Port Douglas is your quintessential tropical getaway on the East Coast of Australia, an hour north of Cairns. This vibrant holiday destination boasts easy access to two World Heritage Sites: the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. With visitors trickling in from all over the country and beyond, it is no surprise that Port Douglas hosts a variety of activities throughout the year. Accordingly, Australian Traveller Magazine put Port Douglas in the Top 5 of the 100 Best Towns in the country. During your stay, rest your head in a beachfront palace, luxurious spa villa, apartment on the lake or cosy cottage. Some holiday homes even allow pets, so bring along man’s best friend.
World-renowned for its unmatched beauty, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-see when staying in Port Douglas. Rent scuba diving gear from one of the many seaside companies, and take the hour-long journey off the coast to marvel at this underwater world. Take in colourful coral, schools of tropical fish and other marine life. If you prefer to observe the many species that call the Great Barrier Reef home from above the water, take a cruise though the area on one of the many hireable boats or ships. Because the reefs’ colours are so vivid and the waters so clear, a helicopter ride over the reef is another great way to take in the scenery.
Housing some of the oldest trees in the world, the Daintree Rainforest is just a short drive from Port Douglas. There are numerous walking trails through the trees, and this allows you to spot wildlife and absorb all of the sights and sounds of the rainforest. A faster way to get through the forest is to participate in a 4x4 tour. Guided visits—both private and with a group—allow you to access private areas of the rainforest and to learn more about this ecosystem’s history. Alternately, sign up for a zip line tour and take in the forest from above. Available for children and adults, these tours allow you to fly through the tree tops and get a totally different perspective of the Daintree Rainforest.
Do not forget your beach towels, as Port Douglas is home to a broad stretch of pristine sand known as Four Mile Beach. Sunbathe on the shore, splash around in the designated swimming area or float through the waters on a sailboat; there is much to do both in and out of the water at Four Mile Beach.
When you tire of the water, meander up from the beach and check out one of the many oceanfront restaurants that populate Port Douglas. Benefiting from a prime seaside position, many of these restaurants serve fresh seafood, arguably some of the best in the world.
If shopping is more your game, Port Douglas features many retail establishments, including Portico and Port Village Shopping Centres and well-known stores and locally owned shops come together on Macrossan Street.
To get your daily exercise in Port Douglas, you can partake in a wide range of leisure sports. Visit Mirage Country Club and play a round of golf or work out in the gym. In addition to the course at the country club, there are several other courses around town, each catering to a variety of skill sets. Travelers also have access to the Port Douglas Tennis Club, which houses three Astroturf courts and is within easy walking distance of the main street. Other sporty activities in the Port Douglas area include mountain biking and horseback riding.
Port Douglas has a small year-round population and the tropical climate makes for hot summers and warm winters. With plenty to do in town, Port Douglas is a very liveable holiday destination and you won’t lack retail or dining opportunities. Whether you’d like to keep your feet on the ground, spend your days at the beach or explore the area’s natural wonders, Port Douglas is the ideal destination for a laidback holiday close to two World Heritage Sites.