When planning our trip to Australia, the #1 item on our list was access to the Great Barrier Reef. Hubs, an avid scuba diver, is coming up on his 40th birthday and this trip (specifically to dive the reef was high on the list). One can access the Reef through a number of companies (either in nearby Cairns or Port Douglas). We booked into Port Douglas, and even though I hadn’t done a ton of research before our arrival, I’m so glad we ended up in this charming coastal town. We visited in late June, and the weather was absolutely perfect.
Walk 4 Mile Beach (or at least a part of it).
We were lucky enough to stay within walking distance of the beach and could literally step off our terrace and almost directly onto the beach. If you’re not staying close, don’t worry, simply drive to one of the entry points, kick off your shoes and enjoy the natural scenery. This is the perfect place for a long walk, picnic, frisbee game, or kumbaya session. Best of all? It’s free! (Don’t forget your sunscreen).
Stroll through the downtown area.
I do love local shopping, and Port Douglas is the perfect size for a day of wandering. There is a great mix of stores, and plenty to explore. Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes, in order to enjoy and maximize your time. There’s also plenty of places to stop for a drink and watch the world go by.
Spend part of the day on the water.
Obviously, the attraction for many when they visit Port Douglas is the accessibility to the Great Barrier Reef. There is a marina close to town, where visitors can sign up for any number of charter services. Hubs managed two days of diving, and I went out on the boat for a day for a quick scuba session. I would try to book ahead, or, if we went back, do a sunset/dinner cruise.
Aim for a nearby Aboriginal experience.
We hooked in with Daintree Dreaming for a guided tour of Mossman Gorge (something easily accessible without a guide) and for the second part, an Aboriginal Cultural experience — which was among my most favorite things we did while in the country. In fact, I would make this a priority while in Port Douglas.
From their website:
Coastal Mangrove Walk with Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat
You will be collected from your accommodation and travel along the scenic costal drive north. Just past Port Douglas is beautiful Cooya Beach (Kuyu Kuyu). This special place is a traditional fishing ground of the Kuku Yalanji people. Join one of the Kubirri Warra brothers, Linc or Brandon on their beach, mudflat and mangrove cultural walk. This unique coastal place has three diverse ecosystems of beach, mangrove and coastal reef – that are connected to each other by the ever-changing mudflats and tidal lagoons.
Here, you will be introduced to traditional fishing and gathering techniques with the aim of finding your own tucker (food). Your catch may include crabs, mussels and fish which are cooked up for everyone to share with homemade damper on the balcony of the family home.
Eat some amazing food!
While there are plenty of great original options in Port Douglas, our favorites were Nautilus and Seabeans. At Nautilus, you’ll dine under the stars. It’s an experience unlike any other. There is plenty of fresh seafood in town, but you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Altogether, in our almost three weeks in Australia, I was the most impressed with Port Douglas. It’s such a perfect little beach town. Even in the winter season (June/July), I found the weather very pleasant and would be happy to go back for a visit any time of year!
Have you been to Port Douglas? What was your favorite thing to do?