Rent a car for the most popular way to explore the surrounding landscape and dramatic coastline. There are a number of car hire companies at both Cairns airport and in Port Douglas, providing a day's hire from little more than $23. Offering freedom and adventure, steer yourself in any direction to see the best of Tropical North Queensland.
If you're not going too far from town, a great way to travel around Port Douglas is on foot. Not only is it free, but with little traffic and clean walkways, most shops and basic needs are within a short distance. Take advantage of strolls along the beach as well as the Marina and Port Douglas headland for views that are picture perfect.
For traveling in and around Port Douglas, you can't get a cheaper ride than a bicycle. With several rental companies in town to choose from, you can cycle away from between $19 and $49 a day for on and off road bikes. For a great family activity with outstandingly beautiful scenery, ride along Four Mile Beach.
There are a number of taxi operators in Port Douglas that offer cheap rates to nearby resorts and places of interest. Most drivers have an extensive knowledge of the area and are happy to guide you to the best attractions in the region. Also, most hotels will book you a ride in advance if you don't feel like hailing one off the street.
Autumn and spring are the best times to visit Port Douglas and surrounding North Tropical Queensland. You'll enjoy balmy temperatures of 20°C to 30°C, perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and rainforests. Summer's wet season is incredibly humid, so many visitors choose to arrive in late winter in order to escape the southern chill in place of warm weather.
For a week of food and wine followed by a weekend street parade and ‘beach day', head to Port Douglas from the 18th-26th of May for music, art, sport, food and culture. It attracts over 20,000 visitors each year and whether you are after outdoor adventure or simply want to indulge in some local grub, the Carnivale has it all.
Tropical North Queensland is home to a few hazardous species of wildlife. From November through April, box jellyfish ‘stingers' infest coastal waters. So if you fancy a swim, stay between the nets! Saltwater crocodiles have been known to roam the beaches and although human attacks are rare, it is still worth taking note of any warning signs.
A few things to remember when visiting the Daintree National Park: stay on the boardwalks, don't feed the wildlife and don't collect any shells or plants as the area is protected. If you're having a barbeque, make sure you clean up after yourself and never light any open fires. And unless you fancy being bitten, don't forget the insect repellant!
Get to Cairns in 3 hours with Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin Australia. Daily flights leave from Sydney and from there it's an hour drive to Port Douglas.
Fly from Perth to Cairns in just over 4 hours before transferring to Port Douglas. You can take advantage of a helicopter transfer to the holiday destination with prices starting at $98.
Take one of several daily flights to Cairns and get there in 3 hours, 30 minutes. You can then reach Port Douglas via car transfer or shuttle bus.
Offering public airport and private luxury car transfers, Sun Palm Transport is the only licensed operator authorised at Cairns Airport's international and domestic terminals. With services running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is the most hassle-free way to get between the airport and your accommodation. Get to Port Douglas and Mossman for $35 and $40 one-way respectively.
Coral Reef Coaches provides an airport transfer service from Cairns to Port Douglas and Mossman, with private charters and chauffeured limousines. Whether you're looking for a pain-free transfer to your accommodation or a group trip to the nearby sights of Mossman Gorge or Hartley's Crocodile Creek, coach transfer companies will arrange all the hard work for you.
Direct between Cairns Airport and Port Douglas, shuttle bus transfers cut out resorts such as Palm Cove, shaving 30-45 minutes off your journey. Around 70 transfers are offered daily with groups of 7-13 passengers: $33 one-way and $60 return. Drivers are also more than happy to point out places of interest en route to enhance your journey.
For a cheaper transfer option, get the Port Douglas Bus for $30 one-way or $54 return per adult, with a family ticket at $90 one-way and $170 roundtrip for two adults and two children. With five daily departures from Cairns Airport, the first at 8.50am and the last at 5.45pm, transfers take around 1 hour 30 minutes and stop off at other resorts.
Take a relaxing ride along Wonga Beach and through Daintree Rainforest, 25 minutes north of Port Douglas. With a choice of horses to suit beginners to experienced riders, explore the stretch of pristine paradise at your own pace with the breeze in your hair. For unmissable views of the sunset choose an evening tour during the summer months at $90 to $100 per person.
For wildlife lovers or the night owls among us, discover Cape Tribulation's nocturnal creatures. See snakes, lizards, possums, rainforest dragons and bandicoots to name a few, following natural tracks made by animals or water. At $40 per person, this is a unique way to see Tropical North Queensland come to life as the sun sets over the rainforest canopy.
For a spot of retail therapy head out for the Sunday markets in Anzac Park from 8am-1pm. Situated on the waterfront you can soak up the local atmosphere and pleasant coral views while searching for a great bargain. From local art and produce to theatre and music street performances, enjoy a lazy Sunday wandering with the family.
For the ultimate adrenaline rush and breathtaking views, brave a tandem skydive at 11,000ft over Mission Beach. Free-fall for 40 seconds at 200kph for an unbeatable rush. With most operators offering free transfers and lunch, along with a scenic flight, from around $275 per adult this is a great way to explore the region from a new perspective.
For an exclusive and unique dining experience that promises to delight the senses, enjoy a feast under the pristine canopy of the old rainforest for candlelit drama and Aboriginal culture. Enjoy a delectable tropical menu as you watch live performances and learn old tales. Great value for money and an unforgettable night – this is a must-do experience.
Boasting some of the best fresh fish in town, take the family here for creative and modern seafood cuisine in a casual and relaxed setting. Reasonably priced and with a great specials board, try the barramundi or mud crab with Singapore chilli sauce. Stylish yet unpretentious, make sure this place is on your hit list while in Port Douglas.
Get off the beaten track and enjoy a night high up in the rainforest. With the canopy to protect diners when it rains, if you're looking for the ultimate romantic dining experience, this is it. Dishes are inspired by the natural flavours of the tropics, so the seven-course chef's tasting menu is the perfect treat for a special night out.
A true favourite with the locals. The owners of Salsa boast fresh, local produce and a carefully selected wine list, and promise to welcome you like a long-lost friend. Serving tropical and modern Australian cuisine, you can excite your taste buds with the Tableland coffee and chilli-rubbed kangaroo, or the chargrilled King Island eye fillet with goma shabu emulsion.
Known as the ‘Courty', this is the oldest and arguably best pub in town. For honest food and great beer, hit the Court House and listen to some local music. Claiming to have the best steak in Port Douglas, sit outside on the verandah for a laidback evening overlooking Anzac Park.
A favourite with the younger crowd and one of the most talked about clubs in Port Douglas, Nicky G's is designed in the form of a sports bar, offering a great selection of wine, beer and international brands. Come on karaoke night if you're feeling up for a big one.
The only club in Port Douglas to stay open until 5am. Open seven days a week, if you're after a night of partying hard, head here by 3am when the place fills up. With live DJ performances, Fluid Club will show you a good time, whether young or old.
Probably one of the only places you'll find yourself gunning for a cane toad in a race, Ironbar offers a unique night out. With some of the best surf and turf in town, the bar also offers music by live bands and DJs, meaning there is always something for everyone.
Hire a car for the day and discover North Queensland by boat or on foot. If you love getting close to nature, experience a crocodile and wildlife spotting river tour. Take a scenic drive through the rainforest canopies for extraordinary views, stopping by at the Daintree Discovery Centre for aerial walkways offering a different perspective. Leave the best until last at Cape Tribulation, where the sense of solitude is second to none.
One of the most visited spots in the Wet Tropics, Mossman Gorge is the perfect place to cool off and take a dip in its crystal clear waters. While away the hours in this idyllic haven, walking the 2.7km track for an easy trek, with views of Manjal Dimbi plus an access point to Wurumbu Creek. Alternatively settle into a book, with cascading water over granite boulders the only sound for miles.
Depart from the Marina in Port Douglas onboard a 30m luxury sailing catamaran to experience the excitement of big ship sailing. Soak up the sun on deck or go snorkeling in the Low Isles Reef 13km from Port Douglas. With qualified instructors on hand, whether you have taken the plunge before or not, rest assured your day will be a relaxing one. Expect to pay around $150 per adult for the day.
If adrenaline-fueled fun is what you're after with all the benefits of sightseeing, experience the rainforest through Jungle Surfing. Fly through the trees on flying fox zip wires from tree platforms, taking in the jaw-dropping views stretching as far as the reef. For photos that will keep your friends guessing how you got them, this is a great way for all ages to discover the area up close and personal.
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