Port Douglas, Australia is your gateway to Queensland’s most beautiful natural sights. With the Daintree Rainforest to the north, and the Great Barrier Reef to the east, you will find yourself overwhelmed with things to do in this tropical haven.
Australia’s World Heritage listed rainforest is a one-of-a-kind destination in a nation known for its deserts and beaches. Take in this natural wonder via walks like the Mardja Botanical Walk or Dubuji Boardwalk and try your luck at spotting the rare Cassowary bird. Due to the rainforest spanning 1200 square kilometres, we’ve explored a few highlights below, including Mossman Gorge, Cape Trib and the Daintree River.
Four Mile Beach is right on the doorstep of Port Douglas, and one of the few beaches where it is safe to swim. The stunning stretch of sand is patrolled by lifeguards who will set up safe zones for swimmers to avoid stingers. Go for a stroll or soak up the sun and scenery at this relaxing hot spot.
Mossman Gorge is only a 20-minute drive from Port Douglas, nestled among the tall canopies of the Daintree. The best way to enjoy Mossman Gorge is with a Dreamtime Walk hosted by the Kuku Yalanji people. Learn the beliefs and practices that guide Australia’s indigenous peoples through life in the rainforest.
As one of the closer and more accessible isles near Port Douglas, Low Island is a great point from which to snorkel the reef and see turtles. You can snorkel right off the beach, which helps if you’re travelling with kids or adults who aren’t fans of open water, and there’s also a little lighthouse on the island to explore. A trip to the Low Isles is perfect for people prone to sea sickness, as the Reef Sprinter jet boat can get you there in just 15 minutes.
The Flagstaff Hill walking trail in Port Douglas offers a great views over Four Mile Beach, out to the Coral Sea and north to the Daintree. While it’s no expedition through the rainforest, it’s a fun walk with plenty of vantage points to view the gorgeous coast.
Rainforest meets the reef at the Cape Trib headland. It is the northernmost end of the sealed road from the Daintree River Ferry, and anything further north will need a four-wheel drive and a keen sense of adventure. Cape Tribulation beaches, like Myall Beach, Noah beach and Cow Bay offer great photo opportunities for travellers seeking clear, blue waters and pristine white sand.
You can do a day trip tour via coach (typically $110 per person), but many prefer to make the trip in a hire car and explore the rainforest region over a few days at their own pace.
Jump straight off your boat and into the Great Barrier Reef. Opal reef offers a great opportunity to view marine life and learn a bit about this fascinating ecosystem. While there is sadly evidence of coral bleaching, it’s still a great experience and chance to see the line between the past and future of this fragile natural wonder.
A Daintree River cruise offers some of the best wildlife spotting in the region. Australia’s native birds, reptiles and marsupials tend to visit the calm Daintree River, and a guided tour will set you up for the best sights and learning opportunities. You may even see the infamous saltwater crocodile.
If diving and snorkelling are your game, there are 16 dive spots in the Agincourt Reef you can explore. Even if you can’t swim, popular tour boat, Quicksilver Cruises has an ‘underwater observatory’ that allows you to see beneath the ocean’s surface without getting off the boat.
The Bump Track in the Mowbray National Park is an uphill hike best suited to travellers with a good level of fitness. If you’re into more challenging expeditions, this slice of undisturbed nature should satisfy your sense of adventure. You’ll get a chance to see plenty of birds, as well as Mowbray Falls and the Mowbray valley.