G’day mates! I just got back from Australia on Sunday. The jetlag is real, let me tell you! I think I’ve adjusted pretty well, considering I slept about 9 hours on the flight back (definitely needed if you’re taking the flight). While it’s all fresh on my mind, I wanted to give you all a little Port Douglas, Australia travel guide!
Not knowing much about Australia beforehand besides the major cities, I had no idea what Port Douglas was. It’s a small town about an hour north of Cairns in Queensland, Australia. It’s settled between the oldest rainforest, Daintree, and the Great Barrier Reef. A lot of people consider staying in Cairns, which is a great option, as well. When I was researching which city was better to stay in, there were pros and cons of each city!
Cairns vs Port Douglas, Australia
Cairns is where the airport is located, and with that, means it’s a bit more populated. It’s more of a city, and less of a beach town, however, there are pools and natural lagoons to swim in. If you are interested in swimming and having a bit more of a relaxed city vibe, this might be the location for you.
Cairns does have more of a bar and restaurant selection, as it is a bigger city. Even though it’s a bit more of a populated city, it’s still laid back and has easy access to the Great Barrier Reef and the mountains.
Port Douglas, on the other hand, is a bit smaller, with fewer tourists. The city has ease of access to both the Great Barrier Reef and the oldest rainforest in the world, the Daintree Rainforest. The mountains in Port Douglas bridge out into a peninsula and create their Four Mile Beach.
Even though Port Douglas has a beach, I would not recommend getting in, as northern Australia is known for their crocodile filed-waters.
Besides its many outdoor activities, there is a main street in Port Douglas full of restaurants, convenient stores, and shops. If you’re staying near the main street area, you’ll be able to walk to the marina and all of the restaurants and marina, as the city is very walkable.
Now, with the comparison of both cities, it will definitely depend on what you like more, however, we chose to stay in Port Douglas, so I’ll give you guys a little guide below!
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Reef Club Resort while we were in town and it was perfect walking distance between the marina and their downtown area. It’s got a nice secluded pool and a mini convenient store. However, there was no elevator so it wouldn’t be suitable if you aren’t able to maneuver stairs.
What to Do
Port Douglas sits right between the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. We booked excursions for both of these things and I’d highly recommend them. They were both two of my favorite things to do in Australia.
We took the Quicksilver tour to the Great Barrier reef and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It took about an hour and a half to get to our first stop. The views from the boat were beautiful and it was fun to ride the waves from the front of the boat. I will recommend sea sickness medicine, which they also have on the boat, as it’s always a bumpy ride. They took us to three different snorkel spots. It was the best snorkeling I’ve ever done. They also have scuba diving, and allow you to go on your first time dive there, as well! At each stop, we were the only group, so it felt super secluded!
The next day we went on a tour of the oldest rainforest in the world, the Daintree Rainforest, through the Daintree Wonder Tours. David was our tour guide and I would highly recommend him. You’ll be able to walk through the rainforest, take a crocodile cruise, swim at a natural swimming hole with amazing food, and stop at a local fruit farm for fruit ice cream throughout the day!
Where to Eat
I’m known for my restaurant lists in every city that I visit. I made one for Port Douglas with the help of a local I met on our Great Barrier Reef tour. I’ve listed out some restaurant recommendations below:
- QT Resort – Everything
- Watergate – Everything
- Seabean – Tappas
- Salsa – Everything
- On the Inlet – Seafood
Where to Drink
Now, Port Douglas isn’t a bar town, but there are a few good places to drink throughout the day.
When to Travel
The seasons in Australia are opposite of that of the United States, so keep that in mind. If you’re just looking to travel to northern Australia, you can really travel at any time because it’s close to the equator. We went toward the end of May (right at the start of their Winter) and hiked the rainforest in a tank top and yoga pants. I would recommend some time in our Fall or Spring to travel because it would be hot enough to get in the water there, but not so hot that it’s unbearable. Unless you like hiking when there is a slight chill, then May/June is perfect!
The nice part about traveling in May/June is that the prices are lower. Our flight was only $1,000, and our hotel was just about $230 per day and that fit 5 of us! The dollar is currently stronger than the Australian dollar, so things weren’t too expensive either!
I’ll be updating you on what to do in Sydney next, so stay tuned!
Have any questions about Port Douglas? Leave a comment below, or find out some other great places to travel to that I’ve been!