After research and a lot of taste testing I have realised that the movement towards a plant food diet is real here in FNQ. The more you look, the more options spring up! Even the pub has great options for the vegetarian and vegans alike! Most cafes have plant based milk options and an option other than chips and salad ;)
The Courthouse - MUST TRY: Nourish Bowl.
Café Fresq – All day breakfast menu, and lots of veggie meals. Lovely coffee too.
The Mexican – Modern Mexican – MUST TRY: Cauliflower Tacos.
Deep Whole Foods – So many snacks, kombucha and coffee (not really a meal worthy stop, but snacks for sure).
Watergate – Has a vegetarian menu - MUST TRY: Eggplant stack + Beetroot Cigar.
The Little Larder – Breakfast and lunch, Melbourne cafe style - delish.
Goodies – MUST TRY: All homemade goodies!
Beechwoods Café – MUST TRY: Almond milk coffee + Felafel wrap + Bliss balls.
Chill (MY FAVOURITE) - Incredibly delicious and healthy menu, with options such as activated charcoal bread, hemp seeds spinkled over your meal, green juices and smoothies. And the staff are really friendly and helpful there too. You can see that they are proud of their café, and rightfully so.
Paradiso - Great place for fast food and coffee on the way through.
Lilypad (ALSO MY FAVOURITE) MUST TRY: Temptress Burger (Tempeh, peanut sauce, salad… so so good).
There is a saying, the grass isn’t greener on the other side, well in Port Douglas I would like to concur that the grass IS greener, and I am still on a metaphorical high from exploring the luscious beauty that is quite obviously watered frequently.
Below are a few of my favourite places from my most recent holiday in Port Douglas and surrounds that made my eyes widen and heart soar.
From the moment you arrive you are surrounded by the luscious green Daintree Rainforest, and you can hear the sound of the power from the water running through the Gorge on most parts of the track. Take the circuit track, which will take about an hour to walk around with a few stops to check out the enormous some 1000 year old Fig Trees, and ambling paths that bring you to some gorgeous creeks that run to the Gorge. Take your bathers if it’s a hot day, the water is clear and cool.
Kuranda + Barron Falls
You can take the sky rail, train or drive. Each equally spectacular with views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest.
Amble through the hippy markets at the top in Karanda to find some souvenirs and little keepsakes of your trip. There is art, jewellery, clothing, bags and lots of natural local products. Explore a little deeper and beautiful little bits of street art do seem to pop up.
The breathtakingly large Barron Falls is not far from Karanda Village, about an hour walk, or 5-minute drive. Although it only falls like in the postcard pictures after large amounts of rain, the vastness of the rocky escalades and huge drop to the pools below will make your jaw drop.
Every time I have been to Palm Cove it has been rather windy. I googled it to see if it was ever not windy and the consensus that I drew was that its something called the table winds… However, gorgeous place. Highly recommend eating at a café called ‘Chill’, beautiful locally sourced meals, coffee, juices and smoothies with many healthy and tasty options.
But here there is nothing much to do other than walk the beautiful beach, swan around the jetty and relax amongst the tropical palm trees.
The Daintree Rainforest + Cape Tribulation
If you have a car, don’t be afraid to self-drive to Cape Tribulation! The drive is slow and the enchantment of the beautiful Daintree rainforest is unremarkably green and gorgeous.
There are so many little lookouts, walks and beaches to explore. Watch out for the crocs!
You may also want to stop off at Daintree Ice Cream, where they grow the fruit and make organic ice cream, in numerous tropical flavours. Perfect after a day of walking.
Great Barrier Reef
Book a snorkel/ scuba dive day on one of the smaller boats from Port Douglas Marina. (Skip the big Quicksilver Boats – the smaller boats can take you to more areas that arnt full of people and are best for the weather conditions of the day). Its definitely a more personal experience with less people)
NOTE Before you book have a look at the weather ahead and look for a day that the wind isn’t too strong. Wind causes the water to be choppy, which reduces your visibility to see the beautiful reef and marine life!
I went out on Poisidon and highly recommend it. The captain and crew were awesome, I went scuba diving and we saw a large reef shark, huge fish, gardens of colourful coral, nemos. And the snorkelers also saw were also lead to the best places to see the reef.
Such a good day.
Port Douglas Gym
Located at the back of the Coles Carpark, you can get casual and weekly passes. The gym has everything you could need, its clean and tidy, the owners are lovely, basically a gym home away from home.
4 Mile Beach
Walk or run along the sand. And you can finish with the track up to the Flagstaff Hill Lookout. Head right to the Northern end of the beach, and you will see some stairs. Up the stairs are numerous looksouts, and if you keep walking the track you will end up at the other end of the main street at Rex Park near the marina.
PORT DOUGLAS IS BEAUTIFUL, with the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest sooo close it is definitely a bucket list location to tick off...
In Thailand you cannot escape food! There are restaurants on every street delighting the senses with aromatic smell of fried garlic and chilli, with fresh seafood galore, and market stalls on every corner selling beautiful ripe seasonal fruit and vegetables.
You cannot escape street food, hello fresh banana pancakes!
I eat a vegetarian diet and my mum eats a pescatarian diet, and we definitely found some delicious dishes in all places we visited in Phuket. Here are a few of our favourites!
Kamala Beach was nothing short of beautiful. From fine dining to the beach, the food was amazing...
The Deck, Kamala Beach - Set in the little hillside, with gorgeous views right over the beach. The chef made me some vegetarian rice paper rolls and a tau green curry, both of which were not on the normal menu, and both were sooo delicious. Mum had a red curry with prawns which she loved also.
Lillo Cafe, Kamala Beach - Right on the beach this little cafe is always busy! We had pad thai and yellow curry.
Silk Restaurant, Kamala Beacht - Beautiful views and rooftop pool, at the Andara Resort Kamala Beach. A little more on the expensive side for Thailand, but eloquent dining with lovely food. I had a rice noodle and vegetable dish which was lovely.
Cape Sienna, Kamala Beach - Roof top pool and cocktails. THE VEIW... and best cocktails and juices in Kamala for sure, from taste to presentation. This was the resort that we stayed at, and I can also confirm that the buffet breakfast is beautiful. Everything is so fresh, eggs are cooked to your liking, and the variety is huge and changes daily. The pool area is gorgeous and the rooms are beautiful making the most of every inch of the views over Kamala Beach.
In Rawai there are many different places to eat, and my most favourite places ever were The Book Cafe and Neko Cat Cafe!
The Book Cafe, Rawai - Soooo many delicious and super healthy options. I had felafel and salad with a beetroot, carrot and apple juice. Mum had the Buddha Bowl. From smoothie bowls to home baked, and also great coffee, The Book Cafe is the health conscious dream! There are also used books to browse, buy and exchange and is a perfect place to come and relax. Very shady and also air con from the elements.
Neko Cat Cafe, Rawai - If you are missing your fury friend come here for a pat and play with some gorgeous fluffy cats! They are all so friendly, and completely ready for a pat as you drink some coffee, eat some ice cream and light snacks. I could have spent hours here!
Wilsons Cafe, Rawai - Almond milk lattes, vegan and vegetarian options, all day breaky kind of cafe.And... Avocado!!
Nana Bowls, Rawai - Three words... Smoothie Bowl Heaven (located at Wilsons Cafe in Rawai)
Salaloy Seafood, Rawai - Fresh seafood, right on the beach side. Nothing fancy, but good fresh food and good value for money. You can sit outside on the tables by the wharf which is nice!
Two Chefs, Karon Beach - Although it doesn't have lots of veggie options, Mum had a lobster which she said was lovely and I had a burger minus the meat, and homemade wedges. We also had fresh coconuts, and if you are lucky you can sit upstairs and watch the bustle below.
Beyond Resort, Karon Beach- Right on the beach, perfect for sunset dinners. Mum had seared tuna which she absolutely adored. Is a little more expensive that the other restaurants in the area but the service and the location make it completely worth it.
Dibuk Restaurant, Old Phuket Town - Absolutely delicious! Also had French inspired dishes. I wish we stayed closer because I would have come back here for sure.
Keeping a health and fitness routine can be somewhat difficult on holidays. Your intentions may be awesome at the start, but soon the holiday vibes roll on in and all of a sudden its 3pm, you haven't gotten up from your pool chair (other than a quick dip in the pool), and now its too hot and/or the energy levels are non existant to even think about training, and the cocktail menu has just found its way into your hands...
Well I am also here to say that there is nothing wrong with that! But also here to give you some strategies to ensure the holiday guilt trap don't get you too!
10 TIPS TO STAYING FIT AND HEALTHY ON HOLIDAY
We all know the importance of hydration. Being on aeroplanes, out in the sun, warmer or humid weather and just being out of our everyday routine, can mess about with your hydration levels.
When you're dehydrated your energy levels plummet, you can feel unwell, and may even get a bit headachey. Last thing you want on your holiday!
Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. Before you have breakfast, drink half a litre of water. Before you go out for a meal, drink a glass of water. Just keep it handy and make sure you drink AT LEAST 2L, 3L is better.
If you train, make sure you have another litre of fluid.
I actually bring Hydrolyte tablets with me and have one a day. This ensures I have the right salt to be able absorb the water I am drinking. And I aim for 3L per day. I also rarely drink alcohol, so if you do have a few drinks remember to have some extra water in between also.
Easiest way to exercise! It don't cost a thing and you get to explore and see things you would miss travelling by car. It does take a bit of preparation and planning, but aiming to get in your 10,000 steps plus per day actually isn't that hard. Go for a walk to a lookout/ location and then get transport back, or walk back again. Google maps works a wonder!
3. ACTIVE ACTIVITIES
Plan some activities that involve moving. Swimming and snorkelling is my favourite. Look for hikes and walking tours, bike riding tours, surfing or kayaking. Most of the time you won't even feel like you are exercising. (Until later when your tired and hungry!)
Utilise your gym at your accomodation. Save some workouts with simple equipment, or even ones you can do in your hotel room. Or check out a local gym. Most places offer a day or week pass, particularly if you are in a touristy area.
My best tip here is to go to the gym as soon as you have woken up and brushed your teeth, before your brain registers and its then out of the way for the day. And keep your routine short and simple. Think supersets, sprints and circuits, 30 minutes max.
Yep! Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Holidays are the perfect way to relax, and nothing is more relaxing than a sleep in. Ensuring you have enough sleep is fabulous for your mental health and also for regulating your hormones too, which are crucial for your energy levels but also your body composition goals.
Moderation is key. Try to make the best food choices and choose one meal per day to splurge. For example, eat well breakfast lunch and dinner and have a dessert. Or have pancakes for breakfast, but keep it light, fresh and healthy for lunch and dinner, skip the dessert.
Same goes with alcohol. We all know that alcohol blunts all fat burning until it is metabolised so make sure you keep it moderate and choose healthy foods when also having a few drinks.
Same goes with your exercise. Don't stress if one day you spend the day lounging. Do a bit extra or walk a bit further tomorrow.
Find your self some fresh and healthy snacks to eat during the day.
Nuts, fresh fruit, rice crackers, nut bars, protein bars. Find the nearest supermarket and have a look around. Not only will it save your waistline but will save your wallet from the mini bar also!
8. KNOW YOUR AREA
Do some research before you go. Find some healthy cafes and restaurants, and save them into your phone so you have them on hand. Make sure you know where the nearest supermarket or fresh food market is so you can go there when you arrive. Find the nearest gym or place to do a daily walk or run. Be prepared and schedule it into you day.
9. READ A MENU LIKE A HEALTH PRO
Every restaurant has healthy options. Yep.
Start with a lean protein, add some veggies or salad. And there is your base! Add a serve or starchy carbs if you have had an active day, such as rice, potato, sweet potato, noodles, bread.
Limit the sauces and dressings, so ask for sauces on the side.
Restaurants typically have large serves. Make sure you don't just eat the plate full. Be mindful of how much you are actually eating. Portion out your food servings, which can easily be done by eyeballing/ estimating it. Your protein serve should be the size of your palm, the salad and veggies can be unlimited! Starchy carbs should be no more than a cupped handful, and fats (oils, butter, avocado, nuts etc) should be the size of your thumb.
10. NO GUILT
If you slip up a few meals, don't stress - you're on holiday, so enjoy it.
If you miss a workout, don't stress - you're on holiday, so enjoy it.
No holiday food and fitness guilt, just try your best, be as prepared as you can be and work with what you have got!
Have yourself some Happy and Healthy Holidays this Holiday Season
Thailand is full of people, culture, food and beaches. I think you could spend forever wandering and seeing all the little tucked away gems - shops, restaurants, boxing and fitness clubs, islands, secluded beaches.
Here are a few highlights that I loved seeing...
The Big Buddha
This huge marble statue located near Chalong is perched high upon the mountain top with 360 degree views of Phuket. Something you have to see, its enormity is astounding. In the area around, there are also other beautiful statues. The brass buddha is impressive, standing tall, shiny and smiley. And as you walk back down from the Big Buddha there are beautiful statues along the way to look at.
Largest of the Phuket Temples is What Chalong. There are a few temples to look at, all equally amazing with paintings, decoration and marble tile plentiful. The newest temple on the grounds (Was Chalong Chedi) has three levels which you can climb, although I think the view looking up at the temple was more impressive than the view from the top floor.
The only downside to both the Big Buddha and Wat Chalong was the amount of people there. There are a lot. Not to put anyone off, but don't be in uproar when you see busloads roll in. Popular places!
Old Phuket Town
Old Phuket Town is rich in history, colourful buildings and little restaurants. Wandering around the streets we found little alley ways with street art, gorgeous little cafes, and tiny shops with food, souvenirs, private galleries, and also services such as printers and clothes alterations.
We went to the Thai Hua Museum, a well kept Sino Portuguese building, and read all about the Chinese influence when the mining boom hit Thailand.
Around the outskirts of the busier streets are many temples and shrines, both Buddhist and Chinese, and also many mansions, some kept others paling apart, but very beautiful and huge in stature.
A lovely afternoon spent walking the streets and finding a new appreciation for the history of Thailand.
Phuket Art Village
Tucked away down the streets of Rawai is the Phuket Art Village. There are a series of little studios with artists creating, from paintings to sculpture, and decoration. With a lot of eco conscious art work on display, it makes you question all the plastics you consume and strive for a cleaner earth.
We also went to the Premium Outlets (Phuket Town), similar prices to Australia, maybe worth a look if you love shopping.
Our driver then took us to The Big C (Phuket Town), which was similar to Target and Coles all in one. Definitely worth it to pick up supermarket supplies, and also has a huge selection of electronic stores downstairs. Perfect place to fix your phone or computer should things have turned sour. Also if you need some fish slides, has them too...
The Main Beaches
The water at every beach we went to was so deliciously warm!
Kamala Beach is lovely, nice and relaxed. With a nice stretch of beach, some markets and restaurants right on the sand.
Nai Harn Beach is also a very beautiful beach with volleyball nets and day lounges. The day we visited it was drizzling, and also Promthep Cape which would be gorgeous at sunset. However keep in mind you will be battling the bus crowds with these spots. (Even on a rainy day we were umbrella to umbrella!)
Rawaii Beach is where a lot of the long tail boats and speed boats reside and where you leave for the island tours. Its a quiet town and very local. Up in the hills behind the beach is where the little hidden gems are. There are little galleries, cafes, shops and markets all waiting to be explored. There are also lots of Muay Thai Fitness camps.
Karon Beach is gorgeous to swim at, there are also beach volleyball nets and a playground down the northern end. It is a long beach so fabulous for a walk.
Kata Beach is a little more sheltered to swim at and just as warm and lovely as Karon, also has a lot of beach lounges to rent.
Both Kata and Karen have lots of restaurants to choose from, and little markets and shops. There are also massage shops on every road and on the beach, and viewpoints to walk up to. Tuk Tuks are widely available to get you where you want to go from both of these beaches.
We didn't island hop because the weather gods weren't too kind to us, but until another time Thailand!
Today I lost my earring. Back in my early 20s I would say that was the sign of a good night. Fast forward to the present, and considering I was tucked in bed and asleep by 10pm, it was definitely the sign of a day well spent…
Today we spent the afternoon on the John Gray Sea Canoe Hong by Starlight Tour.
...words cannot describe what you see!!
In short, you are paddled through sea caves, called Hongs, which bring you into little pieces of inhabited paradise being lagoons in the middle of small rock islands. Sometimes the caves were so low your nose was in danger of hitting the roof of the cave… whilst laying down! And in some of the lagoons the rock walls stretched forever up into the sky, dwarfing the palms and trees that grew off the faces and in the lagoon. In between cave hopping, there was swimming, food, monkey spotting and after the sun set we all made a Kratong and paddled out through another cave for the Loi Kratong ceremony complete with bioluminescent plankton.
If you go to Thailand, this is something not to be missed! I feel like I am spoiling the gorgeous surprises writing about it, so you must just trust and do it!
And needless to say my earring is resting peacefully on the bottom of a lagoon, or maybe has been gently lifted by the tide to a secluded white sand beach where it is shining brightly in the sunshine...
I just landed in Thailand. My hotel is beautiful, just like the pictures, only there is a dirty big powerline slight obscuring my otherwise serene 180 views of Kamala Beach.
(Haha :) If it weren’t for the intricacies of the millions of wires intertwined, I would be annoyed, but it really does bring you back to earth (no pun intended) on how lucky we are in Australia to have OCD three line power poles, and a government who enforces safety standards)
As an active person, having to sit in a plane chair for 8 hours plus some makes my body feel agitated at the thought. I would possibly sit for 2-3 hours during the day, making 8 hours sound like a hard ad tedious task. However, you have to get through the bad to get to the good right! And Thailand is definitely good…
After a rather longer than first expected flight, 8hours 30mins counted, and some 4 hours time difference (putting this bed by 9pm nana into a spin being awake until 2pm, but really only 10pm TL time argh!) I actually pulled up from that flight feeling ok, other than a bit tired. And what I put this down to is being prepared to fly.
Wanting to enjoy every moment on my holiday my thoughts of preparation were aimed at ensuring I felt good during the flight, and also after I had broken outside of the international departure doors into the warmth of Phuket.
Here are the small yet very important things that I did, which you can too, to prevent or lessen the ill effects of flying…
Ensure you are hydrated BEFORE you jump onto the plane. This means drinking at least 2-3 litres of water prior to getting to the airport. This will ensure that you have adequately drank enough water for normal activity, and also save you from visiting the aeroplane bathroom too frequently! Remember because of the cabin air and altitude pressure you will require a little more water. So once at the airport and on the plane carry a bottle and sip it regularly. (And also no one likes an aeroplane bathroom! Avoid the frequent trips and get your hydration sorted early and just top up during the flight)
The food available on your flight is generally not the most calorie dense or nutritious food. Its generally carb heavy, salted and possibly quite high fat, and lots of calories, mainly due to the preservation needed to keep the food standards. Remember you are sitting down! You are going to have a low activity day especially if you are on a long flight.
In most airports you can take whatever food you like on the plane, as long as it isn’t liquid based. My favourite snacks to bring from home are portioned nut and seed mixes, coconut chips, blueberries, bananas, bags of cut up veggies, maybe a little dark chocolate (ok yes to the choc!), homemade muffins, homemade wraps, popcorn, protein bars.
I also make sure I eat before I get to the airport. That way I am not starving and before you know it lining up in hungry jacks ordering fries and burgers which you haven’t even dreamt of eating since… ever!
Oh, and it will also save you money! (Never will you buy a more expensive boring sandwich than in an airport!)
Go to the gym or do some exercise the day of flying, whether it be getting up early and walking for half an hour, or fitting in some type of workout once you have landed and settled into your accommodation. Ensuring you still move on the day of travel will help offset all the sitting around and lack of movement. Also, fresh oxygen and blood to your brain and working muscles helps you to feel more relaxed with increased happy hormones and reduce things like jet lag and other travelling side effects such as joint swelling.
Try to get up out of your seat every hour or two. Try booking an aisle seat if possible. (but even if you make the person next to you get up, really you are doing them a favour!) Stretch your neck, arms, legs and ankles. A little movement is better than none.
So pack your bags, (and pack your food) an come holiday with me!
(Next fitness retreat will be held in Bali in August 2018 – not to be missed!)