Port Douglas is a beautiful little town lying in the northern part of Queensland, Australia. Port Douglas is the perfect mix of sea, aqua sports, rainforests and locally crafted experiences that make you feel like you are a long-lost local visiting your hometown of Port Douglas. The Kuku Yalanji locals are so warm and welcoming that you will only want to extend your stay at Port Douglas to learn about their lifestyle and their culture. We have got you a list of the top 12 things to do in Port Douglas that will definitely make your trip a memorable one!
Top 12 Things To Do In Port Douglas
If you want to experience some really cool things to do in Port Douglas, Australia, here is your go-to guide. Just make sure you tick most of them off on your trip:
1. Spa at Daintree Eco Lodge
The Spa at Daintree Eco Lodge is like no other and draws up the forces of nature and nurture while also bringing in the element of local culture, making it a wonderful combination resulting in a mind-blowing wellness spa. The lodge has about fifteen tree houses (remember our childhood fantasies of living in tree houses?) within the world’s oldest Daintree Rainforest, right next to River Daintree. The Eco Lodge also has a fabulous wellness spa facility inspired by the locals’ beliefs in healing the spirit itself and that too, in a rainforest environment. The Spa setting at this Eco Lodge is a full-fledged rainforest and you would be treated to a relaxing massage, with the waterfall cascading by your side!
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2. Bally Hooley Train
The Bally Hooley Train is an age-old steam train which was previously the main medium of transport that carried freshly cultivated sugarcane to the Mossman Mill. You can take a ride in the steam train as it meanders through some of the most scenic locations in Port Douglas. Your train journey will start at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and take you to St. Crispins, this experience is a quick break taking you back to the old times, away from the chaotic city life. All you need for this train ride is a hat, sunglasses, binoculars and of course, train tickets!
Insider Tip: At the end of your train ride, you can get some lunch at Choo Choos Cafe which is a lakeside cafe right at the St. Crispins Station.
3. Night tour the Daintree Rainforest
Daintree Rainforest falls on the Cape Tribulation Road and is one of the best things to do in Port Douglas. The night tour through the Daintree rainforest affords an experience like never before where you can spot koalas, kangaroos and encounter lots of other wildlife in Australia that you will not get to see anywhere else.
Insider Tip: The Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge can be visited together as Mossman lies within the rainforest itself, so plan your visit accordingly.
4. Go to Mossman Gorge
No trip is ever complete without a little adventure, is it? The Mossman Gorge is definitely an experience you must enjoy when you are in the town of Port Douglas. The Mossman Gorge is a gorgeous place inside the Daintree Rainforest itself. You can have a member of the Kuku Yalanji guide you through the Gorge and lead you to the emerald waters where you can dip your feet and relax.
Insider Tip: Swimming in the Mossman waters is safe as there are no crocodiles but the granite boulders might make it a little risky.
5. Shop at the Port Douglas Markets
No holiday is ever complete without a shopping spree. One of the best things to do in the Port Douglas area is to visit the Port Douglas market on a lazy Sunday. The market is held every Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm, these markets have lots of vendors, selling everything right from artsy handicrafts to jewelry to exotic fruits and flowers. The market is held right in front of the Port Douglas beach so you know where to head once you are done the shopping!
Insider Tip: It is better if you head here on the weekdays, as the crowd grows during the weekend, making it impossible to enjoy the shopping experience fully.
6. Crab fishing
For those looking for an authentic cultural experience, you must go crab fishing with the local Kuku Yalanji people who will take you to their traditional homeland on the Cooya beach. Once you reach the Cooya beach, your local guide will begin by explaining the cultural significance of the country after which visitors are acquainted with spear throwing and handling, primary methods of crab fishing that are still popular among the Kuku Yalanji tribe. This activity goes on for about two hours and is a relatively unusual thing to do in Port Douglas but is surely something you should do if you want a better insight into the locals’ cultures and their lives.
Insider Tip: Make sure you carry enough drinking water, insect repellent, and band-aids. Wear beach sandals let you walk through the water, puddles, mangroves, and mudflats, comfortably.
7. Great Barrier Reef
A visit to the Great Barrier Reef has been one of the most sought-after things to do around Port Douglas. Tourists, as well as locals, flock to the Great Barrier Reef to pack in some adventure and to watch the superb views that the Great Barrier Reef offers. You can also go sailing on the Great Barrier Reef. There are lots of cruise companies that take you along the reef, they also have packages that include swimming and snorkeling activities for the guests on board.
Insider Tip: Be very careful in the area. It is a conservation site, so any harm, unintended or otherwise, can invite a lot of trouble.
8. Flames of the Forest
Flames of the Forest is Australia’s very own rainforest dining experience where you can relax and grab some delicious food. As you enter the Flames of the Forest, you will be enchanted by the loosely hanging fairy lights and the candlelit tables set up under a beautifully laid out canopy. The Flames of the Forest dining menu is inspired by the tropics and can be washed down with some of the most popular beverages in
Australia. You can choose to participate in the Aboriginal Culture Experience at Flames of the Forest where two local Aboriginal brothers narrate stories about their culture in a traditional storytelling manner.
9. Visit the Sacred Waterfalls
Sacred Waterfalls, also called Wujal Wujal meaning ‘many falls’, refers to the various waterfalls that fall within the area that is inhabited by the local Kuku Yalanjis. The majesty of the Sacred Waterfalls will leave you awe-stricken as it also covers the surrounding mountain ranges, rivers and reefs. While you are here, you must visit the Wujal Wujal Art Centre where you can witness the beautiful works of the Yalanji, Jalunji and Nyungkul people. You will see lots of fabrics, paintings and even jewelry pieces that represent the values and the natural environment of these three communities at the Art Centre.
Insider Tip: Before you head out, call them up and ask if the center is open to visitors, especially if you are in Port Douglas in the wet season.
10. Visit Daintree Ice Cream Company
Stop over at the Daintree Ice Cream Company which churns out freshly made ice-cream prepared with various exotic fruits that are grown within the Daintree Rainforest itself. The Daintree Ice Cream Company was established in the year 1993 and has emerged as one of the most well-known ice cream companies that makes fresh ice-cream on site and also gives visitors a chance to walk through the gardens to explore the orchard to learn about the fruit gardens. The ice-cream flavors at this ice-cream company change daily and are served in a four-scoop cup.
Insider Tip: Taste the Chocolate Pudding fruit ice-cream.
11. Swim at Four Mile Beach
Go for a long swim at the Four Mile Beach, the premier beach of Port Douglas. The Four Mile Beach also offers super snorkeling opportunities for visitors, all you have to do is get your snorkeling gear on and get into the water to see an array of spectacular sea creatures that make snorkeling at Four Mile Beach an even more fun thing to do in Port Douglas.
Insider Tip: The waters at Four Mile are very safe for swimming, except the months of October to March. This is known as the Stinger season, where the dangerous box jellyfish occupies the Four Mile seas. However, if you still happen to visit Port Douglas around this time, make sure you only swim the netted area which is safe from the jellyfish.
12. Flagstaff Hill – watch a beautiful sunrise
The Flagstaff Hill has a trail from where you can see the best views of the Coral Sea and the Four Mile Beach. The Flagstaff Hill Trail is a 1.5-kilometer path that was constructed as a network between the Rex Smeal Park and the Four Mile Beach, giving visitors a chance to watch the most beautiful sunrise scenes. Flagstaff Hill is only a short drive down the Wharf Street and so is not too difficult to navigate.
Insider Tip: Wake up early and head to Flagstaff, try to reach at the golden hour so you can avoid the crowd, watch the sunrise and take lots of Instagram-y pictures!
Another experience and one of the most romantic things to do in Port Douglas is the Rainforest Dining Experience where you can grab a meal with your significant other as you douse yourself in the uber-romantic ambiance of the rainforest while being serenaded by guitarists strumming soothing melodies, all under a starry night. When are you booking your tickets for an enjoyable vacation in Australia? Book your tickets through now!
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