PORTLAND ROADS IS PROBABLY THE SMALLEST COMMUNITY I’VE EVER VISITED. AND ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL. OUR ABC CREW OF THREE SWELLED THE POPULATION INTO DOUBLE FIGURES. USUALLY, IT’S LESS THAN TEN. BUT PORTLAND ROADS HAS ITS OWN CAFE.
Now this is not a short drive for a quick coffee. It’s about half an hour from Lockhart River, and that’s 800 kilometres from Cairns on some bone-jarring roads. But the last stretch to Portland Roads is gentler and takes you through some beautiful country.
The place takes its name from the old maritime term “roadstead” or “roads” – a place where boats could safely shelter, and the Portland probably refers to one of a line of British earls going back to the time of Captain Cook.
You can walk around the Portland Roads community in a few minutes, but the surrounding country invites your slow exploration. And there’s plenty of FNQ history to be absorbed here. Indigenous stories of old times, the early European maritime explorers, the ill-fated Kennedy expedition of the 1840s, the gold rush, and tales of more recent times. It’s all around you here – you can hear the stories whispering through the frangipani and palm trees on the south-east breeze coming in off the Coral Sea..
And you can get a coffee too.There’s also some good tourist accomodation, fishing, and very friendly locals.
So how does a place with less than ten residents manage to sustain a cafe? GREG WESTCOTT runs Out Of The Blue Cafe. Click on the audio player to meet Greg.
.Greg has been actively campaigning to increase opportunities for tourism to Portland Roads. He’s been here 17 years and is looking forward to welcoming you one day.
Type Portland Roads into your search engine and you’ll find links to visitor accomodation in the area. There’s also good camping in the area, including the stunning Chili Beach. And I found a good blog of life in Portland Roads at http://www.capeyorkblog.com/tag/portland-roads/