Pack the cossies, a good book and very little else when you take off to the Cove.
Turtle Cove in far north Queensland is a 15 minute drive south of Port Douglas. This hot, sexy, fun resort is set in a lush tropical rainforest on a very secluded, pristine beach and has been welcoming gay travellers for the past 20 years. It’s a safe place and a perfect choice for winding down, where clothes on the beach are optional and GLBT guests are free to be themselves.
The resort is organised around a large saltwater pool with a hot tub that operates 24 hours a day and over the last four years the premises have been revitalised to the standard and popularity of earlier days. Turtle Cove is about GLBT guests holidaying where they are free to chill and be totally themselves. Whether it’s sharing a kiss in public, holding hands while sauntering along the beach, taking an early morning or afternoon skinny dip, or having a liaison with a new friend in the spa late in the evening, this is a great place to fully unwind.
The restaurant and the well stocked bar are right near the pool just a few metres from the beach, making it easy to grab a drink or coffee anytime of the day. The bar and pool areas have internet access which is free for all guests and visitors. There is also a small gym and a masseur can be booked for a private session. During our most recent visit we were completely pampered with 2 luxurious, sensual full body sessions. One is never enough.
We decided to stay in one of the absolute beachfront suites. These are the best rooms in the resort just fifty metres from the waterfront, facing palm trees with a few hammocks and sun beds nearby for lazing around throughout the day. A couple of years ago these rooms were refurbished and the level of comfort and standard of finish has significantly improved. The garden rooms at the rear of the resort are a little more reasonably priced, some located on the upper floor with excellent ocean views and large balconies for an afternoon, sunset cocktail. All rooms are serviced daily and come with most necessities including in-house movies you probably wouldn’t want to watch with your Mum.
An all inclusive continental breakfast is served each morning in the restaurant until 10.30am. The restaurant also serves lunch and dinner. A lot of the guests see dining in the resort at night as one of its best features and a perfect alternative to the trip into Cairns or Port Douglas. It’s a time when people can easily get together have a drink and meet new friends over a delicious meal. The dinner menu has a well considered range of dishes, featuring fresh local produce and a selection of daily specials.
During meal times the ‘Turtle Table’ (a long table for meeting other guests) is very popular and a way of bringing people together who are travelling alone, or for couples who are looking for the company of other like-minded travellers. Last time we visited, everyone sat at the Turtle Table, singles and couples, and it became the heart of the resort’s social scene. Of course, if you want that romantic dining experience with your loved one, there are private candlelit tables as well.
After dinner you might find a bonfire on the beach. During our stay everyone came down by the fire with their drinks to chat, tell jokes, share their travel stories and soak in the brilliant night sky combined with the gentle waves breaking on the shore in the background.
Most days people either relax around the pool, stroll down the beach looking for turtles or take a leisurely drive to Port Dougal for coffee, lunch or dinner. Try Cafe Ecco (gay owned and operated) for great coffee and scrumptious food. In Port Douglas you can organise one of the many tours available to the world famous Great Barrier Reef. The reception at Turtle Cove is also a good place to enquire about local excursions to the reef or surrounding attractions.
About a one hour drive to the north of Port Douglas is the magnificent wilderness of the Daintree rainforest where you will be sure to see crocodiles lazing in the tropical sun on the banks of the river (See our article entitled ‘The Call Of the Port In FNQ’ for more ideas about how to enjoy your spare time in and around the Port Douglas and Daintree/Cape Tribulation areas).
Throughout the year the resort organises special events or theme weeks. Nude Week occurs twice a year in May and September. Christmas, New Year, Mardi Gras recovery and the Queen’s Birthday long weekend are also extremely popular times for bookings. On our recent stay, a gay couple decided to take advantage of the natural beauty and serenity of the Cove to tie the knot. About 60 guests came along to celebrate with the newlyweds. A huge white marquee was erected and the caterers arrived early to make sure this was an event to cherish. Turtle Cove is a great place for special events, theme weeks or celebrations and the managers are happy to discuss ideas and help with the planning.
We need to warn about the jellyfish (commonly known as marine stingers) between November and April. During these months it is not safe to swim in the sea in far north Queensland as the jellyfish are sometimes found close to the shoreline and can be fatal to humans if stung. Best time to visit FNQ is from late May to October, especially if you want to enjoy a dip in the ocean.
Your time at the resort will be made much better if you hire a car. Turtle Cove is isolated (part of its attraction) and sometimes taking a drive into Cairns for a movie, some shopping or to Buchans Beach (local gay/nudist beach: http://go2gaycairns.com/index.php/gay-lesbian-life/beaches) or having lunch at either Palm Cove or Trinity Beach, can be a lot of fun and a welcome break away from the peaceful seclusion of the resort.
In the end, Turtle Cove is about the people you meet, the enjoyable times you have with them, surrounded by a pristine environment in a resort designed to give gay travellers the freedom to do their own thing and a holiday to remember. When you book your holiday the manager will discuss the best rate available to suit the period and duration of your stay and when you arrive, the friendly team at Turtle Cove will give you a warm welcome and help make your stay a time to treasure.
Forgot to pack the cossies? Who cares!
Australian Reservations: 1300 727 979
Overseas Reservations: +61 7 40 591 800
Address:100 Captain Cook Hwy
Cairns AUSTRALIA (50m past the M30 Road)