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Port Douglas was our destination after Fitzroy Island. After the boat trip from Fitzroy Island to the port of Cairns, we picked up our rental car and start our trip to Port Douglas. The start of our Tropical North Queensland roadtrip journey. Are you curious about Port Douglas? Discover what to do in this tropical city in Queensland now.
Video about Port Douglas
The distance between Cairns and Port Douglas is a one-hour drive. During this short drive you can make nice stops at Palm Cove, Macalister Range National Park, Oak Beach, or visit Kuranda Village nearby Cairns.
We recommend these sights in or nearby Port Douglas
We have visited the following places or sights.
- Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail: take a hike along the coast of Port Douglas, you can read more about Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail later in this blog.
- Mossman Gorge: a beautiful place to visit in Daintree National Park. Enjoy a swim in a swimming hole in the Mossman River or take a beautiful hike through the rainforest. Mossman Gorge is a touristic place, but really worth it.
- Sweet Farm Tours: take a Sweet Farm Tour like us and learn all about the cocoa and sugar cane process in Northern Queensland. An instructive tour where a tour guide tells you all about the process. The perfect tour for chocolate lovers and people who would like to learn something.
- Four Mile Beach: Go for a swim at Port Douglas’ most famous beach: Four Mile Beach. Note: always swim within the nets during the rainy season, so that you don’t get stung by a stinger.
Because of the rainy season we had expected a lot of rain and because of the weather phenomenon La Niña. La Niña creates different air currents that can cause more rain and more cyclones than usual. The first days it seems as if we were lucky because we drove the first kilometers under a clear blue sky.
The route from Cairns up to north is known for its beautiful coastline. The closer we got to Port Douglas the more heavenly it looked. At one point we came to a beautiful viewpoint where we had a nice photo stop.
Before we started our journey, we heard many good stories about Port Douglas. And we heard also that this place could be busy. Although Cairns was very busy, Port Douglas was not so bad.
Port Douglas Retreat
We stayed at the Port Douglas Retreat for 3 nights. We were warmly welcomed and we immediately received the key to our room on arrival. Our room was on the first floor, with a great view of the beautiful swimming pool. Read more about Port Douglas Retreat
Port Douglas is very small if you compare it with Cairns. It has about 4311 inhabitants and covers an area of 18 km². Maybe that’s the reason why is feels so pleasant and cozy. There are a few main streets with shops and restaurants. And there is plenty of choices to dine in the evening.
The city centre was only a 5-minute walk from our stay, Port Douglas Retreat. In Queensland covid-19 is well under control, because of the strict rules of the government and of course by the good behaviour of the locals themselves. When you visit a restaurant or pub in Queensland, it is mandatory to check-in with a QR code, so they can trace when there is a new outbreak.
During the first lunch break we discovered a good bakery: Mocka’s Pies. A award winning bakery who specialise in pie (a puff pastry snack filled with meat and/or vegetables and gravy). And we must admit it: their pies are the most delicious pies that we ever tasted.
The next day we had decided to have lunch at Mocka’s Pie again and go for a pie with a different filling. This one was delicious too! Read more about Mocka’s Pies
Sugar Wharf Port Douglas
It’s not only the city centre that makes Port Douglas. The coastal lines are are also worth visiting. The Sugar Wharf is a great place and maybe the most beautiful place of the city. The Suger Wharf, which is often used as a wedding venue, is a photogenic spot especially when different wonderful sailboats pass by. The perfect place to relaxt and clear your head.
Near the wharf, you have a small beach where people get a breath of fresh air and walk with their dogs. The ‘Queensland’ or perhaps better said the ‘Australian laidback’ feeling will meet you here.
A building that immediately attract our attention was the St. Mary by the sea church. This idyllic church is located near the Sugar Wharf and surrounded by palm trees.
Don’t forget to look up and explore the nature in this surrounding. There could be very special parasites in trees, see photo below.
The city is located agains hills, some paths can be very steep. When you walk through the streets you see green hills with beautiful houses on them.
Food in Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a good place for food lovers. There are several restaurants in the city centre, like the Asian kitchen (including Thai and Chinese), a Mexican restaurant and many pubs / restaurants where you can enjoy Australian dishes.
We ate a delicious pizza at Rattle n Hum the first night and went to Iron Bar the second night. Iron bar is worth a visit for the decoration, but the food is also excellent! We enjoyed one of the best and tastiest steaks ever. It is a slightly more expensive restaurant than the average restaurants in Port Douglas, but totally worth it in our opinion.
Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail
On the second day it was time to do the Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail, one of the most popular walking trails in Port Douglas. This beautiful coastal walk starts at Four Mile Beach and ends 1.5 kilometres away in Rex Smeal Park. The distance sounds easy, but with the steep paths and the high humidity it can be tough. And I can tell you: you don’t want to miss this trail, the views are amazing!!
We started the walk in the morning on the advice of the locals. It can be very hot during the day. When we made this wonderful walk it was already 30 degrees with high humidity. Very sweaty but totally worth it!
During the first few meters, you’ll arrive at the Flagstaff Hill Lookout. A lookout with a spectacular view of the Coral Sea, Low Isles and all the way to the Daintree Rainforest.
From the Flagstaff Hill Lookout you can see Four Mile Beach and the rainforest-clad mountain ranges to the south. A beautiful combination, see photo below.
As in many places in North Queensland it’s not wise to have a swim in the sea, because of the dangerous stingers. At Four Mile Beach you can safely swim between the nets that keep dangerous animals at distance.
The trails of the Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail are well laid out. Be aware: during the hike there’s a lot of climbing. And after a storm the trails can be slippery because of the rain.
The first part of the trail (if you start at Four Mile Beach) is especially beautiful because of the views. The middle part lead you through more nature like trees and shrubs. At a certain point you come across a long staircase, which leads you to another beautiful landscape.
Eventually the path leads you to another idyllic beach with huge houses on the top of the hill. Wow, how beautiful is this part of Port Douglas! What a great place again!
Australia is of course known for its beautiful nature and wildlife. Port Douglas is also a good place to spot wildlife and tropical birds. We spotted a lot of Kookaburras in all kinds of colors. And there are many bee-eaters, bush stone curlews and cockatoos. A good place for birdwatchers!
Port Douglas Harbour
On the last day, we decided to take a look at the harbour. It was a lot cloudier and it even rained for a while today. Tropical North Queensland hasn’t seen rain for ages, so the rain was very welcomed.
The harbour of Port Douglas is a great place. Is was filled with beautiful sailing boats and on the walkways were cozy restaurants with a few locals and tourists. It was quiet, maybe because the tour boats were already left.
Normally you can enter a steam train from Marina Station and drive through Port Douglas. Due to covid-19 the train didn’t run unfortunately.
Port Douglas harbour is a nice place to visit. Many tourists come here to take a boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef or to go on board of the steam train.
About Port Douglas
We were very happy to stay in Port Douglas for 3 nights. There is plenty to discover in this tropical city and also the surroundings are very interesting. Port Douglas is centrally located for visiting Mossman Gorge and to do a Sweet Farm Tour. And there’s much more to explore!
Planning a trip to Port Douglas?
The cheapest flight you will find here and the best accommodations you will find here. Hiring a car? Check the Rentalcars deals. Looking for a great tour? Click here for the cheapest and greatest tours in this area.
Searching for more great travel tips about Tropical North Queensland? Take a look at the Tropical North Queensland tourism website.