Honeymoon Adventures: Australia Part I

Although most people prefer to go on their honeymoon right after the wedding, I am SO glad we decided to wait a few months. There were a number of good reasons, but the best one was that, other than officially being married, this gave us something as epic as our wedding to look forward to (and plan)! We spent 26 days between Australia and New Zealand, visited nine different cities, took eight different flights…and amassed a lifetime of incredible memories.

All photos personal

Now that I’ve married into a Packers family, showing some love with the Sydney Opera House in the background

We worked with Down Under Endeavours (a Chicago based travel agency specializing in travel to the South Pacific) who booked the majority of our trip including flights, accommodations, excursions, car services to/from airports, and more. If you are planning a trip or honeymoon Down Under, I highly recommend arranging your travel through them.

Before I delve into the first part of our trip in Australia, I gotta talk about the flight to Sydney. Because Mr. M travels a lot for work, he has racked up a ton of miles over the years on Delta, so we exchanged a bunch of them for free round-trip tickets to Sydney—in first class. For a flight that’s almost 15 hours, having seats that recline 180 degrees, pillows, and a comforter, three-course meals (with a sundae cart!), and unlimited amounts of booze was like no other flying experience I’ve ever had. I totally would have taken more pictures of us lounging but I didn’t want to be that girl. I did manage to snap a picture of Mr. M enjoying a glass of champagne while looking over the dinner menu, though!

Flyin’ first class, up in the sky

Our little seating pods

After arriving in Sydney and spending a night to help adjust to the 15-hour time difference, we flew three hours north to Cairns, then had a car drive us an hour north to Port Douglas. If you plan on spending any time at the Great Barrier Reef, this is the perfect little beach town to stay in. We also invested in an underwater digital camera and got the Fujifilm Finepix XP60, which was affordable and worked perfectly.

What We Did

  •  Scuba Diving & Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef

Scuba diving at the GBR has been at the top of my bucket list.

The snorkeling was phenomenal.

Giant fish

Awesome marine life at the reef

I’ve wanted to hug a koala bear since watching that show Noozles as a kid!

Mr. M wanted to take this little guy home.

Feeding giant kangaroos

 Where We Stayed & Ate

We stayed at the Shantara Resort & Spa and had two surprises in our fridge awaiting us. Management had given us a complimentary bottle of champagne to congratulate us on our honeymoon, and Bridesmaid A.I. and her husband had surprised us with an incredible basket of breakfast food and a sweet note.

It was the perfect location and only a five-minute walk from the main street in Port Douglas called Macrossan Street—this is where all the restaurants, bars, and shops were. There was even a supermarket and liquor store, so we made sure to stock up! Another great thing about this resort is that it’s truly designed with couples and adults in mind—no one under the age of 16 is allowed, so it made for a quiet and romantic stay.

Apartment style accommodations

We ate breakfast on the balcony every morning.

Chillin’ by one of the pools

We ate at quite a few restaurants during our stay there, but our favorite was Nautilus restaurant. It was a bit pricey but totally worth it for a romantic dining experience and excellent meal.

Next, we headed 45 minutes north to spend two days at the Daintree Rainforest. Other than our driver taking a two-hour detour in the wrong direction (booooo), this was probably our favorite part of the entire trip!

What We Did

  • Cultural Walkabout with an Aboriginal Guide

Not only did we get to learn more about Aboriginal culture with our guide Juan Walker, but he also taught us how to spear hunt for mud crabs. Even though it took me some time to catch mine, I felt like a total bad-ass when I eventually did. Afterward, he cooked up the crabs we caught and we had a delicious lunch. This was the most unique experience I’ve ever had—never before had I caught and eaten my own food.

We caught a total of five mud crabs between us two.

Some before and after shots of our crab lunch—yum!!!

Where We Stayed & Ate

The Daintree Eco-Lodge & Spa was the most unique place we’ve ever stayed. This eco-lodge is nestled right in the midst of the rainforest and a few of the rooms are built on stilts for a tree-house-like experience. We stayed it one of those rooms and it was amazing.

Our “tree house” room on the right

Elevated boardwalks around the eco-lodge

Outside of our tree house room

King bed with canopy netting

View from our balcony

We also indulged in some AMAZING treatments at the spa. And because the eco-lodge is a bit isolated, we ate all our meals at Julaymba, the hotel restaurant. The meals we had were excellent and the lychee martinis were out of this world. :)

Next up, our adventures in New Zealand!


Mrs. Mongoose

New Haven, CT
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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  1. Member
    Mrs. Wallaby 2813 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:43 pm

    LOVE THIS! And I still can’t believe we stayed at the same resort on Port Douglas (we called it “Port Douggie” while we were there, that always made us laugh), hugged the same koala bear, etc. – I like your taste in travel! ;) The cultural walkabout / crab catching adventure sounds like so much fun, I’m saving away that idea for whenever we return to Oz.

  2. Member
    soontobebe 563 posts, Busy bee @ 1:32 pm

    I love the koala pic!!! So cute!

  3. Member
    Mrs. French Bulldog 7726 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 2:48 pm

    Your honeymoon looks amazing! Mr Frenchie also married into a Packer’s family! GO PACK!

  4. Member
    Mrs. Bighorn Sheep 114 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:57 pm

    First off, COMPLETELY jealous about your honeymoon. I live here and I haven’t gone scuba-diving in the GBR yet. The Daintree Rainforest experience is also something I really wanna do!

    Secondly, I don’t like to be the “know-it-all” in the room (comment section?), but I need to get up on my soapbox. Koalas aren’t actually bears and it’s actually incorrect to call them ‘koala bears’. They’re marsupials. :) We were basically drilled growing up that “Koalas are not bears, they are marsupials. You do not call them koala bears”.

    Okay, soap box talk over. I can’t wait to hear more about your honeymoon!! <3

  5. Member
    bebelicious1 950 posts, Busy bee @ 9:51 am

    Seriously amazing honeymoon!!! Sigh, one day I will have a second honeymoon that will be a dream vacation like that. Wow, so many cool memories! I can’t wait to see the rest…

  6. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 12:55 pm

    @Mrs. Wallaby: I love the name Port Douggie!! Much more fun to say :)

    @soontobebe: Thanks! It was definitely one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done. He was just too cute for words!

  7. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 12:58 pm

    @Mrs. French Bulldog: Whoo-hoo! This is the first year that I’m finally starting to understand football LOL. Too bad Rodgers has been out.

    @Miss Bighorn Sheep: LOL my bad!! Here in ‘merica, we are conditioned to believe they are bears! Okay not really “conditioned”, but no one really pointed out that they were in fact marsupials. Thanks for clearing that up :)

    @bebelicious1: It was truly a dream come true–I hope you get to visit Australia one day. It’s so beautiful!

  8. Member
    daniellekira 548 posts, Busy bee @ 9:51 am

    I am in love with your honeymoon. I traveled to Australia for work and wanted to explore. Looks like an amazing time. I love the crab spearing. So cool.

  9. Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:00 pm

    Ahhhhhh this sounds like a freakin’ dream. I love everything about this! I love living through adventurous folk like you, Mrs. Campfire, Mrs. Wallaby, etc. because it seems so daunting to me.

  10. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 2:20 pm

    @daniellekira: Crab hunting was the ABSOLUTE best. You have to get up to Queensland the next time you get to Australia–stunningly beautiful up there!

    @Mrs. Palm Tree: Oh trust me girl, this was incredibly daunting which is why I didn’t plan this trip (for once in my life) and we instead worked with a travel agency. The best part was that we didn’t have to pay them anything extra (I believe they get a percentage of whatever places/activities we booked directly from the vendors).

  11. Member
    lac125 102 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:14 pm

    Port Douglas was our first stop in Australia too. The Daintree is amazing. I’m so jealous you got to hug a koala. We didn’t find out you could do that until we were about to leave and I still grumble to FI about this. It was the only thing I wanted to do! I did get to pet a koala on our way to the Blue Mountains at least!

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