17 Epic Things To Do in Port Douglas

Things To Do In Port Douglas

There are plenty of things to do in Port Douglas, and no matter what your interests are, you’ll find something to enjoy. 

With its close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park, it’s no wonder people flock here to explore nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Located an hour North of Cairns, Port Douglas is easily accessible from any major city in Australia.

Port Douglas is more than just a place to relax; there are plenty of things to do in town that will keep you entertained all day long! 

17 Best Activities in Port Douglas

From a relaxing walk on the beach, to browsing in some of the boutique shops to eating at some of the finest restaurants to swimming with the turtles, you will find plenty of things to do in Port Douglas whether you are looking for an action packed holiday or an easy relaxed vacation.

1. Walk along 4-mile Beach

One of the best things to do in Port Douglas is simply to spend some time relaxing on the stunning 4-mile beach.

This is a great place to sunbathe, swim, read a book or just enjoy the incredible views.

If you’re feeling active, there’s also plenty of room to run, walk or ride your bike along the beach.

As it is one of the most famous beaches in Far North Queensland it is recommended that you arrive early to get your spot on the beach.

2. Take a quiet moment at St Mary’s by the Sea

St Mary's by the Sea

This little chapel is one of the most popular places to visit in Port Douglas, and it’s easy to see why.

The beautiful setting and tranquil atmosphere make it the perfect place to take a moment to reflect, pray or simply enjoy the beauty of this little chapel on the shores of the beach.

With gorgeous views of the beach from the Chapel window, it’s no surprise that many couples choose this as their wedding venue.

3. Have a drink at Hemingway’s Brewery

Hemingway’s Brewery is one of the best places in Port Douglas to enjoy a cold beer and check out the Marina views.

This is a great spot to relax and watch the world go by, and if you’re feeling hungry they also serve up some tasty pub grub.

However, if burgers and beer aren’t your thing, you are bound to find something on the menu that you will enjoy.

4. Checkout the views at Trinity Bay Lookout

One of the best things to do in Port Douglas is to take a drive up to Trinity Bay Lookout.

The views from here are simply stunning, and on a clear day you can even see the Low Isles.

This is a great spot to enjoy the sunset, or just to take in the incredible scenery.

If you’re up for a “hike”, walk up The Flagstaff Trail rather than driving to the car park.

5. Hike the Flagstaff Hill Trail

If you are looking for a short hike with some epic views then The Flagstaff Hill trail is for you.

A short 1.5km hike that winds along a coastal track between Four Mile Beach and Rex Smeal Park.

Although the track is short it offers some of the best views in Port Douglas. The main attraction on the hike is the Trinity Bay lookout which has views over Four Mile Beach and the Coral Sea.

6. Do a spot of shopping at the Port Douglas Sunday Markets

Port Douglas Sunday Markets
Port Douglas Sunday Markets. Photo by Jervis_Pics on Flickr.

There are two main markets in Port Douglas that are definitely worth a visit; the Sunday Market and the Port Douglas Markets.

The Sunday Market is held every week and is full of stalls selling everything from clothes and jewelry to fresh produce and homemade goods. It’s a great place to find a bargain or pick up a unique souvenir.

The Marina Markets are held on Wednesday and are located on Wharf Street.

You will find everything from hand-crafted art, local produce and fresh seafood, healthy breakfast options such as smoothie bowls.

7. Enjoy the sunset from a cruise

Another popular activity in Port Douglas is to take a sunset cruise and watch the sun go down over the water.

There are plenty of companies offering cruises, and you can choose from a variety of different options, such as a dinner cruise, cocktail cruise or even a private charter.

Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the incredible views and maybe even spot a few dolphins or turtles.

8. Snorkel the Low Isles

The Low Isles are two small coral cays located 15 kilometres off the coast of Port Douglas, and they are a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving.

The Low Isles are made up of a four acre coral cay surrounded by 55 acres of reef. The reef is located very close to the island which makes it a fabulous snorkelling experience.

The larger of the two islands, Woody Island, is uninhabited with the exception of a large bird colony. This habitat is extremely important for many bird species.

With an hour’s sailing time this idyllic location is perfect for half or full day snorkelling experiences.

9. Do some window shopping on Macrossan Street

Macrossan Street is the main street in Port Douglas, and it’s full of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.

Even if you’re not planning on spending any money, it’s still enjoyable to wander around and do some window shopping.

There are plenty of places to stop for a coffee or bite to eat, so you can easily wile  away an hour or two simply strolling along Macrossan Street.

10. Drive the Great Barrier Reef Drive

The road trip from Cairns to Cape Tribulation, also known as the Great Barrier Reef Drive is one of the most beautiful drives in Australia.

Port Douglas is the first stop on the road trip and a great place to start the drive.

Offering stunning views of the coast from places like Rex Lookout and beautiful beaches such as Palm Cove, you will be spoilt for deserted beaches and picnic spots as you spend the day winding along the coast to one of the most northern parts of Australia.

11. Day Trip to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation

cape tribulation

The Daintree National Park and Cape Tribulation are two of the most popular places to visit in Far North Queensland, and they are both located just a short drive from Port Douglas.

The Daintree National Park is home to the oldest rainforest in the world, and it’s a great place to go hiking, bird watching or just enjoy the incredible scenery.

Cape Tribulation is where two UNESCO world heritages sites meet, the Daintree rainforest meets the Great Barrier reef, and is a popular place for snorkelling tours and enjoying the beach.

But if you don’t wish to come face to face with a croc you’re advised to stay out of the water at the rivers and the beaches.

There are plenty of companies that offer day trips to both of these destinations, so you can easily explore them both in one day.

12. Go chasing waterfalls

There are plenty of waterfalls to explore in the Port Douglas area, and they are all easily accessible via a short hike from the carpark.

Some of the most popular waterfalls include Mossman Gorge, Josephine Falls and Mowbray Falls.

If you are short on time, the Cairns Waterfall Circuit will see you cover three of the most popular waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands.

13. Visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is a great day out for the whole family, and it’s one of the most popular things to do in Port Douglas.

Here you can learn all about these fascinating creatures, including how they live and what they eat.

You can also take a cruise on the lagoon to try and spot some of the resident crocs, or even hold a baby crocodile!

There are also plenty of other animals to see at Hartley’s, such as koalas, cassowaries, snakes and lizards, so it’s a great opportunity to learn about the local wildlife.

Make sure to catch the snake show for some practical advice on what to do if you happen to be bitten by an unfriendly Aussie.

14. Sail high above the Atherton Tablelands in a hot air balloon

If you are looking for an unforgettable experience, why not sail high above the Atherton Tablelands in a hot air balloon?

You’ll get to see some stunning scenery as you float gently over the landscape, and if you’re lucky you might even spot some of the local wildlife.

This is definitely an activity that is best enjoyed at sunrise, so make sure you set your alarm clock!

15. Take the Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway

If you are looking to explore a little further afield from Port Douglas a popular activity is to take a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

This historic train journey takes you through some stunning scenery, including rainforest, waterfalls and ravines, including Baron Falls.

There are plenty of stops along the way where you can disembark and explore, and it’s a great way to see some of the more remote parts of Far North Queensland.

For a truly luxurious experience, upgrade your ticket to first class and enjoy a glass (or two) of champagne as the train winds its way up to Kuranda.

When you reach your destination of Kuranda, there are plenty of boutique shops and restaurants to keep you entertained for the day before heading back to Cairns on the Sky Rail where you can take in bird’s eye views of the rainforest.

16. Take a boat and snorkel on the outer reef

One of the most famous things to do in Port Douglas and, one of the main reasons people travel to the area is to take a day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.

There are plenty of operators offering tours from Port Douglas, and you can choose from a snorkeling tour, diving tour or even a glass bottom boat tour.

17. Cool off at Mossman Gorge

For a taste of the rainforest, head to Mossman Gorge which is just a short drive from Port Douglas.

Here you can take a refreshing swim in clear rock pools, go for a walk through the lush vegetation or join a guided tour.

FAQs: The best attractions in Port Douglas

How do I spend a day in Port Douglas?

There’s plenty to do in Port Douglas to keep you busy for a day!

Walk along 4-mile beach, take a cruise down the river, hike the Flagstaff Hill Trail or get a little more adventurous and snorkel the Low Isles or visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures.

Is it better to go to Cairns or Port Douglas?

Both Cairns and Port Douglas offer a great base to explore the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree National Park. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a holiday.

If you want to be based in a town with more of a relaxed vibe, then Port Douglas is your best bet. However, if you’re after more of a city feel, then Cairns is the place to be.

How many days do you need in Port Douglas?

You could easily spend a week in Port Douglas and still not see everything the town has to offer! However, if you’re short on time, 3-4 days is enough to get a taste of what the town has to offer.

Wrap Up: The best things to do in Port Douglas

If you’re looking for a tropical getaway with plenty to do, Port Douglas is the place for you.

From world-renowned diving and snorkelling spots to rainforest hikes and wildlife spotting, this little town has something for everyone.

Don’t miss out on all that Port Douglas has to offer; start planning your trip today!

Author Bio

Fiona is an Australian Travel Blogger at Travelling Thirties. Fiona has volunteered in Thailand, lived in Scotland, jumped off cliffs in New Zealand, slept in treehouses and igloos in Finland and everything in between as she has spent the last ten years exploring the world. I can’t wait to show you the world.

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