Port Douglas Destination Guide
Port Douglas was once a sleepy fishing village until the arrival of wide-scale tourism in the 1980s transformed the town into one of Australia's must-see destinations. Port Douglas holiday packages have opened up the region to visitors keen to enjoy the town's spectacular natural beauty, its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest and the world renowned Four Mile Beach. Regularly voted one of the best places to visit in Australia, the town retains a laidback village atmosphere despite the prevalence of several major Port Douglas resorts. So kick off your shoes, pack your beack gear and get ready to relax in one of Australia's most popular tourist towns.
If you're looking for a golden sandy beach, look no further than Port Douglas. Spending lazy days kicking back on Four Mile Beach's spectacular stretch of coastline is one of the most popular things to do in Port Douglas. So relaxing is the beach you can easily lose track of time, however there's plenty more on offer once you've finished your lounging. You can charter a yacht from the Port Douglas Yacht Club or drive 20 kilometres up the road to explore breathtaking Mossman Gorge in the lucious surrounds of the Daintree Rainforest. Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef are also popular, with the reef located just a catamaran ride away from the town.
As one of Australia's top tourist destinations, the town is blessed with an abundance of high class restaurants. Most Port Douglas restaurants are located on Wharf Street overlooking the Coral Sea and many are renowned for the quality of their cuisine. One such restaurant is Salsa Bar and Grill, regarded by many as the finest in town. Nearby Zinc Restaurant and Lounge Bar on Macrossan Street is another local favourite, while picturesque On The Inlet is perched right on the groper-filled waters of Dickson Inlet. The Court House Hotel offers a laidback country atmosphere but if you're looking for a more sophisticated place to drink, Fluid Nightclub at the Marina Mirage is the town's hippest nightclub.
Catering to thousands of tourists a year ensures there's no shortage of Port Douglas accommodation, ranging from boutique hotels to luxury 5-star resorts. A popular budget option is The Pink Flamingo, which includes Balinese-style outdoor baths as one of its main attractions. Similar in outlook is the Mai Tai Resort on the outskirts of town, though its major drawcard is a stunning rainforest location. For a resort-style stay the Pullman Sea Temple and Spa puts everything at your fingertips, including upscale Aqua Restaurant overlooking the resort's exclusive lagoon. The upscale Coconut Grove Apartments on Macrossan Street offer a more central location if you're eager to stay in the heart of town.
The town's Sunday Markets are a highlight of Port Douglas shopping, bringing together a diverse collection of handmade souvenirs, vibrant artworks and a delicious array of local produce. Outside the markets there are plenty of other shopping experiences to enjoy, with bustling Macrossan Street home to several fashion outlets specialising in swimwear and casual clothing, as well as an impressive range of jewellers. Portico Shopping Centre also boasts numerous clothing outlets – not to mention several fine eateries – and is located just one block back from popular Four Mile Beach.
Port Douglas like a Local
Known as a haven for celebrities, the town celebrates two major festivals a year. The Macrossan Street Parade in May kicks off 10 days of festivities as part of the Port Douglas Carnivale and bills itself as a celebration of tropical life. The similarly popular Porttoberfest is the town's take on a German-style beer festival and ends with the Sunset In The Park music festival on the final weekend of October. Both events are enthusiastically promoted by the town's local residents, who revel in the chance to let their hair down. Look hard enough and you may just spot a well-known celebrity in amongst the crowds!