Kylee and I stayed in Port Douglas for 5 nights in the middle of our Australia trip. For us, it was the perfect amount of time for the activities, excursions and R&R in and around Port Douglas. After much research we chose Port Douglas over Hamilton Island so we could explore some of the other places nearby during our stay, as you will read about below.
Driving from Cairns to Port Douglas on the 'wrong-side' of the road! I wasn’t brave enough to drive until the last day, so I made Kylee guinea pig. Other than hitting a curb on the way out of the parking lot she did great! I think as a passenger I was more nervous than her. Beautiful narrow, winding roads between cities and in the daytime the beach view over the cliffs was stunning.
Driving from Port Douglas to Cairns
EJ and Kylee on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas
Four Mile Beach
Enjoying some much needed R&R at the hotel lagoon/pool.
Walking along Four Mile Beach, with hardly anyone in sight. Be ware of the crocodile warnings - no getting in the water, but the beach and views are beautiful. While the shuttle bus is the easiest way to get into town, if you have a hotel on the beach - then I do recommend walking the mile down the beach one day into town as an alternative.
The Main Street in Port Douglas is also a great spot - we had most meals there...lots to choose from - and they have some neat shops where we did most of our window-shopping and souvenir buying.
Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas Lagoon
Taking a snorkel tour out to the Great Barrier Reef. We selected Calypso Tours and were very happy with them. They took us out to Opal Reef, a 1.5-hour boat ride away (very windy and bumpy - thank goodness for ginger pills). We got in the water at 3 different spots to snorkel and had lunch on the boat. The fish were more impressive to me than the coral, and the current was pretty strong trying to snorkel in - but overall it was another great day.
Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef
Our friend, hanging out by the boat
Daintree Discovery Centre
Make sure to stop by Thornton Beach while you are in the Daintree area. We would have loved to go up further North along Cape Tribulation - but it was another hour drive. So this quick stop was perfect for us.
The Discovery Centre was nice - we spent about 1.5 hours walking along the aerial walkways and paths through the rainforest. Watch out for the fake dinosaurs that move and roar - hilarious.
The Ice Cream was also pretty great! We walked around the fruit orchards a bit first and then got a cup of ice cream to try. They only sell it in cups with all flavors of the day together, but it was fun to try the unique varieties: Soursop, Passionfruit, Black Sapote and Wattleseed.
Daintree River Ferry
EJ with Koala at the WIldlife Habitat
The Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas was my favorite part of the trip. Not only did we get to take a photo with a koala and feed the kangaroos, but throughout the entire habitat we were just immersed with all the animals - a very impressive setup how they sectioned off the habitat and allowed ways to interact with most of the animals. From the birds and ducks in the Wetlands Section, to the Wallabies and Kangaroos in the Savannah Habitat Section. We stayed for about 3 hours, but could have easily stayed longer.
Note - we went on our last day and while buying our ticket found out they are actually good for return visits on multiple days. So go early in your trip so you can go again another day if you want.
Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo
EJ feeding a kangaroo
Slideshow of more Port Douglas photos - use right/left control arrows or scroll and click to view
We stayed at the Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas. This place was huge - practically a city within itself. The rooms were very nice and that lagoon - oh my! We were both in heaven the minute we saw it. The hotel had beach access and a shuttle service for $5 each way to get to/from town.
Mango Jam was a good and easy spot on the main street (Macrossan St.) in Port Douglas. We enjoyed pizza and salad for dinner there one night, as well as chicken wraps for lunch another day. They also had free wifi, which was nice.
On the Inlet was recommended to us by the concierge for happy hour, one of the few spots directly on the wharf plus a fish feeding demonstration at 5pm. Happy Hour was good with a fish taco and corona combo and a bucket of peel and eat shrimp. We watched the fish feeding, but unfortunately the gigantic groper fish didn't show up that day.
CJ's Cafe on Thornton Beach in Cape Tribulation. Nothing rave about the food to write home about, but it was a nice spot we found listed on the map because they had beach access. We both had seafood (but they did have savory pies that everyone was getting, we probably should have tried those) and then enjoyed a short walk along the beach after lunch.
Star of Siam for Thai food was our favorite place in Port Douglas. It was BYOB and as it would happen the liquor store was conveniently across the street. We grabbed a bottle of red wine, sat at a sidewalk table and shared pad thai and cashew chicken – we were in heaven!