How To Get There
Arrive in Cairns by plane, train, or bus, then head one hour north on the scenic Great Barrier Reef Drive, which is flanked by forest on one side with beach on the other, and takes you directly to Port Douglas.
Top Things To Do
Great Barrier Reef
- Port Douglas is the ideal departure point for exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
- There are a variety of experiences to choose from – from big catamarans offering reef pontoon experiences, to smaller vessels where you dive off the boat, there is something for everyone.
- Low Isles is a protected coral cay about 8 miles off the coast of Port Douglas, offering sheltered swimming and snorkeling.
- Scenic helicopter flights over the reef also depart from Port Douglas.
- A short 20 - 30-minute drive from Port Douglas allows for an easy half-day experience.
- Join a Dreamtime Walkabout with the traditional owners – the Kuku Yalanji – and learn about sacred ceremonies, bush medicines as well as bush foods.
- Take a swim in the freshwater swimming holes or capture stunning photos of the gorge that are perfect for social media.
Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation
- Located 90 minutes north of Port Douglas by car.
- The Daintree is the oldest and arguably the world’s most scenic living rainforest on Earth.
- Fun Fact: The Daintree Rainforest provided the inspiration for the movie Avatar.
- Activities include crocodile & cassowary spotting, waterhole swimming, zip-lining/nature walks, and admiring the view at Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef.
Dining & Shopping
- Port Douglas is well known for its fabulous selection of restaurants, cafes, pubs, and boutiques.
- Freshly caught seafood is one of the menu staples at many restaurants in the village.
- Breakfast with good coffee is on offer at many of the cafes dotted along Macrossan Street.
- Kicking back with a cold drink, listening to some live music is a great way to finish a day in the tropics at one of Port’s friendly pubs.
- The Port Douglas Sunday Markets offer visitors the chance to buy local arts, crafts, and produce.
- Browsing the mix of upmarket and quirky boutiques in the village center is a favorite activity of many visitors.
Festivals & Events
For a laidback, palm tree-lined tropical village, Port Douglas knows how to party.
- Port Douglas Carnivale – held in May, over 20,000 revelers come to experience a range of events over the weekend including the opening street parade, the ‘Longest Lunch’ food festival, and a seafood extravaganza on the marina.
- Port Shorts – taking place in October, the ‘coolest little film festival in the tropics’ allows visitors to take in some of the best emerging filmmakers' work while enjoying a balmy tropical evening on the grass.
Where To Stay
Port Douglas features a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes.
The village itself has many self-catering apartments which often feature in-room laundry and cooking facilities.
Some noteworthy properties include:
- Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas – a multi-million-dollar redevelopment of this iconic property has once again made it a popular choice for visitors. Set amongst acres of lush tropical garden and beautiful lagoon pools. The shuttle bus regularly ferries guests to and from the village center.
- Silky Oaks Lodge – located 30 minutes outside of the village along the Mossman River and hidden within the thick canopy of the Daintree Rainforest. The property is a member of the Luxury Lodges of Australia portfolio and offers a treehouse-style experience for guests. Note: Silky Oaks Lodge is currently closed for a significant refurbishment including the Treehouse Restaurant and Healing Waters Spa and is set to reopen in October of 2021.
- Thala Beach Nature Reserve – a deluxe family-owned eco-retreat just 15mins outside of the village. Thala’s 83 eco-designed bungalows are set amongst beachfront native forest and provide an island-feel experience on the mainland.
- Mantra – Mantra is part of AccorHotels and offers several properties in Port Douglas either within or just outside the village itself. Many of these properties are apartment-style offering laundry and cooking facilities.
Port Douglas enjoys a tropical climate and as such, there are two main seasons:
- Tropical Summer - November through March; hot & humid; tropical rain; average maximum is 90⁰F
- Dry Season - April through October; mild & pleasant; drier; average maximum is 90⁰F