PORT DOUGLAS HOLIDAY GUIDE
With the international borders closed, Port Douglas is your next best option for a tropical holiday to suit everyone. From jam-packed adventure to ultimate relaxation, Far North Queensland has you covered! Below is a complete guide to exploring the Port Douglas area including different seasons, what to bring and a range of things to do on your stay.
Port Douglas is a small coastal town located 1 hour north of Cairns, QLD. It is home to approximately 4,000 people and is known for being the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the world's oldest rainforest, the Daintree National Park.
Port Douglas doesn't really experience a winter so pack your bathers and summery outfits. We do however, have what is called 'wet season' and 'dry season'. From November - April the climate is very humid and rainfall is very frequent; which makes for great creek tubing and flourishing green rainforests but does bring jellyfish so make sure to swim in the stinger net at the beach. May marks the start of 'dry season' in which we usually celebrate annually with Port Douglas Carnivale - a week of fun activities, shows and games. From then until November we have slightly cooler weather, less rain and no jellyfish in the waters.
When you first arrive, you'll be greeted by stunning Four Mile Beach and Macrossan Street, the main stretch of boutiques, amazing places to eat and luxurious resorts. Because our small town runs on tourism, we have taken a major hit during the coronavirus pandemic and are slowly rebuilding our businesses with your help - thank you!
GREAT BARRIER REEF
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system that ages over 20 million years old! It is home to the most diverse range of underwater creatures from fish, turtles, whales and everything in between. There are various levels of viewing this incredible wonder from deep sea scuba diving to staying dry in a glass bottom boat. To see the range of tour options, head to Tourism Port Douglas.
DAINTREE RAINFOREST - CAPE TRIBULATION
The Daintree Rainforest is the oldest rainforest in the entire world, dating back 180 million years! It's one of the most biologically diverse areas, hosting a major percentage of our country's animal population. The Kuku Yalanji people are the true rainforest people, living in complete harmony with the environment around them. Their traditional country ranges from Mossman to Cooktown and Palmer river in the west. Uncover ancient traditions and learn about their extraordinary culture by booking a tour or take the ferry over to explore the amazing Daintree in your own time.
FLAGSTAFF HILL WALKING TRAIL
Back in the heart of Port Douglas, why not take the walking trail from Four Mile Beach around to Rex Smeal Park? The Flagstaff Hill trail is 1.5km long and provides stunning views of the coral sea and all the way up to the Daintree while getting your steps up! There are numerous stops to have a break and a water fountain mid way.
REX SMEAL PARK
Rex Smeal Park would have to be one of the local favourite spots to watch the sunset and the boats return to the marina. Bring a picnic rug and some nibbles and you've got yourself the perfect afternoon. There's a playground for the kids, a large space for the dogs to run around and an unspoken sense of contentment.
Alternatively, you can book a sunset sail to watch the sun disappear over the ocean. There are plenty to choose from but my personal favourites are Shaolin, Lady Douglas and Sailaway which provide nibbles, drinks and good tunes.
CREEKS, LAKES & WATERFALLS
As it is very humid majority of the year, us locals rely on a cool swim in the fresh water creeks and waterfalls around the area. I really could write a whole article focused on just waterfalls but I'll just stick to my personal favourites.
Shannonvale is a little valley located in between Port Douglas and Mossman. The causeway is the perfect place to swim with little kids and for those who aren't looking for a hike.
HARTLEY'S CREEK FALLS
Hartley's Creek Falls is located in Wangetti, approximately 25 minutes towards Cairns from Port Douglas. To get to the falls, you must park at the bottom just before you reach Hartley's Crocodile Farm. It's about a 3.6km, steady uphill hike with a swimming hole mid way. The track is signed so there's no chance of getting lost, just make sure to pack shoes as the path is quite rocky.
TABLELANDS WATERFALL CIRCUIT
If you have more time up your sleeve, spend the day chasing waterfalls in the Tablelands! Stop to explore the small towns of Mareeba, Atherton and Yungaburra on the 2 hour drive to the circuit. Millaa Millaa Falls, Zillie Falls and Ellinjaa Falls are all located within 10 minutes drive of one another and perfect for the ultimate Instagram snaps!
EMERALD CREEK FALLS
While in the Tablelands, Emerald Creek Falls is another favourite situated just past Mareeba. I recommend taking a 4WD as the dirt road in is very corrugated and a small car like my Suzuki Swift struggled a little. From the car park, it is a 1.9km steady walk to the falls.
The Mossman Gorge is a must do for anyone visiting the region. Located in the southern part of the Daintree National Park, the Mossman gorge is the perfect place for a swim and to learn more about the indigenous culture. To get there you'll have to catch a shuttle for a small fee from the Mossman Gorge Centre which departs every 15 minutes. You can choose to book a guided dreamtime walk or go at your own pace.
Lake Eacham is a 65m deep lake in a volcanic crater in the Atherton Tablelands formed by massive explosions from the superheating of ground water. It's blue complexion and cool water makes it a popular place to swim, kayak and walk around. You may even spot a fresh water turtle if you look close enough!
PORT DOUGLAS ESCAPE ROOM
Looking for something a bit more challenging? Why not test out your problem solving skills at the Port Douglas Escape Room! Catering for groups between 2-6 people, you have one hour to solve a series of puzzles/riddles and ESCAPE!
PORT DOUGLAS YOGA
Need to unwind and stretch? Port Douglas Yoga provides relaxed and caring classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced level students. With classes 7 days a week, you'll surely be able to sneak in a session.
DOUGLAS ARTS BASE (DAB) MOSSMAN
Douglas Arts Base (DAB) is a non-profit community arts group that aims to promote creativity and encourage artistic development. There are a range of classes from pottery to painting that you can tag along to for a small fee if you're after a bit of creativity
while in Port Douglas.
MAKER PORT DOUGLAS
Oh, and of course you can't forget to stop into Maker! We stock gifts and homewares handmade by locals and Australians. Come say hello!
This list is only the tip of the iceberg, there are so many things to do in the Port Douglas area! If you are after any advice on accommodation, places to dine, what time of year you should visit or any other questions, please feel free to send us a message @maker_portdouglas