Local Guide to Port Douglas

Port Douglas is all about the relaxed lifestyle and unique quirks. Located one hour north of Cairns in tropical North Queensland, Port Douglas is the perfect place for a local paradise getaway. Laid back locals and travellers are drawn to the chic restaurants and shopping boutiques, but nothing compares to its primary location close to The Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage Listed Daintree Rainforest.

The highlights are:

  • The Port Douglas market– One for the diary if you are visiting over a weekend period. The Sunday market is a favourite with locals and travellers looking for stunning pieces of jewellery, handmade products and interesting food options. It can get very hot walking around the markets so be sure to slop the sunscreen on before heading out on Sunday morning.
  • Venturing out to the Great Barrier Reef– The stunning views of the Great Barrier Reef is a must see! Choose from a day trip out to the reef or shorter trips to the low isles for quality snorkelling. You may even spot a turtle or two! Tours can be booked online or in town.
  • Exploring Mossman Gorge and Daintree Rainforest – Picture an emerald green landscape filled with densely lush tropical trees and you’ve got the Daintree Rainforest. The world’s oldest surviving rainforest, a few hours’ drive will get you up there. Explore the rainforest through cultural walking tours and even ziplining! (Ziplining through the rainforest is an experience of a lifetime. Highly recommended!) Mossman Gorge is a little closer to Port Douglas. A trip to the visitors’ centre and on the bus up the hill will take you to the walking tracks to explore stunning views of the gorge!

The best places to stay are:

  • $ Mantra PortSea– The Mantra PortSea resort is a bright and modern resort with everything you need for a relaxing stay. It’s a great choice for families with lots of facilities including tennis courts, day spa, three lap, plunge and lagoon pools and a waterslide.
  • $$ QT Port Douglas– Boutique and beautiful, QT Port Douglas has an urban chic design and specialises in tasty food options and laid-back luxury. The grounds are fit with gorgeous pool with swim up bar and have a cosy and intimate feel.
  • $$$ Paradise Links Resort Port Douglas –  This is perfect accommodation pick for combining family and luxury, Paradise Links Resort has lagoon style swimming pools, tennis courts, free bike hire and BBQ areas.
The stunning QT Port Douglas
The stunning QT Port Douglas

The best places to eat are:

  • Salsa’s Bar and Grill – For one of the best meals in Port Douglas, visit Salsa’s Bar and Grill, with a menu full of fresh seafood and unique flavours . I recommend the coconut tempura barramundi with soba noodles and mango chutney!
  • Bucci Ristorante– Sometimes you just need a good Italian feast and Bucci in the main strip certainly delivers! Classic dishes with a modern twist and bursting with punchy flavours, Bucci also serves from an extensive wine list.
  • Bazaar QT – The buffet dinner at Bazaar is more than a meal, it’s an event. Make sure you work up an appetite during the day to feast on the wide selection of delicious, hearty meals including European, Modern Australian, and Asian influences. Chefs prepare tasting plates and made to order dumplings and when the savouries are done, the sweets buffet will ensure you leave with a more than full stomach.

Your best options for nightlife are:

  • Live music at Chilly’s Pizza – Stumbling upon Chilly’s Pizza off the main strip is well worth it! Live music of all  genres play in the open air garden with ambient lighting. The best thing of all? BYO drinks of ANY kind!
  • Cane toad racing at Iron Bar – A signature past time in Port Douglas, locals take their cane toad racing very seriously! Good for a laugh and if you kiss a toad you can win a free drink (if it’s worth it).  Everyone place your bets!
  • Grabbing a drink at Paddy’s – If you love the beer swilling, sports-obsessed kind of nightlife, then hit up Paddy’s Irish Pub. There’s live music on weekends and an all-around great atmosphere, popular with the backpacking tourists.

Paradise awaits and is only a plane ride away! Keep an eye out for Port Douglas on your travel radar and book a trip to experience something truly unique and ultimately Australian!

 Been to Port Douglas? Let us know your tips in the comments below! 

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