Paradise found

A LITTLE HISTORY

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.

WHY PDU

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.

THE PERFECT TROPICAL ESCAPE

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.

A FAMILY HAVEN

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.

THE LOCATION

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.

MORE THAN JUST BEACHES

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.

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SPECIFIC

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

Dry Season
MAY – OCT

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.

WET Season
NOV – APR

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).

THERE’S SO MUCH TO SEE & DO IN PORT DOUGLAS

So we’ve put together these quick tips to help make the most of your stay.

Getting around

  • There’s so many ways to get around Port Douglas – Hire a car, get a transfer, hop on the bus. Our preferred company is Elite Transfers. From 1 to 7 ppl. They’re always friendly & that’s what it’s about in FNQ, or
  • For couples who want a trip to paradise in Style, we suggest Lisa Langley Luxury Transfers – Contact Lisa – 0413 444 299
  • Best way to get around town is definitely on bike – Hire from Port Douglas Bike Hire behind Coles in Warner street – Port Douglas Bike Hire >
  • Bus Service (when you’re not Staying walking distance from town). There are few different companies but if you know you’re going to be in & out of town buy a 5 day pass – Just remember which company you bought it from as all the vans looks the same at certain hours of the night!
  • If you really want to make an impression or when getting there is a very special part of your holiday experience – Hit the skies in a Chopper straight from Cairns to Port Douglas

Food Tips for PD

  • Spoil yourself and get all your shopping delivered before you arrive in PD – Please shop for me
  • Dan Murphys Run at Smithfield – Pick up your booze on the way to Port with a pit stop at Smithfield Dan Murphys.
  • Sunday Market – Get their early especially on the hot days. Make sure you get a Fresh Coconut & a Captains Crepe!
  • Book your restaurants early. Especially in peak season.
  • Be sure to have a pie at Mocka’s bakery (known to cure any hangover!)
  • Best fresh seafood for you to cook yourself, visit Seashells Seafood & they will take care of you & also give you tips on how best to prepare your seafood.
  • We all love a barbie, if you need some of the most DELICIOUS prime cuts, croc sausages or butterfly lamb go & see the crew at Malones Butchery opp Coles.
  • If you walk past a Dukes Doughnut…stop, turn around & get amongst it! Best doughnuts ever!

Tips for Families

  • Don’t lug it! Hire your baby equipment – whatever your needs, Port Resort Baby Hire have you covered.
  • Babysitting – Look no further than Busy Bees Babysitting – Busy Bees Babysitting We can’t recommends this company enough!
  • Get Tropical strength mozzie repellent & make sure you lather the kids before you venture anywhere near the inlet. Those midgies love little peeps.
  • Surf club playground – don’t put the kids in good clothes or light colours. Whilst the playground is a godsend it’s sandy. They’ll go in clean & come out happy as pigs in….

Tips for Going Out

  • Boyzzz if you want to get into the Iron Bar bring one pair of closed toe shoes & a winning smile.
  • Plan ahead – Especially your dinner reservations. In peak season May-Oct you will struggle to get in anywhere without a booking.
  • 2 Panadol & a hydralite before bed for the revellers.
    Best hangover cure – get back on it!

Girls – For the Little Black Beauty Book

General Words of Advice

  • Never smile at a crocodile – Be croc aware
  • Get Tropical strength mozzie repellent!
  • Slip, Slop, Slap – Especially your back if you are snorkeling

UNCOVER ANSWERS.

How do I get to Port Douglas?

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.

What should I pack?

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.

When is the best time to go to Port Douglas?

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.

Car hire and getting around

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.

Swimming and stingers

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.

How long do we need in Port Douglas?

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.