[O]ur shuttle bus dropped us on a dirt road in the dark, but we knew where to go into the rainforest because of the small planted lights that led the way.
After turning a corner, we were served bubbly and hors d’oeuvres from an outdoor bar, in a small clearing with a few smaller trees all adorned with white strings of lights.
It was elegant, and classy, or maybe like the beginning of a cheesy haunted amusement park ride – at this point I couldn't tell, but I was definitely enjoying the bubbly.
After maybe 15 to 20 minutes of our casual, soft-lit pre-drinking party, we were summoned by a man in a loin cloth and body paint to follow him. Curious, and warm from our drink, we didn't hesitate.
Around the corner was another clearing with the most breathtaking setup one could imagine in the middle of a rainforest.
The oohs and ahhs were barely audible over the sounds of a digeridoo being played on the stage by another main in a loin cloth and body paint.
Cheesy haunted amusement park ride, it was not. We took our seats and prepared for the feast and the show ahead.
Flames of the Forest
Any trip to the area of far north Queensland in Australia will more than likely involve an experience learning about the Aboriginal culture. Which cultural experience you choose is up to you.
You can go on Aboriginal hikes through the rainforest-filled lands in the Daintree, or you can sit back while Aboriginal people sing and dance in front of you.
Or, you can visit Flames of the Forest outside of Port Douglas for an entire evening of food, drink, and story telling in a stunning outdoor setting of the rainforest.
Flames of the Forest's main draw would be the 3 hour Cultural Evening where participants dine in the pavillion at night on a 6 course banquet (made from local produce), with all you can drink beverages (wine and beer are included), all while listening to traditional Aboriginal music and story-telling, that which is emphasized by lighting effects.
Unfolding of Events
I was mesmerized. Not only was the soft hum of the didgeridoo producing a calming effect, course after course of delicious food being brought to the table – that you share with a few other event goers – filled our stomachs with pleasure.
My favorite dish of the night would have to be the kangaroo meat spiced with lemon myrtle and topped with fig and macadamia nuts, but the giant pavlova dessert was a close second.
When you get well into your meal, the show moves to the front to the clearing right next to the tables with people eating. Almost everyone has a front-row seat.
Lights adorned our Aboriginal guides who then began playing more digeridoo as the other delved into traditional stories – stories about how certain animals were made; legends.
Value of the Evening
At the time of writing, the price of a ticket to Flames of the Forest Cultural Evening is $209 AUD.
While that might seem like a lot, the ticket does include an Aboriginal cultural show, a 6 course dinner (that tasted divine), alcoholic beverages, and transport to and from your Port Douglas accommodation.
When you put it in that light, the cost is not very extreme at all.
Plus, it will provide an experience you will never forget in pristine rainforest surrounds of far north Queensland.
My ticket to Flames of the Forest was provided as part of a media trip with Tourism Queensland. However, I was honestly impressed by the event and wouldn't hesitate to take family and friends there in the future.