Exploring Port Douglas in Queensland’s tropical north

Tropical far north Queensland is the region in Australia that runs alongside the Great Barrier Reef.
This is a magical part of the world and well worth planning a visit. In this article we take a look at
some of the key highlights.

Getting there

The easiest way to get to the tropical far north Queensland area is to fly into Cairns which accepts
some international flights as well as domestic flights from across Australia.
There’s not much reason to really spend any time in Cairns, but you should plan to pick up a hire
car from the airport as it is the easiest way to get around in this part of the world.
From the airport you’ll be heading north along the Captain Cook Highway. This is an incredibly
picturesque drive, hugging the cliffs it is difficult to concentrate on the driving while looking out
across the bright blue ocean.

Where to stay

As you travel along towards Port Douglas there are a couple of different options where you could
spend your holidays if you wanted something different to what Port Douglas offers.
Trinity Beach is the first community that you will come to and this is a popular spot for families to
holiday. A lot of the accommodation here is self-contained units or apartments, most equipped with
swimming pools. There are a couple of good restaurants and a supermarket here too – it has a very
relaxed pace which is ideal for a tropical holiday.
Next stop along the Captain Cook Highway is Palm Cove. This is slightly more upmarket than
Trinity Beach, more restaurants and cafes to choose from and a great mix of accommodation to
suit all needs – from luxury self-contained apartments to hotels of every standard.
There are also a couple of private resorts with beach access – Turtle Cove is marketed towards the
gay and lesbian market, whereas as Thala Beach Lodge offers luxury cabins nestled in the forest
which are perfect if you are looking for a romantic getaway.
Port Douglas itself is a bustling town that offers accommodation in all shapes and sizes so you are
bound to be able to find something that fits your budget.

What to do

There is an extraordinary range of things to do in this area. The obvious one is to get out on to the
Great Barrier Reef to experience it either by snorkelling or scuba diving. The Daintree Rainforest is
also right on your doorstep and there are a number of tour operators that can take you into the
heart of the rainforest. You need to be a bit careful when you are swimming off the beaches in this
area – crocodiles are a real threat and for many months of the year there are jellyfish or marine
stingers floating in the water. It’s generally safe to swim in the winter months but make sure that
your accommodation has a swimming pool as this will be a more relaxing way to keep cool.

Photo Credit: Birgit Juel Martinsen under Creative Commons license.

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