Port Douglas in Brief
Port Douglas, a tiny beach side town sits on the sun-dream coastline of Far North Queensland is about 60 kilometres of scenic drive north of Cairns. It is the gateway to the World Heritage Listed reef and rainforest – The Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. This small classy and lively beach side town is bordered by the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef on the east and the Daintree Rainforest on the west. These fantastic geographical features make it the idyllic attraction for tourists all over the world.
This tiny, elegant beach side town long-loved as a popular holiday spot that sits on the door-step of the Great Barrier Reef is one of my favourite places in all of Far North Queensland. This town not only make it perfect attraction for visitors but also a perfect getaway for both locals and tourists to the region. It is a sprawling town with great style and charm. Like every other small coastal towns in Far North Queensland has breathtaking coastal walks, stylish accommodation options, award winning restaurants, world-class fine-dinning experiences, world heritage listed national parks and rainforest nearby and world class reef on its door-step. Whatever the thrill or pace, there is something for everyone. Time to unwind and relax.
The beauty of Port Douglas is that you can have a relaxing weekend away from Cairns city and you choose what to do exactly, when you want to. Whether it is visiting the Great Barrier Reef, taking a scenic coastal walk, hiking the Mossman Gorge, just 10 minutes drive out of Port Douglas township, visiting the world-heritage listed Daintree Rainforest or do absolutely nothing at all.
There is so much more to the township than just breathtaking beaches and colourful nightlife. A great way to enjoy the tropical lifestyle – a touch of tropical paradise.
Given the road from Cairns to Port Douglas is one of the most scenic drives in far north Queensland, it is easily accessible by conventional vehicles, coach or bus. Driving up to Port Douglas during the summer months is a low tourist season and the traffic is not as busy during peak tourist months from May to September. Just only 60 kilometres north of Cairns, I did not require a lot of driving. I took an easy self-drive to explore this Great Barrier Reef Drive to Port Douglas, one of the busiest town tropical north Queensland.
What to do?
Given the Port Dougla’s geology and natural beauty, it is a haven for outdoor & leisure activities. A great place for dining and wining lovers and you will be spoilt for choice. The township boast a long stretched 4 Mile beach, fishing, easy hiking trails, endless list of dining and wining restaurants and cafes, outdoor market and plenty of reef cruise boats for Great Barrier Reef trips.
Whether you want to relax by the pool-side, leisurely stroll along 4-Mile beach or shopping, Port Douglas has all fun activities for both families and adults and the list is endless. If relaxing is not your thing, take a reef cruise to explore Great Barrier Reef or visit Port Douglas Nature Habitat, a popular fun place for families and anyone who is interested in learning more about the crocodiles and other animals that live in the region,
With Great Barrier Reef, Daintree’s World Heritage Listed Rainforest and idyllic Mossman Gorge on its door-step, you have the choice between the Reef or Rainforest. Without doing outdoor activities, I decided to spend more time away from home for relaxation and exploring what this township offers. For me to fully enjoy my time here without driving, I stayed right in the main centre of the town. This way, I didn’t have to drive and the Port Douglas’s main street is walkable on foot.
There is a thriving cafe appetite in Port Douglas, where delicious brews, great good and views to distract, are all part of this favourite culture. Watch the sun-rise with a quinoa breakfast bowl at Hi Tide beach cafe, relax for a waterfront lunch at the Marina, take a coastal cruise around the river and enjoy onboard brews with views.
Dining and Wining
When it comes to dining and wining in Port Douglas, the restaurants are full of surprises and it all begins right in the heart of the township. Most dining experiences offer outdoor alfresco restaurants, rose gardens, fine dining, under the stars or cruise on the river as you sip away with a glass of Chandon & Moet. The list of dining and wining from side-corner eateries to class and fine dining is endless but they do come at a price. There is more choice in this tiny tourist hub town.
Port Douglas Market
If you love markets, you’re in luck. There is a market, held each Sunday of the week. You will find eclectic arts, crafts and the freshest produce, so grab a basket and meet the locals. It is one of the highlights of the township and many tourists, locals and visitors from surrounding areas including day visitors from Cairns flock the market on weekly basis.
Port Douglas Lookout
Have a glimpse of the stunning view of township and coastline and beyond as you either drive or take a easy hike up to the top of the Port Douglas Lookout. this Lookout known by tourists is officially known as Flagstaff Hill. This lookout is jut a short drive from the main street of the township, a perfect place to view the spectacular Coral Sea and 4 Mile beach which is the main beach in Port Douglas that stretches for miles and miles.
The Reef Marina Wharf
Just a short 500 metres walk from the northern of the Port’s main street is the Reef Marina, where many reef cruise boats depart to the Great Barrier Reef. Take a stroll along the Marina. Inside the reef building will give you an idea how peaceful this place is. A quiet atmosphere but there are souvenir and boutique shops, variety of speciality shops, restaurants and local brewery. It is a great place to have a local beer or enjoy a tasty cocktail as you witness the sun goes down.
Just right next to the marina is a privately owned mini-train. This train operates on steam and diesel randomly. Take a leisurely short train ride that leaves from the marina to Crispin station, and enjoy a local coffee as you enjoy the views of the rive and the surrounding flora and fauna. It is one of the best easy-to-do activities that any visitor can do. It is a great way to explore more of this township and must do for any families visiting the area.
Train and River Cruise
To have a taste of a good time, jump on the Choo Choo explorer that departs the marina for a 1,5 hour river cruise through the mangroves. As you enjoy the cruise, look out for crocodiles and other local wildlife along the way. When you arrive back at the marina, you will hop onboard the historic Bally Hooley for a return train ride to the Marina Station.
Breakfast with the Birds
Just a short drive from the town centre is the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat. This award-winning wildlife habitat provides visitors with a chance to experience the wetlands, rainforest, savannah and woodlands. It is also a place that you can indulge in your first mouth-watering meal of the day with an array of rainbow-coloured table-guests. You will find yourself surrounded by an exquisite aviary of Rainbow Lorikeets, multi-hued parrots and amazing cookatoos on this rare breakfast adventure. After your delicious meal, take a stroll on elevated walkways as I did. It was fantastic to see all the birdlife in just about as close to natural surroundings as you can get.
Where to stay?
You’ll be surprised by whats on offer in Port Douglas. Ocean view penthouse, boutique B&Bs in the hinterland and tree-house retreats set in a rainforest, are just some of the indulgences. Settle into a cozy cabin with valley views or a sophisticated seaside pad with coastal views. With an ideal climate year round, a short break has never been so easy and close.
Exploring the area
It is entirely possible to get around and visit many attractions and places in this area. My recommendation would be to hire a car or do a self-drive tour and explore the area on your own time. Take a short ten minutes drive north of Port Douglas is the spectacular Mossman Gorge, which offers some great walking trails and fantastic swimming holes. To explore and discover further north, take a drive to Daintree village, Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef. This is one of the most picturesque part of north Queensland with stunning views of the rainforest, reef and mountains leaving the outside world behind. It is all waiting for you with style and tropical sophistication.
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