Words Jamie Jansen


The Douglas Shire offers an abundance of amazing activities and experiences for tourists and locals alike. But sometimes you just want to do something different and think outside of the box. In that case, we got you covered. Check out below unique activities and be amazed!

Handpan workshop with Leonel Mina

‘A handpan?’ I hear you thinking. No, this has nothing to do with cooking. This instrument, which looks somewhat like a UFO or a turtle shell, produces mesmerising and relaxing sounds.

Leonel Mina is originally from Mar del Plata in Argentina, where he first met the handpan twelve years ago at a percussion festival.

As a musician, Mr Mina has travelled around the world, playing in the streets and in bars and pubs.

He uses backing tracks, live looping, percussion instruments and a device that allows him to make sounds with plants, fruits and vegetables.

Part art and part instrument, the handpan is often referred to as a ‘sound sculpture

And now he has come to Port Douglas to give introductory workshops to people who are interested in playing the handpan.

“The handpan is only about 20 years old,” Mr Mina explained. “Part art and part instrument, the handpan is often referred to as a ‘sound sculpture’. Each handpan is handcrafted and unique.

“It is very intuitive to play, I only use my hands and some percussion instruments with my feet.

“The workshops that I give are open introductory classes in which I tell people about the history of the instrument and show some basic techniques. In just one class you can already know the structure of the instrument.

“The handpan is an expensive and exotic instrument so the class is usually a time to decide whether or not to buy a handpan.

“I finish the classes with a show where I show some different ideas, rhythms and using some rhythmic bases I explore different styles.

“Three weeks ago I started giving workshops and playing the handpan in yoga classes, pubs and resorts.

“I also have a business on Instagram called ‘minihandpan’ where I sell necklaces, keyrings, and miniatures inspired by the handpan.”

For more information about the classes you can contact Leonel Mina at: [email protected].


Ballet for Seniors with Sharlene Cardilini

There is no age limit when you love movement and music. That is what they thought at Bodies in Motion in Mossman when they started to give ballet classes for all ages and levels of mobility.

Sharlene Cardilini, who teaches the classes, said ballet for seniors has become extremely popular in the last two years.

“When we discovered Queensland Ballet had developed the Ballet for Seniors program, formulated through extensive research, we jumped at the opportunity to take up training and certification to enable us to offer the classes locally,” she said.

“This is not just a ballet class. There is so much more for individuals to gain from the interactions and participation than learning to do ballet.

“Our focus lies on keeping an active body and mind more than anything; ballet is just one way of facilitating them.

“As our bodies age, we all notice changes in our physicality, strength and abilities. The Ballet for Seniors program is a low impact form of exercise, providing challenging workouts to specific muscle groups which are important to our everyday muscle memory.

“We offer the opportunity to participate in a supportive, non-competitive, and non-judgemental community of like minded people. We often stay at the studio after class for a cuppa and a chat.

“The ladies really enjoy meeting new friends and the social side of the program. Something we believe is imperative to positive mental health outcomes as people age.

“This is not a gender specific program; being open to men and women alike. As the program isn’t specifically about the ballet itself and more about all the other benefits which come with it.”

Interested in attending the classes? You can contact Jody Pitt for more information: [email protected].


Watercolour classes with Stephanie Elizabeth

Stephanie Elizabeth makes beautiful watercolour art at her studio in Macrossan Street in Port Douglas. To share the feeling of creating something yourself, she started giving watercolour courses for all ages.

Ms Elizabeth’s passion for teaching watercolour art stems from her time at a children’s hospital in Sydney.

“I was working with the children’s hospital on an upcoming exhibition and the on-site school welcomed exhibiting artists to teach and collaborate with the kids, both in the classroom and bedside,” she said.

“It was so incredible to see kids of such varied backgrounds and abilities express themselves through art.

“I adore watercolour painting and know personally what a wonderful outlet it is creatively but also the mental health benefits it brings.

“Workshops allow me to share this with others of all ages. Our maximum number is 12 for classes at the gallery but I often teach larger groups offsite.

“For every class we start small to get used to the medium and practice techniques. Then build on those skills to achieve a more substantial piece. Those with no experience often surprise themselves the most!

“I love meeting the variety of people who attend and the community feel it brings. Locals and tourists become friends, other artists build their skills, and families get quality time together.

“It’s just a really fun way to spend a couple of hours.”

For more information visit https://stephanieelizabethartwork.com.

Qigong classes with Wolfy

Many Port Douglas locals will know Wolfy from his yoga classes at Rex Smeal park. But did you know he teaches a wide range of different yoga styles? Like the less commonly known Qigong yoga.

Wolfy studied yoga in India and Tai Chi and Qigong yoga in China. He has travelled extensively throughout Asia and in his classes he combines these two ancient sciences.

“Qigong is Chinese yoga,” Wolfy explained. “It translates to energy work and exercises. ‘Chi’ stands for energy and ‘gong’ for exercises.

“Learning to control the energy systems of the body is the basis for Tai Chi. In Qigong yoga you basically think about yourself in a loving, healing and nourishing way. It’s mindfulness or body maintenance.

“Qigong is the same as a yoga class but then softer. I guide the students to think and become aware of their bodies in new ways through breathing, movement and mindfulness.

“It is not a sport. That's like saying breathing or going to the toilet is a sport. It's ancient medicine or body maintenance.

“Many other studies that I've done include hypnosis and NLP, psychology, massage and colour and sound therapies. I’ll be doing a zenthai workshop in a few weeks. All of these things fall under the umbrella of yoga.

“I love sharing this knowledge and seeing the smiles on the student’s faces because they feel fantastic.”

For more information about all the different classes you can contact Wolfy on his Facebook Page.