Port Douglas is a wonderful alternative to Cairn’s more hectic tourist scene.
Only about an hour drive from Cairns airport, this beautiful beach town is a great place to base yourself if you’re planning to explore more of Tropical North Queensland. Within easy driving distance of the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest and Cairns, there’s more to explore than you could imagine.
There are all sorts of day tours and activities that you can book if you’re spending some time in Port Douglas, but here we’ve put together some ideas for more relaxed activities, on the days when you want to take it easy.
1. Relax on Four Mile Beach
This is the main beach of Port Douglas and a beautiful place along the Queensland coast!
From the main street of Port Douglas you can walk to the beach in under 5 minutes and then continue walking along the sandy beaches for hours under the tropical sun. The beach goes as far as the eye can see, and almost every hotel along the beach has some kind of easy access to get you right to the beach.
It’s always a good idea to check danger reports depending on what time of year you’re travelling, Four Mile Beach is also a jellyfish hot spot at different times during the year.
2. Visit the Sunday Markets
The Port Douglas Markets are an important part of life in TNQ. These markets are huge in the community, and always bring out hundreds of people.
On every Sunday from the early morning until about 2pm, the Sunday Markets offers beautiful unique arts and crafts, gifts and souvenirs, vintage clothes and a whole variety of sweet and savoury treats.
The market continues to grow every year, gaining more and more stallholders all the time, and there is absolutely something for everyone at these cute stands.
Sunday Markets Port Douglas || 40 Macrossan Street, Port Douglas
3. Have lunch in Palm Cove
Located about twenty minutes south of Port Douglas, Palm Cove is the picture perfect sleepy beach town, flanked with tall palm trees and outdoor dining.
The small town is a great location to grab a bite to eat and have a swim if you’re staying in either Cairns or Port Douglas. Head down for lunch and then spend the afternoon on the iconic beach.
With a view of Double Island Reef and Haycock Reef it’s very easy to spend most of your day just enjoying the tropical beach vibe and soaking up the sunshine.
Palm Cove Shopping Village || 115-117 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove
4. Road trip along the Captain Cook Highway
Just take a drive. Relax, explore, enjoy your freedom!
The Captain Cook Highway runs between Cairns and Port Douglas, covered in beautiful trees and greenery from the rainforest on one side and the ocean on the other. Stop to explore many of the hidden beaches and tropical pockets of paradise that North Queensland has to offer.
5. Visit the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon
With a beautiful view of the Trinity Inlet and mountains in the horizon, the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon is a beautiful place to cool down and enjoy the Australian sun.
In close walking distance to many shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as the exciting Night Market, the Lagoon is a great place to stop for minute while exploring Cairns.
No matter what time of the day, the Esplanade is always buzzing with tourists and locals making the most of their day.
Cairns Esplanade Lagoon || 52-54 The Esplanade, Cairns
6. Experience a cane toad race at Iron Bar
The Iron Bar Port Douglas has been racing cane toads for 16 years. Yep, you read that right! As crazy as it sounds you can catch a cane toad race every night from 8pm.
Iron Bar has been featured on countless travel programs and TV shows and is definitely not to be missed in Port Douglas. If you’re thinking of having dinner here as well make sure you book a table, as they are often completely booked out. And try the steak, it’s delicious!
Iron Bar || 5 Macrossan Street, Port Douglas || Ph: (07) 4099 4776
7. Check out Rex Lookout
On your drive between Cairns and Port Douglas stop off at Rex Lookout for a beautiful view of Trinity Bay.
It was quite cloudy and overcast when we were here, but it’s still a lovely view nonetheless. For the best views visit on a clear day.
Captain Cook Highway || Wangetti, Queensland
8. Watch a movie under the stars with the Moonlight Cinema at QT Resort
Running from June 2nd to October 4th 2015, the Moonlight Cinema has arrived on the lawns of Qt Resort Port Douglas. Showing new releases as well as classic family films, you can catch a screening here from Thursday – Sunday.
Grab a blanket and some popcorn and enjoy a movie under the stars in the beautiful Queensland weather. Image from Moonlight Cinema’s website.
QT Resort Port Douglas || 87-109 Port Douglas Road || Ph: (07) 4099 8900