Originally the home of the Yirrganydji people, Port Douglas has grown from a mining town into the super-perfect holiday destination for families, backpackers and fun-lovers alike.
Along with the spectacular natural beauty, epic adventure activities and first-rate places to stay and play, Port Douglas also hosts some great festivals, the GBR marathon, fishing comps and the Quicksilver Port Douglas Race Week plus plenty more.
We’ve literally tried it all so we know what’s best in Port Douglas.
We know the locals, and get the scoop on sweet spots and events you won’t find on any other travel page. Basically, we know what’s up. We know how to make the most out of PD on any budget, and that very often the best things are free – like a sunset on the beach or a picnic among the palms.
We’re not doing it because we’re getting paid to say it. We’re doing it because we love Port Douglas and want others to enjoy it as much as we do. Even in the rainy months there’s a bucket load to do, and PD has never let us down.
Who doesn’t want spectacular sunrises and tropical sunsets, four miles of beach and award-winning restaurants and bars, and to top it all off the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest on your doorstep?
We’ve put together the very best of Port Douglas just for you: the best day trips and stays, the best places to eat and drink, the best insider info. Whatever it is you need, we’ve got it uncovered.
We love how child friendly Port Douglas is! We also want to make it easier for you to actually enjoy your holiday with the kids – that’s why we’ve sourced the best spots and activities to keep everyone entertained while you lie back with a cocktail or two.
Port Douglas has dozens of resorts and heaps of private holiday houses with their own pools.
There are also stacks of tours and activities that are great for kids – scenic trains, jungle surfing, markets, cable cars, art classes and more water sports than you can poke a stick at.
Looking for a tropical fix? There’s no better place than Port Douglas.
It’s where the rainforest meets the reef and relaxation meets degustation. About an hour’s drive from Cairns, PD also sits next to two World Heritage areas – the Great Barrier Reef and The Daintree Rainforest. With all it has going on, it’s no wonder this paradise was voted No. 3 on Australian Traveller magazine’s list of 100 Best Towns in Australia.
While Port Douglas provides awe-inspiring, Insta-worthy beaches, there’s so much more to explore in and around this chilled-out town. From rainforest adventures, to secret waterholes, wildlife reserves, a local brewery and cooking with local chefs. We’ve sorted all the must-see-and-do’s for your holiday.
Why not try our curated tripguides! We have put together the perfect guide for your next trip – whether it be a honeymoon or family escape, we’ve uncovered the very best of Port so you can spend more time enjoying and less time searching
For those peeps wanting perfect weather, come between May and October for sunny rays and balmy days.
The Stinger nets are gone, the beach is looking awesome. May-July can bring cooler nights so we suggest throwing in at least one long sleeve top.
Summer months see heavy rainfall and oceans as warm as a bath – ideal for those who like adventure and smaller crowds.
If you dont like the extra volume in your hair make sure you pack Anti frizz or come between May-Oct.
Look out for stingers from November to April/May (OK, so it’s only 99.9% perfect).
So we’ve put together these quick tips to help make the most of your stay.
Book a plane ticket to Cairns. Ok too obvious? Port is around 45 mins to an 1 hour from Cairns, depending on your choice of transport. There’s the Coral Coach which is the cheapest but the longest journey. There’s independent bus transport companies. You can hire a car from any of the larger car hire companies that are all located at the airport – Thrifty, Avis, Budget etc. There’s also other independent car hire companies on the outskirts of Cairns if you are looking for a deal. You can organise private transport – cars & mini vans (if you have a crew) to limo’s or Hummers depending on your vibe and budget. Drop us a line if you want any recommendations.
Simply….Your togs, sun cream, sunnies, headphones, some nice threads for dinner, and your flip flops or jandles (if you’re coming from NZ). If you fancy doing some walks throw in your sneakers. Anything you need is available in town so if you leave something behind don’t fret – there’s trusty Target for when the airline loses your luggage, Splish Splash swimwear for a new cheeky bikini & loads more. If you want to get around town like a Tropical Gansta we can make that happen.
There’s never a bad time to go to Port Douglas…but by now you can probably tell we’re 100% biased. The most popular months are May to November . The stinger nets are generally taken out in May & go back in 1st of Nov. The weather is great all year round. From April to July throw in a light jumper as it can get cool at night. Wet season is between November to March, so if you don’t like you’re hair frizzy or a sweat fest you may want to avoid these months.
You can hire a car straight from Port Douglas to see the sites. There are plenty of places – the main movers & shakers along with independent car hire companies if you’re looking for a soft top jeep to take up to the Daintree. If you’re happy to stay local in & around Port Douglas our favourite mode of transport is hiring a bike.
Pop down to see Port Douglas Bike Hire in Warner street (back of Coles). They can hook you up. Even if you have littlies you can hire a buggy that sits behind the bike. We call it the chariot so you can cruise like royalty. The kids love it & it’s also super handy for shopping, your beach gear & carrying a 6 pack of beer.
So it seems the sea life of Port Douglas gets a little greedy between November to May. Whilst we totally understand their love affair for the tropics it’s not ideal that we have Four Miles of beach we can’t use. However the bronzed legends of the Surf Life Saving team put the stinger nets out & patrol every day to ensure everyone is safe.
Out on the Great Barrier Reef all tour providers supply stinger suits so you are safe to swim with the little critters as long as this is worn. It may ruin your street cred as they certainly aren’t a hot look but you take the good with the bad.
If you are beach hopping to some of the smaller beaches just remember: because there’s no net doesn’t mean there’s no stingers, so definitely no swimming. And you know the drill…. never smile at a crocodile! There are some awesome watering holes outside Port from Mossman to the Daintree. Check out our best of watering holes section Path for some recommendations. Fresh water swimming on point.
A lifetime! But your holiday goals will dictate this. For a short trip to unwind & let your hair down we recommend anywhere from 4 to 7 nights. If you want to explore & be adventurous look at 7 nights to 2 weeks. If you want to try out all the fabulous restaurants & bars you’ll need at least 7 nights.
If you are coming up for Carnivale (May) lock yourself in for 4 days. Over peak periods such as school holidays, a lot of accommodation have a minimum 5-7 night stay. We say the longer the better.