What to Do in Port Douglas?

Port Douglas is a town on the Coral Sea in the far tropical north of Queensland, Australia. It is a tropical oasis wedged between the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Port Douglas is a fantastic city in so many ways. It’s not hard to see why so many people flock to Port Douglas every year.

If you haven’t had the chance to explore this destination yet, use this guide to check what is there to do in Port Douglas!

What to see in Port Douglas?

St. Mary’s by the Sea Chapel. Img Src: KgboCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The top attractions to visit in Port Douglas are:

  1. Four Mile Beach
  2. Sunday Market, Port Douglas
  3. Wildlife Habitat, Port Douglas
  4. Agincourt Reef
  5. St. Mary’s by the Sea Chapel.

Ten things to do in Port Douglas:

This list of 10 ideas will help you make the most of your visit.

1. Explore the Great Barrier Reef:

Heron Island, a coral cay in the southern Great Barrier Reef
Heron Island is a coral cay in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Img Src: By Ciambue – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciamabue/6106191035/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40691429

Port Douglas is the gateway to the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, and there are plenty of ways to explore this natural wonder.

  • You can go snorkeling or scuba diving from the beach or take a boat ride to one of the many reef islands for an even closer encounter.
  • Cruise companies offer day trips to some of the reef’s most popular spots. Check why the Great Barrier Reef is essential.

2. River Cruise on Lady Douglas

Img Src: ladydouglas.com.au

While visiting Port Douglas, you must enjoy a tour of the iconic Lady Douglas riverboat.

  • They offer 90 minutes cruises at four different times of the day.
  • The tour takes you through the unspoiled Mangrove channels of the Dickson Inlet, past some of the best spots for spotting crocodiles and birds. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the local flora and fauna.
  • They claim guests can easily spot crocodiles on 95% of their tours.

Crocodiles are normally seen on over 95% of trips, especially in the dry season (May-Nov). Regular wildlife sightings also include; sea eagles, kites, ospreys, kingfishers, herons, waders, crabs, mud skippers, spiders and the occasion turtle.

  • Lady Douglas Cruises also has a sunset cruise, perfect for those who want to get out on the water after work or on the weekend. You’ll see many of the same sites during their morning tour, but they’re lit up by sunset, so it feels like an entirely different experience.

3. Walk through the Rainforest- Daintree National Park:

Juvenile crocodile at Daintree National Park. Img Src: By Paul Holloway from Birmingham, United Kingdom – Juvenile crocodile Uploaded by Fæ, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24940014
  • The best way to see Port Douglas’ rainforest is on foot.
  • Take a stroll through Daintree National Park, which covers much of Cape Tribulation in North Queensland. It’s home to a diverse range of wildlife and plants and is one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
  • You can take day tours and explore this unique ecosystem.
  • In addition to ancient trees and exotic wildlife, you’ll also find aboriginal rock art dating back thousands of years!

4. Drive to Cape Tribulation:

Img Src: By Luxure – Own work, CC BY 3.0 au, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38003571

Cape Tribulation is located within the Daintree National Park.

  • It is the only place in the world where two UNESCO World Heritage sites meet – the Great Barrier Reef’s aquamarine waters meet the Daintree’s brilliant green jungle.
  • Cape Tribulation has a beautiful and ever-changing landscape, with diverse wildlife and vegetation, including some scarce plants.
  • If you want to stay over, there are plenty of places where you can stay at Cape Tribulation.

5. Visit the Four Mile Beach:

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. Img Src: By Malcolmj – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=237526

Port Douglas is known for its spectacular beaches, and Four Mile Beach is one of the most popular. Surrounded by tall coconut palm trees, Four Miles Beach is very picturesque. You will find people here swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and enjoying the magical sunset at this beach.

  • This beach has pristine white sands and turquoise waters, making it the perfect place for swimming, snorkeling, or simply lazing on a sun lounger.
  • There are plenty of shady spots and trees where you can get shade if you want to escape the heat.
  • The water temperature tends to be warmer than other areas further south along the Great Barrier Reef because of its proximity to the Coral Sea Currents.
  • There are several restaurants along this stretch of beach where you can enjoy lunch or dinner while enjoying views across the ocean.
  • Plenty of activities are available here, including swimming, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and more!

6. Visit the Reef Casino:

The Reef Casino is one of Australia’s most popular casinos.

  • It has more than 500 state-of-the-art gaming machines plus a TAB Mega Wall and dedicated Keno Lounge.
  • The different games available at the casino include Blackjack, Roulette or Mini and Midi Baccarat, Sic-Bo, Reef Routine, and the Money Wheel. 
  • If you’re feeling lucky, head down to this casino which offers everything from slot machines to roulette tables.

7. Strolling through Macrossan Street:

The main street of Port Douglas is Macrossan Street which runs parallel to Four Mile Beach. The most lively part of Port Douglas, Macrossan Street, is considered the heart of this town. From cute and chic boutiques to cafes serving fantastic food, this street has everything you need to enjoy your evening.

  • It’s lined with colorful shops, cafes, and restaurants. You can stroll through this street during your stay in Port Douglas for a taste of the local culture.
  • Don’t make the mistake of missing out on Ngarru gallery, a premier supplier of contemporary indigenous fine art. It also holds a range of artifacts like authentic termite-hollowed didgeridoos and a selection of traditional art-inspired giftware.
  • The nightlife scene in Macrossan Street is also vivacious, making this place an ideal spot for a night out with friends or family members.
  • The Sunday market in Port Douglas should be on your to-do list. Local vendors set their shops and sell fresh produce, locally made jewelry, home décor, skincare, and much more. It is organized at Market Park, on the west end of Macrossan Street.

8. Daintree Wellness Spa

Port Douglas is the deliciously lazy holiday town implores you to slow down to the point where checking into a day spa for a few hours of pampering seems like a no-brainer. And you’ve got plenty of options. Drive up to Daintree Ecolodge in the heart of the rainforest and indulge yourself in an Indigenous-inspired treatment.

  • The spa treatment they provide is unique because they are inspired by the indigenous wisdom of the Kuku Yalanji people, who were adept with knowledge of medicine and healing.
  • They harness the pure water of the on-site waterfall and use its healing properties for their treatments.

9. Mossman Gorge

Located 20 minutes from Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge is your perfect getaway to the heart of nature. From guided tours, adventure sports, and various cafes and eateries, this Gorge is not something to be missed while you are in Port Douglas.

  • You can take a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walking Tour conducted by the local Indigenous people. It costs $86.5 for adults and $43.25 for children. The family pass includes two adults and two children and costs $216.3.
  • Self-guided walks are also a great way of exploring the region. The walking tracks are signposted, and the maps provided will help you stay on track. Different tracks from 200 meters (10 minutes) to 2.4 km (45 minutes) are available for you to choose from.

10. Iconic Heritage Steam Train – Bally Hooley Rail Tours:

if you have visited Port Douglas, you cannot miss out on taking the heritage steam train while learning about the region’s gold rush and sugarcane pioneering history.

  • You must enjoy this two gauge narrow heritage railway ride of around one hour around Port Douglas.
  • Their collection of historic diesel and steam locomotives runs between stations at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and St Crispins in the south on a 4 km run.
  • Currently, the train is not operational due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. A start date has not yet been finalized.

How many days do you need in Port Douglas?

It is recommended to spend between two to five days in Port Douglas.

What is the best time to visit Port Douglas?

The period between October to December is the most suitable time to visit Port Douglas as the temperature remains cool, accompanied by plenty of sunshine. The average temperature is about 24°C. Check this article for more details.

The list above covers some of the best places to visit in Port Douglas. The list is, in our opinion, the best places to visit while you are there. If you know of more places to visit, please comment below.

Featured Image Src: KgboCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (The river in Mossman Gorge.)

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