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Travel Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your Port Douglas Vacation

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Port Douglas in Far North Queensland is the ideal launch pad for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park. The city houses numerous upscale resorts that attract well-heeled visitors, in addition to more accessible accommodation that welcomes budget-minded travellers. The aquamarine Coral Sea waters and the golden sands of palm-fringed Four Mile Beach make this an idyllic vacation destination.

Best time to travel


Port Douglas has a tropical monsoon climate, with average temperatures ranging from 17 degrees C (63 F) to 25 degrees C (77 F) in July, and 24 degrees C (75 F) to 30 degrees C (86 F) in January. February is usually the wettest month, and swimming can be dangerous from November to May due to marine stingers like box jellyfish. The peak tourist season is between May and September. Port Douglas Carnivale happens over 10 days at the end of May and Porttoberfest beer festival takes place in October.

Not to miss


With the Great Barrier Reef at its doorstep, Port Douglas is the perfect base for expeditions to the world’s largest coral reef system. Several local operators offer trips to the outer reef, and cater to both snorkelers and scuba divers. Mossman Gorge provides a gateway to Daintree National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers freshwater swimming holes surrounded by tropical rainforest. The golden sands and crystal clear waters of Four Mile Beach and Cape Tribulation perfectly illustrate why Port Douglas is called a tropical paradise.


Getting around


The closest airport to Port Douglas is Cairns Airport (CNS), which is a 1-hour drive, or you can take a shuttle from the airport to city centre. Port Douglas is a small town and everything is reachable on foot. You can rent a car if you want to explore nearby attractions like Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park, and the Atherton Tablelands, which are less than a 2-hour drive.




Ocean-fresh seafood and local produce from the fertile Atherton Tablelands have turned Port Douglas into a major foodie destination. There is a host of restaurants that offer sweeping views of the Coral Sea. You’ll also find plenty of laid-back cafés that serve deli-style meals like sandwiches, salads, and burgers, as well as specialty coffees.


Customs and etiquette


Port Douglas is a relaxed and easygoing town, so social etiquette amounts to standard good manners. Kids are welcome almost everywhere and the vibe is generally laid-back. Tipping for services is not mandatory in Australia except in restaurants where it’s customary to add a 10 to 15 percent gratuity. Casual dress is fine in most places, although some upscale restaurants may have a dress code, so you should call in advance. Australia has extremely strict tobacco laws, and smoking is banned in restaurants, bars, and pubs, as well as most public places.


Fast facts


  • Population: 4000

  • Spoken languages: English

  • Electrical: 230 volts, 50 Hz, plug type I

  • Phone calling code: +61 7

  • Emergency number: 000; 112 on cell phone