Olly and Lauren
After our amazing wedding that we would happily do again tomorrow, we got impatient and decided waiting for Olly’s Australian Visa to come through before taking our big overseas honeymoon was going to be too long of a wait! A mini Australian honeymoon was what we needed after endless guests, litres of champagne and the daunting mess of a house full of wedding decorations to escape from! Spoilt with Flight Centre Gift Registry credit and a generous wedding gift of discounted accommodation, we set our sights on 5 days in the relaxing, sunny and steamy Port Douglas!
People always told me your honeymoon is something you won’t forget, being the know it all that I am once again I thought; surely it would be as memorable as any other holiday with the love of your life? But needless to say, I was wrong AGAIN. Our honeymoon felt different, it somehow felt fuller, richer, happier, calmer. I can’t explain how much your head and heart change after those two little words “I DO”. Life feels locked in, cemented, complete and you don’t have that fear (which you never would admit that you had) that you might have to forge through life on your own.
Port Douglas was everything we hoped it would be from the second we arrived. I am not one for romance much, so I was happy to have no rose petals on the bed, just a fantastic resort, friendly staff and a clean simple room ready to go. The Mercure Treetops Resort was EXACTLY what we wanted – it was a 2 minute walk from the beach but it felt like you were tucked away hidden in a rainforest. It was far enough out of town to feel isolated, but still a local bus ride or half our slow secluded beach stroll away. We also fell in love with the resident Cockatoo!
Our days were a delightful repetitive routine which started with the hotel buffet breakfast and a very good one at that! I am fairly certain we were the first ones there and the last to leave as my Husband is a bottomless pit for food and well, we did think best to get our money’s worth before we head home for a few months of porridge to pay off the wedding bill! After a LONG breakfast each day we packed a picnic and headed to 4-mile beach for endless games of beach naughts and crosses and all-day-rest with what seemed like a maximum of 4 other people! We packed enough food, bubbles and sunscreen to last us from morning tea to nightfall.
After our beach days we would then head home, freshen up and jump on the local bus to town – door to door pick up and drop off! Brilliant! The bus was full of locals and tourists and really made you feel like you had been there for weeks, not days. Dropping you straight into the main street, we made the most of happy hour enjoying and comparing cocktails at the numerous restaurants and bars each night. We found ourselves back at Treetops, tipsy, full of food and slightly sunburnt happily tucked up in bed by 9.30pm most nights! If this is not your style then perhaps skip Port Douglas as I know we weren’t the only ones on the bus home at 9pm!
We had to set aside one night for our very final wedding task – our thank you cards. We decided that the honeymoon would be the best place to sit back, reflect and write our best words to thank those who had made our day special. I had everything packed and ready to go, spare pens on hand and Olly and I spent a good three plus hours, hand writing each one. We loved being able to say thanks from the place that they all helped us get to, and well we quite liked the newlyweds round of applause at the local Post Office when we bought a hundred stamps to send them (yes I had to have ones that said ‘Port Douglas’ on them! With that job done, we had two other must do’s for the stay, a Great Barrier Reef dive and the local Sunday Markets.
Our reef tour in one word was ‘outstanding’. We decided upon recommendation from family members to go with Poseidon. They were fabulous and a fantastic mix of families, couples, young and old. The instructors were young, confident, and bubbly with the good old Aussie tongue in cheek attitude that I love to show off to Olly. We were very lucky (surely our luck was due to run out soon we thought!) to see both dolphins and whales on our trip back from the reef – something that others do specific tours for! Because the entire boat agreed to stay out longer, they pulled up, threw ropes out and we were able to jump back in the water and have the whales swim beneath us! A truly amazing experience and we hope others are lucky enough to experience it too. Don’t plan anything too massive after the reef day out, we were simply exhausted, Olly was the only person of 70 to get stung by a bluebottle too so he needed plenty of TLC! The cruise makes it back to the harbour in time for happy hour (AGAIN!) which includes one dollar oysters, ten dollar buckets of fresh prawns and three dollar glasses of bubbles! An hour spent watching the sun go down was a fabulous end to what will be a day we won’t forget. (Yes we were sucked in to buy the professional photos taken and I am glad now we did!).
If you happen to be in Port Douglas on a Sunday, don’t miss the markets at the end of the main street, they are full of the most adorable handmade art and crafts, not to mention the characters that make them! Make sure you grab yourself a fresh coconut cut in front of you by the local family that sells them, it was humbling to see their whole family at work together adding that touch of tropical goodness that one craves at such a destination! A wander around the markets will take hours, so a stop off at the beach inlet to try to spot some crocodiles (no we didn’t see any whilst I was sitting there thankfully!) and a tour of the local church and another sunset on the peir is another perfect end to another perfect day!
St Mary’s By The Sea is the beachside Chapel that stole my heart, I would get married there tomorrow if I could. In fact my bridesmaid’s sister did a few months ago and the photos of her day take your breath away. So if you are planning a destination wedding and this looks like the spot for you – book it now!
Had we have had Olly’s Visa we most likely would have headed overseas for our honeymoon, but in many ways I am glad we didn’t. I couldn’t have hoped for a more loving, relaxing holiday and despite what I had prepared for, it didn’t cost us the earth! Port Douglas is a honeymoon destination that you must consider as it is magical – we will certainly be heading back early in the new year, this time on our Babymoon! Yes that’s right; we have a baby on the way!
What a big year it has been, now I guess in EVERY sense of the word!
Underwater Photography by Oak Beach Productions
All other photography from Olly and Lauren’s collection
Ms Gingham says: “It’s been so nice to see Lolly and Olly’s journey, from engagement, planning, wedding and now the honeymoon. Extra congratulations on your pregnancy! What a massive year!”
Lauren says: “28 year old Queensland born girl, who grew up in Adelaide and has called Melbourne home for the past 7 years! A Chatterbox, some say I could ‘talk under wet cement with a mouth full of marbles’! Organised, bossy, love to exaggerate a good story when I don’t remember parts! I love to play jokes and spoil my friends and family. Obsessed with my furry babies, Basil the Chi x Jack Russell and tabby cat hunter. Head over heels in love with my Pommy Bear Grylls look-a-like fiancé! Living a lucky life and extremely thankful for it!”
You can read all about Lauren and Olly’s journey from engagement to wedding day here.