Everything you need to know to plan a Port Douglas holiday
Ever been inspired to take a Port Douglas holiday? The Tropical North Queensland beauty has some serious talents and achievements up her sleeve, making her one of Queensland’s top must-see destinations. How about: a world first Ecotourism Australia ECO Destination Certification, being surrounded by world heritage royalty, and endless ways to unwind? Just quietly, it’s also a preferred destination among celebrities wanting to go off the grid.
With her boundless beauty, here’s nine reasons why a Port Douglas holiday should definitely get a spot on your bucket list.
1. Pick a pool
With the Great Barrier Reef for a neighbour, they’re up against a heavyweight in the aquatic category – but that’s nothing that the newly renovated Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas can’t handle.
Take your pick from two hectares of saltwater lagoons, 13 pools, 26 poolside cabanas and a freshwater pool complete with swim-up bar.
Also spoiling you for choice is the Sheraton’s unique, lushly decorated bars and restaurant concepts – including the nationally awarded Harrisons by Spencer Patrick.
2. Take picnicking to the extreme
Ever been dropped to your picnic spot by a helicopter? The ideal spot to be proposed to, your beach picnic of a lifetime begins with a helicopter ride to a sand cay in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef.
Fly over a watercolour painting of turquoise and blue hues before touching down on soft, powdery sand and calling hundreds of tropical fish neighbours for the day.
They don’t do things by halves in Port Douglas.
3. Don’t go chasing waterfalls, chase palms instead
One of the northernmost destinations to have so many palm trees and coconut plantations for long stretches, it’s as picturesque as it is a never-ending supply of beach life essentials (shade, and something to sip from).
To get a look at these beauties, head along Four Mile Beach and lunch at eco-resort Thala Beach Nature Reserve where the trees are in reach and the coconuts ripe for cracking open. If you’re keen to learn the health benefits of coconuts and why it’s called the “Tree of Life”, do the Nature Reserve’s two-hour Coconut Odyssey tour.
4. Take your coconut drinking skills to Barbados
Port Douglas’s waterfront bar Barbados serves up at least five different coconut cocktails (among other beverage creations) and tantalising bites from its fresh, coastal-inspired menu. Share an ocean board with friends (or have one all to yourself) and wash it down with their vast array of rums.
5. Go deep into rainforests
The former has plenty of spots to cool off in and indulge in some forest bathing; Mossman Gorge is a prime spot for a quiet dip with its smooth granite boulders and bright Ulysses butterflies to occupy your attention. The Mossman River offers more activity and the opportunity to glide along the entirety of the river with stand-up paddle boarding.
6. A memorable dusk
Choose a spot along the beach, pack a picnic and a nice bottle and get ready to drink in one of the most colourful sunsets you’ve ever seen. Hues of red, orange, blue and pink dance across the sky and evolve as the sun goes down, as if you’re watching an artist rework their painting. It’s truly a spectacular (and free) soul-nourishing thing you can do for yourself and the ones you’re with.
7. Shop local
It isn’t a holiday without checking out the local produce, handicrafts and wares. The Port Douglas markets are every Sunday from 8am – 1.30pm at Anzac Park. If you’re looking to extend your shopping vacation, read this handy shopping guide to Port Douglas.
8. Swim with whales
In Port Douglas you can virtually step outside your front door to dip your toe straight into the Reef – one of the many benefits about having the right World-Heritage sites in your company. And once you dive in, there’s a whole world waiting underneath. Get acquainted with the (fairly) recently discovered local Minke Whales, where dives are conducted just off the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
9. Be treated to an extra special spa day
Learn about the local Indigenous population, the Kuku Yalanji tribe, and their incredibly special spa treatments at the Daintree Eco Lodge. Traditional ancient remedies help restore your wellbeing while you get pampered in the midst of the ‘Wawu-karrba’ (the indigenous word for the rainforest, meaning ‘healing of the spirit’).