When Santa Wore Speedos - Spending Christmas in Port Douglas & Daintree

In case the tinsel discretely replacing the Halloween sticky webs and the casual slipping in of the odd Michael Bublé track over the shopping centre sound system wasn’t enough of a hint, Christmas is creeping up on us. The weather’s heating up, the decorations and naughty elves are being dusted off and the Christmas cheer is brewing! Before the Advent Calendar chocolates (or gin) start quickly diminishing, take a second to enjoy the approaching festive season. For many, the Christmas and New Year holidays means hanging around with friends and family and gastronomic delight to the point of gluttony. Because #santabodgoals.

Whether you’re here in the tropics for your tenth Christmas or your first, whether you grew up with a Christmas tradition full of carols and egg nog and a New Year full of fireworks and midnight kisses, or this is your first tropical festive shebang in flip flops eating prawns by the poolside, you might find yourself looking for something to help fill some otherwise quiet afternoons. For those who don't have a festive shindig to attend, we've put together a guide to Christmas and New Years in and around Port Douglas for everyone to get excited about.

Christmas in Port Douglas
Where's Santa? Pic credit: Tourism Port Douglas Daintree


Gather round children, because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The time of year when you’re at least 183% times happier, there’s a spring in your step and a cheeky grin on your face when you see a fat ol’ present with your name on it under the tree. But the absolute best reason that this is THE most wonderful time of year, is that you can listen to Christmas carols whenever you please (take that, Office Grinch).

Embrace the magic of Christmas with the Douglas Shire Christmas Carols on Sunday December 15th at the Mossman Showgrounds. With food stalls kicking off from 5.30PM, the main show starts at 6PM and is hosted by Cairns Triple M. The evening show features classic Christmas carol favourites from the Douglas Shire Christmas Choir, a number of Christmas cabaret performances, and - for the kids and kids-at-heart - a very special Christmas performance by kids’ entertainers, Dougie 5.


Tropical Christmases are wonderful, and as much as we love a good tinselled palm tree, a little bit of tradition is a marvellous thing. The Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas certainly know how to turn on the Christmas Spirit. Sunday December 15th also sees the Cairns Choral Society perform their annual Christmas Carols event in the foyer of the Sheraton, surrounded by lush red, gold and green and a magnificent Christmas tree sparkling with enough fairy lights to keep fairies employed all year ‘round. Rumour has it that the man in red often makes this stop a priority visit…

Fancy the taste of Christmas and a sprinkling of the jovial atmosphere but without the fuss? That's understandable –glazed ham for days, roast turkey with all the trimmings, as many prawns you can eat and a delicious pudding really does sound too good to be true. The Sheraton’s signature restaurant, Feast, will be holding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Christmas Night dinners, and it’s definitely best to book early as these events do sell out quickly.

Harrisons Port Douglas Festive Drinks
Christmas cheer! Pic credit: Delicious Magazine, Australia

Closer to town, The Tin Shed is putting on a Christmas feast fit for kings and stretchy pants. Christmas lunch is the way to go here in the tropics – seafood and cheese for days (with a selection of roasts for the traditionalists amongst us) whilst relaxing in the open-air tropical climes sound good? You bet your palm-tree motif resort wear it does.


A Christmas champagne breakfast then a day lazing by the pool working on that Christmas tan (over ham) more your speed? Look no further than the Aluco Restaurant at Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort & Spa. Christmas Lunch starts from 11.30AM and allows time to laze by the poolside before and after, occasionally turn the pages of that romance novel you only ever read on holidays, and occasionally move to refill your glass. That’s how we do it.

Aluco Restaurant and Bar Seafood
Poolside Yuletide. Pic Credit: IG Aluco Restaurant + Bar

Want to swap poolside for seaside? There’s something particularly special about the lapping of water on the sand and the romance of watching the boats go by that simply begs you to sit back and let the Christmas cheer envelope you. Pass the punch, already! Overlooking the gorgeous Four Mile Beach is Hi Tide Restaurant, and at the other end of town watching the boats roll in is the Port Douglas Yacht Club. Sign us up for those sea breezes (both kinds, thanks).

While feasting on the land is delightful, if you want a Christmas Tale that will go down in the retelling of Christmases Past as being the Christmas to beat all Christmases, where else would you rather be than searching for Santa amongst the anemone on the Great Barrier Reef? Calypso Reef Cruises and Quicksilver Cruises are running epic Christmas snorkelling adventures complete with a tropical festive lunch and all the trimmings. Calypso will be visiting two reef sites on Opal Reef, while Quicksilver will be at their famed activity pontoon on Agincourt Reef. Suit up (wetsuit, that is) and get down (under the sea).

Quicksilver Christmas
Pic Credit: Quicksilver Cruises


Hardly has the turkey and prawns digested before we're onto saying good bye to the old and hello to the new! Whether you want to dance the night away, dress in theme or eat some darn fine food with lashings of tropical cocktails, you can do just that in this fine town. Douglas Shire Council has planned a bumper New Year’s Eve to see out 2019. Head down to Anzac Park from 5.30PM free UV Glow Kids Disco leading up to the 8PM Family Friendly Fireworks. Families are encouraged to wear UV active fluoro colours as they dance under UV flood lights for the Kids Disco. With free UV face painting provided by Amazing Faces and everyone’s favourite kids DJ - Ace DJ - dishing out the tunes , this will be a fun event for the whole family. Pack a blanket, snaffle a spot, enjoy the on-site refreshments, then come midnight, the skies will be awash with colour as the Douglas Shire welcomes 2020! Pucker up!

Pic Credit: Douglas Shire Council

Fancy something a little fancier? Just for the grown-ups, Salsa Bar & Grill will be hosting a local produce-inspired 5 course degustation menu with champagne on arrival. Overlooking Anzac Park and the Coral Sea, you’ll have the perfect possie to catch those fireworks to welcome in the New Year. Koko Poolside Bar & Kitchen at Peppers Beach Club are also rolling out the degustation to see in NYE. Settle in with their Asian-inspired tropical menu and see in 2020 while kicking back, dreaming of a relaxing year you deserve. And to really ramp up the elegance, Harrisons by Spencer Patrick at the Sheraton Grand Mirage will be hosting a four course dinner with matching wines fit for any gastronome.

We promised you dress up fun and we won’t disappoint! Hemingway's Brewery at the Crystalbrook SuperYacht Marina will have a NYE Party from 9PM. Show us who or what your most memorable moment of the decade was with the theme, 'Dec-heads: Icons of the Decade'. Dress up as your favourite celebrity (how's about Trump or a Kardashian?), favourite on screen character (Deadpool? Anyone from Mad Men?) or a favourite sporting moment (did someone say 'ball tampering'...?). Free entry with rotating DJs throughout the evening, this is sure to be a fun one.

Hemingway's Brewery Port Douglas
Pic Credit: Hemingway's Brewery - Tourism Port Douglas Daintree

If you've ever dreamt of running away with the circus, Barbados are making it super easy for you. The Greatest Circus is their theme for New Years Eve, so dust off those side show alley costumes and practice your tight rope walking. Doors open at 7.30PM, entry is free and there'll be entertainment until the early hours of 2020.

With a line up like that, it sounds like it’s gonna be a good year.

...What was that restaurant?

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