Take it easy and explore the tastes of the tropics from Port Douglas with a Port on a Plate guided food experience. You discover plenty of culinary surprises on a Port Douglas food tour, from exotic fruits and fresh barramundi, this is a region where your taste buds will dance with the flavours.
A tour with an expert guide is the best way to discover unexpected foodie delights. You’ll learn so much talking to the people who make, grow and create this food. Plus, you can relax while someone else does the driving. I’ve travelled around this part of Queensland extensively, but I still chose to go with a local because they always know the new places to see.
Port Douglas on a plate
I’ve been on plenty of food tours, but Peter Davidson takes the experience to a new level with his Port on a Plate guided tour. Peter came to Cape Tribulation from New Zealand 20 years ago and never went home.
Leaving from Port Douglas, Peter is your personal guide and chef for a morning to early afternoon tour where you sample and collect produce along the way. An experienced chef, Peter uses produce collected along the way to create a three-course lunch featuring the farm’s ingredients. It’s a lunch that’s still living strong in my memories.
The tour starts with a drive towards the small town of Mossman, where Peter gives a short outline peppered with historical facts. We see the 100-year-old Mossman Mill and the avenue of Rain trees, originally from Jamaica, which shelters a historic stone church that took 40 years to build. This is also where the local market is held every Saturday. Chef Spencer Patrick owns Harrison’s restaurant at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas, and likes to shop here regularly. These are his favourite Mossman Market finds.
Next, we are standing on the side of a cane field drinking chilled, freshly squeezed cane juice in shot glasses and nibbling on Daintree chocolate. It’s a pinch-me moment.
Below: Peter Davidson, Port on a Plate
Scomazzons Farm Store
From the back end of the sixth generation Scomazzons Farm, we drive down to their roadside Scomazzons Farm Store on Mossman Daintree Road. This tiny country store is chocka with fresh local produce and products crafted in the region.
Hook a Barra
Peter keeps the surprises coming with some very unexpected outcomes at Hook-A-Barra. We dabble at catching a barra (very successfully) and feeding a barra (a heart-stopping experience – watch the video). Peter is deftly filleting a freshly caught fish. He slices the 1.5-kilo fish saving the premium rainbow-coloured flesh for tasty sashimi with soy sauce, pickled ginger, wakame and finely diced capsicum. More sliced slivers of fish are placed to marinate in coconut milk, vinegar, lemon juice and Peter’s own mix of herbs and spices ready for the next course.
Eating fresh barramundi sashimi just metres from where it was caught with a glass of sake on the side – priceless.
Eating sashimi at Hook a Barra
Lunch on our Port Douglas food tour comes with a comfortable chat sitting under the vine-covered pergola at Shannonvale Winery, where I talk to winemakers Tony and Trudi. They have lived here for 30 years and planted 10 acres of fruit trees for their 18-year-old winery. It all started with too much fruit in the orchard, so they began making wine for themselves and gradually made it commercially.
Their 11-bottle table and fortified wine range are made using tropical fruit, including mangoes, ginger, limes, passionfruit, jaboticaba, black sapote, and lychees.
You can buy the wines at the winery or via mail order.
While we are talking wine, Peter creates the second course, a substantial lunch, followed by dessert.
Port on a Plate tour
Infused with personality and out of the box experiences, I highly recommend a Port on a Plate tour with Peter. This small-group Port Douglas food tour costs $175 per person and runs from 9 am to 2.30 pm.
The Taste Port Douglas food festival is a perfect way to continue exploring the vibrant food scene here.
Peter Davidson serves up the main course on his Port on a Plate tour.
Tony and Trudi at Shannonvale Winery
Make your own Port Douglas food trail
There’s no doubt that there is high convenience on a hosted tour, but sometimes you just want to explore for yourselves. You won’t get the same local knowledge, but you can travel at your own speed. You can taste your way through the Daintree Food Trail if you prefer an independent food tour. This downloadable map highlights local produce, farm gates, and food experiences from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation.
Explore more local produce
These are some places to add to your Port Douglas food tour.
Cape Trib Farm
Cape Trib Farm has pioneered tropical and exotic fruits in Australia for the past 40 years. They grow 80 different varieties of fruit. A guided farm tour here offers a deep dive into the world of tropical fruits where you will learn regenerative farming principles. Send your taste buds on an international holiday with samples of chocolate pudding fruit, crunchy breadfruit chips and zingy carambola.
Daintree Ice Cream Co
Cool off with a scoop (or two) of tropical ice cream from the Daintree Ice Cream Co. Set amongst an organic fruit orchard, this is where you’ll be able to taste the authentic flavours of the rainforest. Think mangosteen, mamey sapote and native Davidson plum. Using a tree-to-cup philosophy, only fruit grown on the property is included with local milk from Mungalli Creek Dairy to create their award-winning artisan ice cream, gelato and sorbet. It might just be the most scenic cup of ice cream you will ever have!
Nerada Tea Plantation
One of Australia’s best-loved tea brands, Nerada Tea plantation’s history reaches back to the 1880s. Pop in for a factory tour, then linger over Devonshire tea. Do keep an eye out for the resident Lumholtz’s tree kangaroos.