Port Douglas, Whyanbeel Valley & The Daintree
Shambhala sits in a spectacularly beautiful valley about 20 minutes drive north of Port Douglas, the international destination famed as the gateway for the Great Barrier Reef, The Daintree and Cape Tribulation.
Port Douglas is a coastal visitor mecca with exceptional restaurants, great visitor facilities including attractions the children will love, and a full range of services and infrastructure. Its smaller country cousin is the town of Mossman, which is the regional service centre and has the closest shopping and services to Shambhala.
The Whyanbeel Valley is a lush retreat reached by traveling through sugar cane fields. It is about 10 kms from the highway turn off at Miallo, about 10 minutes north of Mossman.
Shambhala's immediate neighbours are the popular and famous attractions of Karnak Playhouse Theatre, The Botanical Ark and High Falls Farm.
Karnak is the creation of actress Diane Cilento. Aside from nationally acclaimed quality theatre, the Karnak Cafe & Gallery is open daily between 10am and 4pm
(from 19 May to 21 October). Here you can experience eclectic style, quality arts and craft, contemporary cuisine and welcoming hospitality. Karnak is open for morning and afternoon teas, light lunches, tropical fruit drinks and great coffee, irresistible cakes and muffins and also offers a fully licensed bar.
The Carle family created the aptly named Botanical Ark as their own private botanical garden. It has around 3,000 species of plants and is their own way of preserving and saving the special plants of the world's precious rainforests. It's exclusive in that it's not open to the general public but you can access their interpretive tours and wonderful regional cuisine with prior booking with a simple phone call.
High Falls Farm is one of the region's outstanding attractions and is located on a secluded private property almost next door to Shambhala. There's exotic tropical fruit in abundance a delightful riverside restaurant which has a fabulous timber deck overlooking Wynanbeel Creek. A self guided orchard tour, fruit talk and tasting is what most guests enjoy at High Falls Farm.
The local centre is Mossman, a sugar cane town. You might have to stop during the cane harvesting season at one of the small railway crossings and give way to the cane locomotive hauling the full bins to the mill! The best part of Mossman (aside from the lovely weekend markets set beside the old stone church) is the refreshing and beautiful Mossman Gorge. Smooth granite rocks, deep, swimmable pools of silky rainwater and excellent lookouts and walks through the World Heritage-listed section of rainforest that borders the gorge make this a must-do.
Local beaches include Newell Beach (excellent for fishing and recreation; there's a boat ramp and a convenience store) and Wonga Beach (horse riding and long beach walks).
Do visit tiny Daintree Village - the drive in is as pretty as the heritage village itself which has a population of 200. There's a great timber museum, souvenir stores, artists galleries, dining options and cafes (try the freshly river caught barramundi!) parklands and bbqs and a public boat ramp. Tour boats operate crocodile and wildlife watching excursions on the Daintree River and interpretive rainforest and wildlife walks and experiences can also be found in the Daintree Village itself.
The greater region of Port Douglas/Daintree/Cape Tribulation can be explored at www.pddt.com.au This is the portal of the regional tourism authority and contains the most up to date information and visitor options.