecting ingredients for your cooking class.
A 30-minute trip by road gets you to the beautiful beachside town of Palm Cove, where you will use the produce you collected to cook a delicious lunch. Afterwards, spend the afternoon relaxing at the nearby Alamanda Spa, where you will be served a refreshing hibiscus iced tea before heading into one of eight luxurious treatment rooms. Enjoy a taste of the tropics with a soothing mango body wrap or coconut sugar scrub, then freshen up with a swim in the resort’s adults‑only pool.
Travel 25 minutes by car to Cairns, where you will dine at Salt House Restaurant. Overlooking Cairns Marlin Marina, Salt House is an open-plan venue with a private dining room for 20 people or, for groups of up to 200, you can exclusively hire the entire restaurant. Begin your evening with drinks and canapés at the Island Cocktail Bar or on the Viewing Deck at the edge of the marina, before sitting down to a seafood-focussed modern Australian menu.