There aren’t many better versions of paradise than World Heritage rainforest at your back door and the crystal clear Coral Sea as your playground. That is everyday life for Port Douglas locals, however, and they happily share their good fortune with a deluge of tourists every year.
Port Douglas has reinvited itself many times over – from a gold rush town to a peaceful fishing village, from a celebrity millionaire hot spot to a bustling tourist haven. Its casual elegance sets it apart from Cairns – its busier and flashier neighbour an hour’s drive away to the north, with less of a focus on reef tourism and more encouragement of chilled holiday vibes.
Port Douglas is a nature lover’s paradise (without the queues) and all your tropical island dreams come true as you stroll under the palm trees along Four Mile Beach and feel the fine white sand between your toes. Or, if boating is your thing, chill the champagne and get yourself down to Reef Marina to see the toys of the mega rich and enjoy the views of Dickson Inlet. Head down there on a Sunday and you’ll catch the popular local market where you can pick up local arts and crafts, chic resort style fashion and beach wear, and some seriously tasty street food. If you’re looking for some more upmarket purchases then stroll Macrossan Street’s boutiques.
The Great Barrier Reef is just an hour away and the heart of the Wet Tropics – Cape Tribulation and the Daintree National Park – is a stone’s throw away. All of it can be explored through forest walks, snorkelling, diving and safaris. The town itself has plenty to indulge holidaymakers, but as the only location in the world that’s home to two World Heritage areas side by side, it’s the natural beauty that is the star attraction.