Words by Emma Tunnock


-Do it in Port-

Nestled in the hinterland on the outskirts of Port Douglas is the Mowbray Valley.

Take a drive down Mowbray Valley Road, and you’ll suddenly find yourself face to face with a spectacular rainforest mountain range, every shade of green you can imagine, and the lushest paddocks on earth. Look a little harder and you’ll find creeks and streams so clear and calm you’ll think you’re in a fairy-tale. Home to some 300 people, this pocket of paradise is a hidden gem of the Far North.

One Mowbray Valley local is celebrated architect Gary Hunt. As part of a collection of stories that celebrates the beauty of living and working in the Douglas Shire, Gary shares his thoughts on what it’s like to do just that.

“The main traffic I have to deal with going to work in the morning is somebody walking their horse down the road,” says Gary. “We don’t have the stresses of the lifestyles of people living in Sydney and Melbourne, and at the same time through our technology and incredibly talented team, we can offer project outcomes that are every bit as sophisticated as anyone else in Australia, and for that matter the world.”

Do It In Douglas is all about celebrating local business and inspiring people to bring their talent and ideas to paradise. It’s about encouraging people with big dreams and bold visions to take up the ultimate work- life balance.

It’s the lifestyle that had Gary hooked from the start: “When I first came to Port Douglas I was just entranced by the fact that you had this natural beauty all around you. You had the rainforest, and the reef – and as a mad keen sailor, it made the perfect location for me to call home.”

We’re living in an era now where the spark of a “what if” can set off a chain of events that has us seriously contemplating a lifestyle change that just a few years ago would have been as inconceivable as the pandemic itself.

“It’s a place where people are very welcoming. It’s a place where you are judged by what you bring back to the community rather than the logo on your shirt.”

As we embrace a fundamental shift in the way we work, more of us are taking a stance against the rat race. We’re making bold, conscious lifestyle choices for the betterment of our health and well-being, and we’re realising that big dreams can in fact happen from anywhere.

Gary runs his globally recognised architectural business from a converted house on a 200-acre cane farm in the Mowbray Valley. Add the availability of high-speed internet to a talented team of 14 architects and support staff spread around Australia and the world, and suddenly a charming old Queenslander in the remote reaches of the far north can become an international gateway.

“We’re working on projects near and far, and with access to incredible digital tools to create 3D images and movies, we’re able to work in paradise and deliver on client expectations no matter where they might be based.” When zoom doesn’t cut it and a face-to-face meeting calls, with Gary being a chopper pilot, the helicopter onsite makes for the most convenient get away to remote locations and island resorts for which Hunt Design is renowned.

Gary also speaks genuinely about the special community spirit in Douglas. “It’s almost a classless society and it’s a community where people really look after one another. It’s not cliquey. It’s a place where people are very welcoming. It’s a place where you are judged by what you bring back to the community rather than the logo on your shirt.”

So, there you have it. With nature’s best as your inspirational backdrop, a welcoming community dedicated to supporting one another, and resources to help you fly - what more could you ask for to take your next big step? Check out doitindouglas.com, get in touch, and take your courage to the next level – be like Gary, Do It In Douglas.