Holiday postcards: Port Douglas
“Signs you need a break” said the article. As I ticked off nearly every point I realised it was time to take some time out, so what’s a girl to do but jump on a plane and head to one of her favourite Australian destinations.
Port Douglas in Queensland’s far north is an oasis for the worn out and weary. With its tropical climate (basically warm or hot), laidback vibe and eclectic mix of shopping, art and great food this is exactly the prescription I needed.
The town is located an hour’s drive from Cairns – a fabulous drive I might add – and as we make our way north I feel the tension start to release with every wind and turn in the coastal road.
Things to do:
1. Join the crowd and hit Four Mile Beach for a morning walk.
While it’s tempting to simply spend your days horizontal by the resort pool – and I’ve certainly been guilty of this – a little exercise in the mix is a great energy booster and certainly a great excuse for that extra cocktail or dessert later in the day.
Four Mile beach is actually a 4km (go figure?) stretch of beach that starts next to the town centre and runs south.
A word of warning however – no matter how inviting the water looks make sure you stick only to the netted swimming areas. The Irukandji jelly fish that inhabit the water in North Queensland are mean little fellas – so stay well away.
2. Cool off at Mossman Gorge
When it’s really hot even the resort pools don’t seem to be cool enough.
A 15 minute drive north from Port Douglas you’ll find Mossman Gorge in the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park. Park at the visitors centre (managed by the Kuku Yalanji people, the area’s traditional landowners) and take the bus up to Gorge where crystal clear ‘fresh’ (cooooold) water flows around huge granite boulders. A dip here is guaranteed to cool you down!
3. Shop up a storm at the Sunday Markets
The Port Douglas markets take place every Sunday between 8am and 1pm in Anzac Park at the far end of the main street. You’ll find jewellery, art, local fruit and veg, homemade cakes and souvenirs. Let’s face it, every getaway needs at least a little retail therapy 😉
4. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
25 mins south of Port Douglas, this family run wildlife park and farm is certainly worth a visit. The boat cruise on the lagoon is definitely the highlight.
Places to eat:
1. Salsa Bar & Grill
A must do! Delicious cocktails and seriously impressive food, all set in a charming Queenslander building.
2. The Beach Shack
Located in a back street this restaurant can be a little hard to find – but it’s certainly worth doing so. The vibe is relaxed (think sand floor) and the food is impressive.
3. The Tin Shed
While there are a lot of impressive restaurants in Port Douglas surprisingly none of them have water views. For casual dining with a view head to The Combined Clubs, or The Tin Shed as it is known. The food is pub style and the views are stunning, proving you don’t always need to spend up for the best meals.
Where to stay:
There are so many great places to stay in Port Douglas, but we’d heard there was a new kid on the block so decide to give it a try.
QT Port Douglas
is located on the main road into town. The clever people behind this brand have taken a non-traditional approach and have created a resort that is fun, cool and definitely quirky!
Our days start with a tantalising mix of treats at the market-place style Bazaar Restaurant – this is a fresh new take on the traditional buffet breakfast.
The town centre is a couple of minutes drive away. Options to get there include the town shuttle bus which comes by every 15 minutes, or take one of the hotel bikes which are free to hire – even these are cool!