Port Douglas travel guide

Port Douglas Tourism | Port Douglas Guide

You're Going to Love Port Douglas

Port Douglas started life as a fishing village in North Queensland but has grown into an upscale, sophisticated resort town, less than an hour by boat to the Great Barrier Reef. It offers an alternative to the faster-paced Cairns tourist resort and is less than one hour from the Daintree Rainforest.

Port Douglas is a center for all manner of watersports and cruising. The Reef Marina has a huge fleet of luxury yachts bringing well-heeled visitors to the area, while Four Mile Beach provides beautiful white sands and palm trees for some of the best swimming in Queensland.

Macrossan Street is the commercial center of Port Douglas, with a large range of restaurants, bars, cafes, and boutiques.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Port Douglas

1. Wildlife Habitat Sanctuary

The sanctuary houses a vast range of animal and plant life. Environments include the Rainforest, with boardwalks on the forest floor and canopy, the Grasslands, with kangaroos and crocodiles, and the Wetlands, with a huge variety of wading birds. There are free guided tours and educational presentations throughout the day.

2. The Cane Toad Races

For a quirky and alternative taste of Queensland culture, head over to Iron Bar for the Cane Toad Races. These take place every night at 8:00 pm on Macrossan Street. Admission is A$5 and you can watch the 'jockeys' kiss the toads for luck before the races.

3. Dive on the Reefs

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the top tourist attractions in the world and a huge reason for visitors to come to Port Douglas. There are lots of operators offering day trips or longer cruises with overnight accommodation on board. The closest reefs to Port Douglas include Agincourt Reef, Tongue Reef, and Opal Reef, all of which offer great diving.

4. Go Sailing for Free

Port Douglas Yacht Club has a great offer, where they provide free sailing every Wednesday evening. If you visit in the early evening you will be paired up with a yacht club member to take you out for a sunset sailing experience. The water is such an important feature of Port Douglas that this offer is not to be missed.

5. Four Mile Beach

Four Mile Beach is the main bathing beach in Port Douglas. This vast stretch of sand is shaded by swaying palms and has a supervised swimming area. You can rent bikes to cycle along the coast or rent a sun lounger to simply relax in the sun. For the best views of Port Douglas and the Coral Sea, head to the north of Four Mile Beach and climb up to Flagstaff Hill via Wharf Street.

What to do in Port Douglas

1. All The Usual Suspects

If you've always been a fan of "The Crocodile Hunter", you'll have a particular soft spot for Aussie furries like energetic kangaroos, curious koalas and feathery cassowaries. And there's really no place better to find these creatures than in their own natural habitat, at ease and able to roam. This space is doubly special because it's more than just a zoo and offers more than a sanctuary. For both children and adults alike, the Wildlife Habitat encourages interactivity with the animals, alongside trained professionals for an experience that is mutually safe, spontaneous and enjoyable for animal and human alike. Its natural and organic layout and design gives the feel of being immersed into the rainforest.

2. A Hidden Story

While Port Douglas is better known for its natural spectacles, Flames of the Forest is a story of the lesser-known history of Australia. It gives travelers a chance to really connect with the Aboriginal origins and cultures still alive on the continent. Spiritual significance is at the center of this show, which is an Aboriginal-led combination of storytelling, dance and music. As part of the live performance, you'll be served drinks, canapés, and a fabulous seven-course meal in Daintree Rainforest. It's an evening you won't soon forget.

3. Trek In The Sands

Clear, clean and beige-cream colored sands stretch on and on for the four mile length of the beach. This spit of land is conspicuously free of high-rise buildings and any major developments. Instead, there is a tranquil, tropical air which brings with it seabirds that float gracefully on the salty air. Take the time to slap on some tanning oil and roast in the sun on a lounger. Or take a dip in the warm waters, work out with a little volleyball, or hit the waves. There are plenty of nearby facilities and the beach is patrolled. Finish off your day by climbing to the Flagstaff Hill lookout point to enjoy the view.

4. A Final Lookout

While Daintree Rainforest offers excellent opportunities to explore the foliage and go "jungle surfing", Cape Tribulation is a sight not to be missed. Take the cable ferry across the Daintree River and arrive at Cape Tribulation's boardwalk. The village is a great place to relax, recharge and look across at the waters.

5. For Lazy Days

Every Sunday, more than 50 vendors gather and set up a massive market that sells local eats, plants, souvenirs and clothing. Begin your day as early as 5:30 am as this is when the market opens for its busy day. Find the market at the end of Macrossan Street, toward Rex Smeal Park, and afterwards enjoy your purchases in the park. However, if you're really ready to relax, pick a hammock and take a nap at Palm Cove.

1. All The Usual Suspects

If you've always been a fan of "The Crocodile Hunter", you'll have a particular soft spot for Aussie furries like energetic kangaroos, curious koalas and feathery cassowaries. And there's really no place better to find these creatures than in their own natural habitat, at ease and able to roam. This space is doubly special because it's more than just a zoo and offers more than a sanctuary. For both children and adults alike, the Wildlife Habitat encourages interactivity with the animals, alongside trained professionals for an experience that is mutually safe, spontaneous and enjoyable for animal and human alike. Its natural and organic layout and design gives the feel of being immersed into the rainforest.

2. A Hidden Story

While Port Douglas is better known for its natural spectacles, Flames of the Forest is a story of the lesser-known history of Australia. It gives travelers a chance to really connect with the Aboriginal origins and cultures still alive on the continent. Spiritual significance is at the center of this show, which is an Aboriginal-led combination of storytelling, dance and music. As part of the live performance, you'll be served drinks, canapés, and a fabulous seven-course meal in Daintree Rainforest. It's an evening you won't soon forget.

3. Trek In The Sands

Clear, clean and beige-cream colored sands stretch on and on for the four mile length of the beach. This spit of land is conspicuously free of high-rise buildings and any major developments. Instead, there is a tranquil, tropical air which brings with it seabirds that float gracefully on the salty air. Take the time to slap on some tanning oil and roast in the sun on a lounger. Or take a dip in the warm waters, work out with a little volleyball, or hit the waves. There are plenty of nearby facilities and the beach is patrolled. Finish off your day by climbing to the Flagstaff Hill lookout point to enjoy the view.

4. A Final Lookout

While Daintree Rainforest offers excellent opportunities to explore the foliage and go "jungle surfing", Cape Tribulation is a sight not to be missed. Take the cable ferry across the Daintree River and arrive at Cape Tribulation's boardwalk. The village is a great place to relax, recharge and look across at the waters.

5. For Lazy Days

Every Sunday, more than 50 vendors gather and set up a massive market that sells local eats, plants, souvenirs and clothing. Begin your day as early as 5:30 am as this is when the market opens for its busy day. Find the market at the end of Macrossan Street, toward Rex Smeal Park, and afterwards enjoy your purchases in the park. However, if you're really ready to relax, pick a hammock and take a nap at Palm Cove.

Where to Eat in Port Douglas

2 Fish is one of the best seafood restaurants in Port Douglas. It has a lot of dishes featuring locally caught produce and cooks them in innovative ways. You will pay A$32-44 for a main course. The Yachty offers modern international cuisine, such as lobster and spiced lamb, with mains from A$22-34. The Beach Shack is a local favorite at the south end of Four Mile Beach. It does seafood, tapas and pizza, with a great value pizza special night on Saturdays for A$20.

When to visit Port Douglas

Port Douglas in July
Estimated hotel price
$165
1 night at 3-star hotel
Port Douglas in July
Estimated hotel price
$165
1 night at 3-star hotel

High season is the Australian winter of June to September. Temperatures are a little cooler and there is good visibility in the ocean for diving on the Great Barrier Reef. It is also the best season for whale watching. April to May and October to November also have pleasant temperatures with good bathing conditions and lower accommodation prices. December to March is the wet season, with heavy rains and unsafe swimming due to jellyfish.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Port Douglas

Plane

Port Douglas does not have an airport, so the best alternative is to fly to Cairns, which is approximately one hour away by road. Cairns International Airport (CNS) has good connections across Australia and Southeast Asia. Sun Palm Transport provides a bus shuttle service from the airport to Port Douglas for A$35.

Train

The nearest train station is to be found in Cairns, with regular services to Brisbane. You can then use road transport to get to Port Douglas. A single fare to Cairns from Brisbane is from A$132.

Car

Route 44 connects Port Douglas with Cairns and it will take around an hour to drive the 42 miles. Route 81 runs north all the way to Nanum in the extreme north of Queensland.

Bus

Greyhound Australia provides services between major Australian cities and Cairns and you can then take the shuttle to connect with Port Douglas.

Airports near Port Douglas

Airlines serving Port Douglas

United Airlines
Good (2,813 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,360 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,103 reviews)
KLM
Good (345 reviews)
Air France
Good (392 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,399 reviews)
SWISS
Good (450 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,185 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (922 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,356 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (300 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (310 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (770 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (136 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Good (51 reviews)
Japan Airlines
Good (455 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (172 reviews)
Hawaiian Airlines
Excellent (616 reviews)
FlexFlight
Excellent (1 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (70 reviews)
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Where to stay in Port Douglas

Macrossan Street - this is the commercial center of Port Douglas. It is here that you will find most of the bars, shopping, and restaurants. Although it is the busiest spot in town, it is still a pleasant area for a walk and retains a distinctive village feel.

Popular Neighborhoods in Port Douglas

Four Mile Beach - this is the seafront area of town. It is a beautiful stretch of sand with a lovely esplanade running at 90 degrees to Macrossan Street. Low rise accommodation runs behind the beach, sheltered by tall, shading palms.

Where to stay in popular areas of Port Douglas

Most booked hotels in Port Douglas

Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas
Excellent (8.4, 1666 reviews)
$256+
Peppers Beach Club
Excellent (8.4, 767 reviews)
$185+
Ramada Resort by Wyndham Port Douglas
Excellent (8.1, 1344 reviews)
$91+
Oaks Port Douglas Resort
Good (7.7, 2179 reviews)
$73+
Mantra Portsea
Good (7.2, 935 reviews)
$89+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Port Douglas

Public Transportation

Two private bus services will take you anywhere in the city center for A$5 for a round trip. Buses run around every 15 minutes during the day.

Taxi

There are lots of companies offering taxi services in Port Douglas. Although plentiful, there can be delays during peak hours, such as Friday and Saturday evenings. Expect to pay a A$6.20 starting fare and then around A$3.64 per mile traveled.

Car

Local roads in Port Douglas are good and traffic jams are rare. Renting a car can be a good option if you plan to visit some to the outlying natural sites, like the Daintree Rainforest. You can expect to pay around A$50 per day for a small car from one of the main rental companies, like Thrifty and Budget.

The Cost of Living in Port Douglas

Shopping Streets

Macrossan Street has most of the main retail outlets in town. Port Village Shopping Centre has more than 20 specialty shops with a focus on fashion. Portico Shopping Centre is also on Macrossan Street and majors on local products and crafts. Port Douglas Sunday Markets take place every Sunday from 8:00 am until 1:30 pm at Anzac Park; there are lots of stalls selling local goods and souvenirs.

Groceries and Other

A Coles supermarket can found in the Port Village Shopping Centre. A quart of milk in Port Douglas costs around A$1.30, while a pound of apples is priced at A$2.30.

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