Hemingway’s Brewery is launching a new lager to salute the un-named cane cutters of a bygone era who worked in the fields under the sweltering sun without complaint.

The official launch of the mid-strength lager, Canecutter, will be held from 5:00 to 7:00pm on Friday at Hemingway’s Brewery Port Douglas and Cairns, where the public will be provided an opportunity to sample the new product.

After a very successful response to the limited release of the mid-strength FNQ Resilience Lager, Hemingway’s has made a few minor improvements and introduced the new Canecutter to its core range.

Hemingway’s CEO and founder, Tony Fyfe, said Canecutters Lager is inspired by the sugar cane that surrounds this region and the cane cutters who forged the industry that Far North Queensland is built on.

Hemingway’s Brewery has created a perfectly sessionable and thirst-quenching lager for the Far North Queensland climate. Best of all it is brewed right here in the Far North for locals in the Cairns & Port Douglas region. “You could say it really is the Beer From up Here,” says Fyfe.

“We wanted to create a beer that suited the Far North Queensland palate and was sessionable too. We had a lot of feedback from locals that they wanted a mid-strength as well.

“It’s all very well having great beers that are big on flavour and aroma, but they also tend to be higher in alcohol and you have to stop at just one or two.”

Fyfe said creating a good lager is very difficult. Without some of the higher hopping regimes and strong flavours that are typical of many craft beers, there is nowhere to hide any imperfections.

“We have already done it once with our gold medal, award-winning Tunnel 10 lager (4.2% ABV) but the challenge was to create another great lager in the mid-strength range. Our first iteration that we introduced to the public was the limited release FNQ Resilience Lager and it went down extremely well,” he said. 

Canecutter has been in development for some months but with the onset of COVID-19, Hemingway’s decided to test an earlier version and get it out to the public as soon as possible and at a great trial price.

“That was our FNQ Resilience Lager. Although extremely popular it wasn’t quite where we wanted it to be, so we made a few tweaks to get it just right,” said Fyfe.

Canecutter Lager is a mid-strength lager (3.5% ABV) with clean, citrus flavours on the palate with and grain tropical, passionfruit and watermelon aromas. Showcasing great Australian hops with a low bitterness and a crisp, refreshing finish. Perfect for a BBQ or day out with friends and family.

Canecutters’ is only available for purchase from either the Port Douglas or Cairns Wharf venues where you can enjoy it on tap or grab on the go for takeaway. It is also available at a few select local bars, cafes and is gaining momentum.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/august/new-hemingways-lager-a-salute-to-the-canecutters/

Local businesses are continuing to call on the public to ‘Do It In Douglas’ as part of the Buy Douglas: Build Douglas campaign, including the operators of the Lady Douglas River Cruise and the Shaolin Chinese Junk, who recently used their downtime to give a bit of love to the old ladies of Port Douglas.

In what is a family affair, Lady Douglas has been owned and operated by locals Kate and Lucas Agrums for the past six years, while Kate and brother, Flynn Bickford, have owned the Shaolin for the last year and a half.

Like many small businesses, the tours had to shut up shop during the height of COVID restrictions earlier this year with both boats out of action for 80 days.

There was no downtime for the small business operators, however, who got busy lovingly restoring the vessels’ unique charms.

“We actually haven’t had many days off at all, we have spent the time focussing on getting the boats sparkling and in their best shape,” Kate said.

It was all hands on deck, with the whole family joining in the refurb as well as lending a helping hand when the tours restarted.

“Our families all come and work during the school holidays, we get all of the kids helping out wherever possible. The kids love it and guests think it is fantastic to see a local family running their business firsthand,” said Kate.

Over the last couple of months, business has slowly been building back up and Kate said it has been a long road.

“There have been many hurdles to overcome, endless hours of reading ever-changing guidelines and many frustrating moments trying to decipher exactly what we are and aren’t allowed to do.

“Not to mention the many changes that we have had to make on both our boats and tours to keep in line with the COVID safe restrictions and regulations.

“And despite the circumstances we are always trying to growing our businesses and have introduced a new Shaolin Seafood Lunch Sail on market days, Wednesdays and Sundays,” she said.

The Lady Douglas River Cruise has been operating out of Port Douglas for over 30 years.

The 1.5-hour river cruise meanders along the unspoiled mangrove channels of Dickson’s Inlet, spotting estuarine crocodiles, sea eagles, Brahminy Kites, several varieties of crabs and much more local wildlife along the way.

The Shaolin is a 50-year-old traditional Chinese junk ship taking guests on a unique sunset sail, or for those looking to venture further, a snorkelling trip out to Low Isles.

As a small business owner, Kate believes locals supporting local business will be vital to helping the economy through this tough period.

“I think it is very important for our community to buy local and support our fellow local businesses.

“If we all spend our money locally, it will definitely have a domino effect and I believe what goes around should come around.”

Building on that community spirit, the boats are currently offering local discounted rates of $30 on Lady Douglas and $40 on the Shaolin for a limited time.

“This has proven very popular with our local’s, we have had loads of positive responses and great feedback, which is always nice to hear,” said Kate.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/august/two-douglas-icons-get-a-little-bit-of-love/

Choo Choos at the Marina has recently reopened its doors for the first time since March and is sporting a fresh new look.

Like many Douglas businesses Choo Choos was forced to close due to COVID restrictions and manager, Rebecca Stemp, said the team, who have been part of the Choo Choos family for many years, were extremely excited to finally get back to work.

“It’s been a really good start,” she said.

“We were probably one of the last places to reopen because we are on the marina, so when the boats weren’t running we didn’t get the foot traffic, so it was hard.”

Now with more visitors in town, Choo Choos is raring to go.

The Choo Choos team were certainly not twiddling their thumbs during the closure, using their downtime to give the place a freshen up.

“We have been repainting all the outside, we have re-varnished all the floors, and have just been getting everything looking fresh and nice again.”

Greenery is now a big feature of the café with plants donning the walls and bar along with beautiful hand drawn artworks.

However, Rebecca said one of the best parts about the café is the beautiful location overlooking the marina and the great atmosphere, which can be enjoyed from the sun deck under the large new weatherproof umbrellas.

“I think we are very lucky in that regard,” she said.

In reopening, Choo Choos also launched a new menu, sporting an all-day breakfast as well as lunch from 11:30am.

“We are also planning to add a dinner service in the near future,” Rebecca said.

And for the dog lovers out there, Choo Choos welcomes furry customers as well.

Choo Choos is open seven days from 7:00am to 2:00pm.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/august/choo-choos-reopens-with-fresh-new-look/

Businesses are rejoicing as stage three of Queensland’s roadmap to easing restrictions came into effect at midday today, including one of Port Douglas biggest venues, Hemingway’s Brewery, who will reopen its doors tonight.

Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes will be afforded greater freedoms under stage three making it easier to operate with capacity limits risen.

The maximum number of patrons at any one time will now be determined by the four square metre rule, with divided areas no longer required.

For smaller venues below 200 square metres, businesses can have one person per two square metres up to 50 persons at a time.

For large venues such as Hemingway’s the previous capacity limits had made it difficult to open, but today’s easing, as well as the announcement that borders will reopen on 10 July, has prompted the brewery to throw open its doors.

Hemingway’s Marketing Manager, Kim Logan, said the team was extremely excited to welcome everyone back to the Port Douglas brewery.

“The easing of restrictions allows us to open for three days a week to gauge patronage,” she said.

“We truly hope that Port Douglas sees enough of an upsurge in visitors so we can once again return to something close to ‘business as usual.’ Only time will tell.”

The Port Douglas venue will be open Fridays and Saturdays 4:00pm to late and Sundays 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

And for those who loved the taste of Hemingway’s recent special FNQ Resilience Lager, which was sold in cans during the closure, you’re in luck, it will be available on tap.

“Finally, you can enjoy drinks on the marina again,” Ms Logan said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/hemingways-opens-as-restrictions-ease-today/

Hemingway’s Brewery Port Douglas turns four-years-old today.

The popular brewery will reopen for a one night only special event tonight to celebrate after being closed for months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With restrictions limiting numbers the event has already sold out.

Hemingway’s Marketing Manager, Kim Logan, said while they are not re-opening permanently just yet they couldn’t miss out on celebrating their birthday.

“We wanted to be able to celebrate our birthday with our Hop Head members and locals,” she said.

“The last four years have been just amazing with great support from locals and many regular tourists who visit us year after year.

“We can’t wait to get back to doing what we love which is creating a great place for people to chill and relax after a day on the reef, discovering the Daintree or after a hard day’s work, where they can enjoy a great locally made fresh beer. We hope COVID is just a blip on the radar.”

Ms Logan said the last few months have been extremely difficult, as has been the case for many local businesses.

“We have been able to drive some sales through online beer sales and home delivery and it has been encouraging to watch that side of the business grow but it is very small compared to previous revenue.”

Hemingway’s Cairns venue reopened on 18 June, but the Port Douglas venue will have to wait just a little longer.

“We have been preparing for re-opening, but we are just waiting for the border announcements from the Queensland Government before we make a final decision on when that will happen and what that will look like,” Ms Logan said.

“The team are keen to get back to work as soon as possible. Our venue manager, Chris Barber, has done an amazing job of keeping the team spirits up and communicating to the team about the many changes that have been happening over the last few months with all that COVID has had to throw at us.

“We are very proud of our ‘Brew Crew’ and how they have coped with these unusual circumstances.”

Ms Logan added that if people are disappointed that they missed out on the birthday bash they can sign up to the Hop Heads membership to be the first to get any Hemingway’s news about beer, offers and events.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/hemingways-celebrates-four-years-in-port-douglas/?L=22

Sailaway Port Douglas has returned to the seas this week resuming tour operations to the reef, Low Isles, and sunset sailing.

After having to suspend tours in March due to COVID-19 restrictions, Owner Steve Edmondson said it’s a great feeling seeing customers walk aboard the catamaran again for the first time in 80 days.

“It’s fantastic, we had two separate private family charters to start with last week and from Saturday we began our scheduled trips,” he said.

“It was a good start in difficult times. We were delighted to see the immediate support from two family charters who were overseas tourists who had been stuck here due to COVID, and as soon as it was allowed, they wanted to get out on the water.”

Mr Edmondson said Sailaway was eager to welcome back customers and for locals looking to get out for a spin now is the time to do so with big specials and locals discounts on offer.

“Those who book a full day reef trip will also receive a complimentary Sunset Sail. That’s only $283 for a full day reef trip and a Sunset Sail. Valid to travel until 30 November 2020.”

The downtime hasn’t been a holiday for Sailaway however, with Mr Edmondson saying they have been active on the boat, training and preparing for the return.

“We have had complete training days to make sure we are all ready. It’s not just a re-start but a rethink. We are reinventing how we do everything with the right practices, total safety and adapting to suit current circumstances.”

They have adopted a number of COVID Safe measures including temperature checks before boarding.

“We also kindly ask that customers have the COVID Safe app loaded and enabled on their phones. We think that is a simple and positive way of contact tracing should the need arise. The good thing is we don’t have to change our space and tour numbers as we already comply because we offer a spacious luxury catamaran with small groups,” he said.

Sailaway has also been busy with its environmental initiatives including the Eco Shamba Tree Farm.

“We’re planting another 650 hardwood cabinet timber trees (Spotted Gum and African Mahogany) on Eco Shamba Tree Farm in June, supported by every passenger who travels on Sailaway, contributing to our Carbon Offset Program,” Mr Edmondson said.

They have also been working on the Coral Nurture Program, installing coral frames and out planting fragment corals at their sites to enhance the coral cover.

“This is a new approach for the Great Barrier Reef that is initiated by a partnership between tourism and science,” Mr Edmondson said. “A core objective of this program is to introduce coral planting into localised stewardship and adaptation. This is to help ensure sustainable reef ecotourism and promote education on the major threats to coral reefs and possible future solutions. This involves nursery frames with opportunity coral fragments, then out-planting corals with an innovative ‘coral clip’ in order to boost live resilient coral growth at reefs that have experienced a fall in cover and also helps ensure reef sites with existing high coral cover that are economically valuable stay healthy.”

Over recent month’s Mr Edmondson has been heavily advocating for the state border to reopen and said he is pleased to see 10 July put forward as a likely open date.

“There hasn’t been much uptake in bookings for July and August because of a lack of confidence in the timeline due to the government’s mixed messages.”

Mr Edmondson hopes now some consumer confidence may return allowing visitors to start booking flights, tours, and accommodation.


Slowly but surely businesses are starting to re-emerge and one local favourite set to make an appearance this weekend is Calypso Snorkel and Drive.

For the first time since 21 March, Calypso will dip its toes back in the water venturing out to the outer reef this Saturday, 13 June.

Operations Manager, Chris Jones, said it’s a great feeling.

“We are very excited. Our crew is really happy to be back in the water and I think everyone around town is happy to see boats return to the ocean,” he said.

“It’s been extremely difficult, not just for our staff but the whole town.”

Locals looking to revisit the reef are in for a treat with Calypso offering a huge locals discount of 50 per cent for a limited time.

Mr Jones said the weekend’s weather will be perfect so it’s a great time to take advantage of the offer.

“We saw an opportunity to get out and see the reef and hopefully with the easing of restrictions in Queensland we will see more tourists start to come up.”

Calypso will operate under a COVID Safe plan with social distancing and extra hygiene measures in place.

With few tourists currently in town, Mr Jones said they will use Saturday as a trial run.

“This is our first run; we haven’t got a scheduled date for a second run yet; we will see how this one goes and take it from there.

“We will see who’s in town and how many people take up the locals offer.”

Mr Jones said he was eager for business to return to pre-COVID levels.

“I would like to see the borders open, the sooner the better but when it is safe to do so,” he said.

Currently, the state borders are still closed with the Queensland Government set to review matters at the end of the month.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/june/calypso-returns-to-the-outer-reef/

Hemingway’s Brewery has today unveiled a new limited-edition resilience lager with a low price point to help out Far North locals who are doing it tough as part of Hemingways resilience initiative.

The FNQ Resilience Lager is a ‘sessionable’ mid-strength 3.5 per cent ABV lager described by the brewer and craft beer drinkers as a crisp, clean and refreshing drop.

Pre-orders for the FNQ brewery’s limited release of FNQ Resilience were offered to Hemingway’s local Hop Head members on 12 May resulting in a swift uptake of orders and prompt decision to ‘can’ its new lager as quickly as possible.

According to Hemingway’s Brewery CEO Tony Fyfe, it was a matter of minutes between sending the offer and orders beginning to roll in for the new mid-strength lager.

“We’ve been working on a mid-strength lager for some time, so it is great that with the launch of FNQ Resilience we can cater directly to our locals with a limited release priced for tough times,” Mr Fyfe said.

Hemingway’s Port Douglas venue manager, Chris Barber, said he expects the easy-drinking beer to sell out quickly.

“Everyone is doing it pretty hard up here in Far North Queensland, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a drink in their fridge,” he said.

“So, this is a way for us to give back, it’s purposely built for the price point, that’s why we only have the silver bullet cans and minimal labelling so that we can get it out to the punter cheaper.”

FNQ Resilience Lager is $40 for a 24 pack and is available for ‘drive in’ and takeaway on Wednesdays and Fridays from Hemingway’s Port Douglas Brewery from 4:00pm to 6:00pm or can be purchased online with Hemingway’s offering free delivery to the Port Douglas area.

It is also available to pick up at Hemingway’s Cairns Wharf venue every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 4:00pm and 6:00pm.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/may/community-welcomes-new-hemingways-beer/?fbclid=IwAR2AxuVNDQv92JmliMWR0Pjl8rGX20C_7mmAp06kW8VhBP2S5-tJlD0NpIg

For more than 35 years Mr Rumney has been fighting to safeguard the Great Barrier Reef and late last year his hard work was recognised when he was presented Australian Geographic’s Lifetime Conservation Award.

As the founder of the non-for-profit reef research foundation, Great Barrier Reef Legacy, scientific research and dive vessel, Undersea Explorer, and Eye to Eye Marine Encounters research and tourism operations, Mr Rumney has become a true pioneer of eco-tourism in the region.

The US ex-pat, now popular Port Douglas character, told Newsport it was a huge honour to receive such an award.

“This is the most meaningful award that I can imagine, given by a distinguished institution that daily highlights and supports the fundamental beliefs of science for solutions and the sharing of wonders in nature,” he said. “I just really hope that this award opens more doors and creates more acceptability in different spheres so that we can keep moving forward and do more.”

Over the years Mr Rumney has sat on countless boards and committees that have led to improved awareness and action regarding reef preservation.

His endeavours and organisations have helped increase reef research as well as raise the standards surrounding fishing, tourism, and diving on the reef and has accelerated actions vital to the future survival of coral reefs around the world.

Mr Rumney’s interest in the reef began with commercial fishing, but after years diving, he became increasingly aware of the negative effects human activities were having on the fragile environment.

“Originally, I came to Port Douglas as a commercial fisherman, then tourism came, and perspectives changed.

“It’s gone from my personal quest for adventure to trying to save the reef so that our grandchildren can all have this experience, and we really need to work so this experience can exist in the future,” he said.

For Mr Rumney, climate change is the reefs biggest threat and he said we are now reaching crisis action point.

“Climate inaction is one of my biggest concerns. We are still putting pollutants and climate gases into the air and we haven’t begun to deal with the real problem yet so it’s really important that everyone steps up,” he said.

This is one of the reasons that Mr Rumney founded Great Barrier Reef legacy, to improve stewardship of the reef and facilitate research endeavours to address the urgent need to secure the long-term survival of the world’s corals.

Mr Runmey said Great Barrier Reef Legacy is an evolution of his life’s work, building on all his previous endeavours to create a foundation that brings together the best scientific minds, talented educators and communicators, and inventive multimedia specialists creating positive and lasting outcomes for our environment.

“Legacy is trying to get people engaged and create stewardship for the reefs of the world because they are all in jeopardy. I’m a believer that research equals awareness which equals better outcomes for all,” he said

Great Barrier Reef Legacy recently announced it will be creating the world’s first Living Coral Biobank Project which will see them safeguard the biodiversity of all hard-coral species by collecting, storing, and keeping them alive in a state of the art holding facility in Port Douglas.

In conjunction with other facilities around the world, samples of the coral stored and kept alive can be re-introduced into the ocean to replace those that die on the reef.

“With each coral bleaching event, we are losing the most vulnerable coral species and reefs around the world. We may not have all the answers about how to save coral reefs, but this project is an extremely cost-effective and achievable undertaking that allows us to at least start to secure a better future for their survival,” he said.

Mr Rumney added that he doesn’t aim to stop tourism or commercial fishing but rather find ways to make sure that these industries will have a healthy ocean for the future.

“We can still show tourists the wonders and let them know what is happening, we can have so many people a year leave the area as reef conservation ambassadors and we need to get on to that,” he said.

While there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding climate change at present, one thing is certain, Mr Rumney will always fight for the environment.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2020/january/john-runmeys-35-year-quest-to-save-the-reef/

Port Douglas is enjoying two key milestones on its waters this year with the Chinese junk, the Shaolin, and the Lady Douglas paddlewheel river boat respectively celebrating 50 and 30 years of history.

Docked at the Marina, both have long and interesting stories to tell, none more so than the Shaolin, which, along with the Lady Douglas, is owned by Kate Agrums and members of her family.

The Shaolin has twice circumnavigated the world; experienced two cyclones; served as a listening post for the CIA off the coast of China; and has even been subjected to pirates.

It was originally built for a retired US naval officer in 1966 in Hong Kong with the intent to transport and trade rare shells out of the Mariana Islands in Guam. After foregoing her adventures, she sailed to North Queensland in the mid-1980s and is now a popular feature in Port Douglas for locals and visitors.

Kate, who manages both vessels with husband Lucas and brother Flynn Bickford, said they both have sentimental value.

“As kids we hung out on the Shaolin and my father played music on the Lady Douglas,” she said. The children of both families all play their role and help wherever they can. “It’s a real family affair with six children involved,” she said.

Referring to the milestones, Kate said this is very exciting.

“It’s the iconic significance these two beautiful boats have on Port Douglas. Both are original boats in the Marina from 30 years ago. Shaolin came into Port around the same time the Lady Douglas was built, so they have long and strong history as two of the original boats here in the Marina.

“Both boats are iconic to the port and people remember them and come back year after year to do our cruises again because they love the individuality and history that they both hold. Flynn and I were born here in Port and remember both the boats as we were growing up,” she said.

Kate said her first job was a deckhand on the Shaolin, so they hold significant memories for us and all of the locals.

“Our two families are proud to have these beautiful boats and we are devoted to loving them and looking after them with the love and passion they deserve.”

Over the years, there have been many highlights and Kate singled out the television coverage the Lady Douglas received with the Queensland Weekender Show and the Morning Show; along with the many famous faces who have enjoyed the voyage over the years.

“But the main highlight was bringing the Shaolin back to Port earlier this year (from Cairns) and reuniting the two.

“Since then we have had many people join us on the Lady Douglas for a croc-spotting river cruise; and enjoying the Shaolin for the authentic Chinese Junk Boat sailing experience,” she said.

Kate observed that both boats seem to appeal to the same people who love the fact that they are owned by a small local family and this positive feedback is definitely a highlight.

And what about the future? “We intend to market the Shaolin as the Port Douglas LOVE BOAT and use it for destination weddings. And use both boats for private charters and parties,” said Kate.

She said future plans include continuing to pour our hearts and souls into these two beautiful boats to keep them maintained and running daily.

“Although we are constantly working on ways to improve the vessels, we like to focus on encouraging the locals to join us on board.

“We always offer great local discounts, whatever the season, as we love having the locals out with us,” she said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2019/december/iconic-tourist-favourites-of-the-sea-celebrate-milestones/