Location Location Location
The success of Port Douglas is all about Location. Just one hour’s spectacular drive north of Cairns Airport in Far North Queensland, with the waters of the Great Barrier Reef lapping the shoreline and the prehistoric rainforest of the Daintree calling, the tiny town of Port as the locals label it, delivers big time as a holiday destination.
The world’s largest Unesco listed area, the Great Barrier Reef is made up of 2900 reefs stretching from Cape York on the northern tip of Australia to Lady Elliott Island 2,300 km to the south.
At Port the Reef is always calling, however it’s not something most of us can afford willy nilly – it’s a big experience with a price to match. As such it pays to consider all the options before plunging in. Quicksilver whisks you to their pontoon at Agincourt Reef, 72 km from Port on the outer barrier reef, in their 45 metre wave-piercing catamaran. Agincourt Reef is the quintessential reef experience, with the best coral viewing and water visibility.
Wavedancer, their luxury 30m sailing catamaran goes to Low Isles, only 15 km/1 hour from Port, where it is possible to snorkel from the beach. These are two we’re familiar with but there are many more companies and trips offering half and full day trips on sailing and/or power catamarans.
Photo and post by Adventure Mumma.
Familiarise yourself with the Marina to see where your boat will be leaving from.
Agincourt: Adults $246 Child $124 Family $616 (2 + 2) Low Isles: Adults $200.50 Child $102.50 Family $510 (2 + 2)
Work on your tan while you destress and dream of that after sun cocktail. Beach walk for hours, picnic or practice being a beach bum – it’s an honoured profession up here. You’ll be snoozing beneath a She Oak before you know it.
Four Mile Beach – easy access from the main street – Macrossan Street.
Four Mile from the walkway up to Flagstaff Hill.
Only a fisherperson knows how relaxing wetting a line can be. Fishing is allowed from the town Sugar Wharf.
Ports Horse Farm.
Owner Prue’s friendly down to earth style and love for her horses shows. She has developed an undercover riding Arena to complement their rainforest rides. The Arena, elevated at the back of the property where grassy fields meet rain-forested hills also offers protection from real and liquid sunshine.
Why not mix things up a little – an one hour’s ride is easily slotted in to the day’s activities and the farm is only 5 minutes from the Port Douglas Roundabout.
5 Heritage Lane CRAIGLIE
Far North Queensland
Flagstaff Hill just behind town overlooks Four Mile Beach and is a great Sunrise Spot. It can be accessed by road or a walking track from Four Mile Beach.
When driving up the hill find walking access on the bottom left to a decommissioned lighthouse with views.
Take a step back in time and visit Cape Tribulation in the prehistoric Daintree rainforest. It’s stepping back in time in more ways than one. Head 40 minutes north to where the Bruce Highway meets the Daintree River and board the barge.
Driving off into the Daintree rainforest gives me a Jurassic Park shiver of anticipation.
Cost: $25 Return trip.
What is The Daintree?
It’s a River, a Township and a Region and each are easily accessible from Port Douglas. The Daintree Rainforest begins at Mossman Gorge in the 1988 World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park and extends to Daintree Township and River and north to Cape Tribulation and beyond. You can see a sketch map of the area with estimated drive times here or download the free map.
Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the sea.
Find out where the big boats hide during cyclones, bird watch in the mangroves and listen to boat wreck stories. Don your Safari Suit and join the Croc hunt.
Search for Turtles
Rex Smeal Park is a good land base to turtle watch from. At high tide they pop their heads up around the rocks. After 4.30 pm settle in to watch the big boats come home. They pass close to the point on their way into Dickson Inlet.
Anzac Park, bordered by the Dickson Inlet and Wharf Street, is the site of the Sunday Market. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away. Think tropical fruits, flowers, plants and locally made art and crafts galore. Plan to be in town on Sunday – I do.
Behind the market is the 1880’s St. Mary’s Church by the Sea famous for destination weddings. A glass picture window overlooks the Coral Sea.
Court House Hotel
Every Port visit finds us at the Court House with a Coldie and a Countery (beer and bar meal) and with the footpath going right through the outdoor seating area, its a fun people watching spot too.
Wild Caught Barra, Chips and Salad $24. Kids Menu $10.
Delve into History
The Port was developed in 1877 to service the inland goldfields. Download the Douglas Shire Historical Society’s Stroll Back in Time in the Port Douglas Village (pdf) to take a self guided tour through the past or guided tours can be arranged for six or more.
When to Go
The weather is kinder between April and October. Low Season November to March is hot and humid with the benefit of less tourist traffic. Our photos were taken in November.
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