A Traveller's Guide to Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

The stunning view of Four Mile Beach
The stunning view of Four Mile Beach | © Shutterstock
Photo of Caitlin Morahan
30 May 2018

Four Mile Beach has long been considered the epitome of Port Douglas – its azure waters and white sand plastered over postcards, its appearance in every ‘so you want a tropical getaway?’ advertisement, and the place to get your envious Instagram photo #holidays #jealous #fourmilebeach. It’s a must-do for every visitor, so we’ve made a beginner’s guide to make the most of your Four Mile Beach experience. A fun fact to start with – despite its name, the beach isn’t actually four miles long – it’s four kilometres.

Four Mile Beach begins with a rocky headland to the north, and spans for four kilometres of perfectly soft, fine white sand with uninterrupted views, making it one of the best and most panoramic beach views in tropical Queensland. Just a five-minute walk from the main accommodation and restaurant hub of Port Douglas, you would think the beach would be fraught with commercialisation, but it’s the lack of development that makes it so special. It’s perfect for a lazy day on the warm sand with a book in hand as you watch the boats sail by, or donning your running shoes for a hike through the rainforest onto the white sandy beach for a swim in the Coral Sea. For a beach so close to the centre of the town, there are beautiful views each way you look, without a hint of civilization in sight.

The lookout at Flagstaff Hill is definitely worth a visit, for those envious Insta-worthy views of the Coral Sea and Low Isles, all the way to Snapper Island and the famous Daintree Rainforest. There’s a 1-kilometre walking track linking Four Mile Beach and Rex Smeal Park that winds through the rainforest, offering panoramic views of the unrivaled natural beauty from a historic vantage point.

Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas at the tropical north of Queensland, Australia | © ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock

The southern end of the beach opens into the reefs and mangroves of the Mowbray River mouth. The mangroves are home to all kinds of marine life – try your hand at crab-catching and get a local to show you their version of crab-racing – it’s the most fun you’ll ever have with a six-legged creature. The northern end of the beach is the most accessible entry point, and also where the Port Douglas Surf Lifesaving Club (SLSC) patrols the beach and maintains an enclosure net during stinger (jellyfish) season. Although the beach isn’t prone to rips, it’s best to swim within the patrolled area. The beach is smooth and flat, perfect for a game of beach cricket or touch football. The waves are good if you want to take a bodyboard for a spin, but the short, low waves are better suited to kite and wind surfers – especially during the winter months when the south-easterly blows.

The appeal that sets Four Mile Beach aside from others on the Queensland coast is the protected wilderness and unspoiled beauty. The sandy stretch of beach is a flag of turquoise water, fine white sand pressed close towards the tropical rainforest that fringes the beach. It makes for the most beautiful sunrises and idyllic sunsets. There are picnic and barbeque facilities scattered down the stretch of beach, so it’s perfect to take your own wine and steak and cook up a feast as you watch the sun go down. If you’re more of an early bird, it’s just as breathtaking as the sun rises. It’s also a lot less busy – make it to Four Mile for the sunrise and you’ll be rewarded by the most tranquil daybreak you’ve ever received. For a spot of breakfast and a caffeine hit after your morning walk, there are several cafes close to the beach to choose from. A local favourite is The Lighthouse Café, which serves up secret-recipe scrambled eggs and great coffee, for a reasonable price. If you want to take full advantage of the dazzling views, grab a takeaway bacon and egg roll and a latte and sit on the beach. If you want to make an adventure of it, start at one end of the beach and stroll the four kilometres to OTZ Café, where the girls running it will make you a mango smoothie that is so thick, delicious and frothy it will have you making the trek every morning.

A cloudy morning on Four Mile Beach | © ProDesign studio / Shutterstock

If you feel the postcard-perfect sunset is more deserving of cocktail attire and champagne, reserve a night out at Harrisons by Spencer Patrick. It’s definitely a splurge, but worth it for some of the freshest food tropical Queensland has to offer – think melt-on-your-tongue scallops, sea-fresh prawns and top-quality steaks. The views are just as splendid as the cuisine.

Dawn sky Port Douglas tropical 4 mile beach Coral Sea, Australia | © ProDesign studio / Shutterstock

It’s a breeze to get to the beach itself, just a 10-minute walk from the town centre. Walk down Macrossan Street towards Davidson Street, turn right onto Garrick Street (where the SLSC is), then left onto Beryl Street and continue onto Sand Street for the northern end of Four Mile Beach. As far as accommodation goes – there is nothing set right on the beach (hence its isolated appeal) but there are several choices in Port Douglas town, from five-star hotels, self-service apartments, mid-range hotels, campgrounds and backpacker hostels. Four Mile Beach is a destination you don’t want to miss on your Australian escapade, so do yourself a favour and add it to your travel to-do list. Go on, now! Right now! Do it!

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