Attracting everyone from relaxation seeking urbanites to eco-conscious backpackers and nature enthusiasts, Port Douglas is an intimate destination located on the shores of Northern Queensland. Travelers can make their way up Flagstaff Hill to photograph the sweeping views of the Coral Sea or visit the animals at the highly acclaimed Wildlife Habitat. Visitor frequently enjoy top-quality al fresco dining at any local restaurant or indulging in world-class spa treatments among the stunning scenery. An ideal point from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the raw beauty of Mossman Gorge’s waterfalls, Port Douglas also offers access to the emerald jungles of the UNESCO-listed Daintree Rainforest, the oldest and continuously surviving tropical rainforest in the world.
Although you won’t come across a wooden vessel filled with animal pairs, a private visit to the Botanical Ark may evoke Noah’s biblical conservation efforts. New York State transplants Susan and Alan Carle devoted the last 40 years to collecting and preserving tropical plants from over 40 countries, nurturing some 500 endangered fruit and nut species on their property in the Daintree Rainforest. Every day, an estimated 200,000 acres / 80,000 hectares of rainforest is burned around the world, often destroying flora and fauna found nowhere else. A small group of eight of us from the ship were fortunate to get an appointment for a private visit to the Botanical Ark. After a welcome drink of Guanabana juice – it tastes sweet and sour, lightly creamy like a banana combined with pineapple, then it also has lemon-like acid and citrus notes; the creamy texture is like custard – accompanied by breadfruit chips (with salt), Alan gave us a detailed overview of the history and ethic of the Botanic Ark. This was followed by lunch on the verandah of their home that featured fruits and vegetables grown on the property, along with locally sourced seafood and fish. The Carles have won awards from Slow Food International and other accolades for their efforts and expertise. Following lunch Alan guided us on an educational walk through the rainforest where he pointed out numerous interesting and unusual fruits and flowers, along with some highly useful rainforest trees such as bamboo and rubber.
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is an exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet and sour flavor. I’s originally from Southeast Asia, but can be found in various tropical regions around the world. The fruit is sometimes referred to as purple mangosteen because of the deep purple color its rind develops when ripe.
Mamey Sapote (Pouteria Sapota) has its origins in Central America. The rough skin of this large 10-20 cm (xx-xx inches) fruit protects one of the sweetest, richest fruits imaginable (Alan gave us a taste – quite nice!). The smooth orange pulp is able to provide sustenance, or enrich and flavor ice creams, drinks and pastries (their book on the “Botanical Ark” contains some recipes for same).
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