Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Port Douglas
The Great Barrier Reef is the Earth’s largest structure built entirely by living organisms. It runs for over 1,200 miles from its northern to southern tip, and is almost the size of the state of Montana when its various reefs are combined. One of the reefs—the Agincourt Reef—is a distant section along the reef’s northern tip where stunning biodiversity creates one of the most pristine ecosystems found anywhere along the reef.
Known as a type of “Ribbon Reef,” the Agincourt Reef runs parallel to the line with the Continental Shelf. Exotic species such as the Maori wrasse are commonly found along the reef, and sharks, rays—and even whales—can be seen when scuba diving the reef. Even for travelers who are just snorkeling, however, there are sections of the reef only a few feet below the clear, turquoise waters. Here, in the shallow lagoons, thousands of fish inhabit a reef that bursts with vibrancy and color.
Four Mile Beach is exactly that – four glorious miles of unimpeded golden sands stretching into the distance.
Lined with palms, with resorts tucked away behind the trees, this is the beach to head to in Port Douglas for safe swimming with the family or long romantic walks hand in hand.
For the best views of Four Mile Beach, make your way to the top of Flagstaff Hill Lookout, on the point at Port Douglas, and take in stunning vistas of the beach stretching off in a gentle curve to the mountains on the horizon.
The Wildlife Habitat Sanctuary gives you the chance to see Australia’s animals up-close in their own habitats. Conservation, sustainability and education are all priorities at this very special wildlife habitat.
Rainforest, wetlands, grassland and nocturnal tours set the scene for superb animal encounters, but perhaps the most popular way to meet the animals is to enjoy Breakfast with the Birds or Lunch with the Lorikeets.
The Koala Habitat is one of the most popular exhibits, with great views of the sleeping marsupials and the chance to step inside and touch and feed the koalas.
Take a behind-the-scenes wildlife tour to learn more about the sanctuary’s breeding programs, rescue center and rehabilitated animals.
In a beautiful marquee under the brilliant stars you will dine in the rainforest at Flames of the Forest.
The rainforest setting will influence both the meal and the entertainment. The meal will feature heavily produce from the surrounding area and the rainforest itself. Ingredients like banana prawns and lemon myrtle pepper the delicious and adventurous menu and fine local wines are carefully chosen to complement the meal.
The entertainment takes the form of a cultural experience where local Aboriginal men will come and share the history and their personal stories about the local area.
The sounds of the rainforest will be all around you as you indulge in one of Australia's finest gourmet and cultural experiences.
Beautiful Mossman Gorge is a special place for a swim on a hot day, with crystal-clear water tumbling over the rocks and boulders of the Mossman River.
The gorge is also popular with bushwalkers who come here to do the easy one-hour rainforest circuit walk or more strenuous treks through the national park.
The traditional owners of the gorge are the Kuku Yalanji, who offer Dreamtime walks and tours from their gallery en route to the park entrance.
The national parks center here is open on weekdays, with plenty of information about the gorge for visitors.
Low Isles is a small coral cay off the coast of Port Douglas.
Lying on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, it’s a fabulous spot for snorkeling and diving, thronged with hard and soft corals, tropical fish, reef sharks and turtles. Cruises come out to Low Isles from Port Douglas for a conveniently close taste of the reef. There are no facilities on the island, just a lighthouse, but the surrounding shallow lagoon is an idyllic place for a swim or snorkel while your cruise vessel is moored offshore.
Gorges, tumbling rivers, pristine rainforest, and rugged mountains – the Daintree Rainforest is a pristine environment with a World Heritage listing.
Stretching from the Lower Daintree south of the Daintree River, north to Cape Tribulation and beyond, the ancient rainforest is home to endemic species of birds, animals and plants.
This is the place to come horseback riding, take a crocodile spotting cruise on the river, and enjoy cultural encounters with the Aboriginal residents. Go on a 4WD safari, walk above the tree tops at the Daintree Discovery Centre, or discover the many eco-lodges offering relaxation therapy in this back-to-nature part of the world.
Along the coast, go diving on the offshore reefs, cruise the Great Barrier Reef or glide through the air on a sky tour.
The relaxed coastal town of Cooktown is a popular excursion from Port Douglas.
Captain Cook beached his ship the Endeavour here, hence the name. These days daytrippers come here to visit the intriguing James Cook Historical Museum, to pay their respects to his statue overlooking Bicentennial Park, and order up a seafood platter at a local restaurant.
Cooktown has some impressive buildings for an outback coastal town, thanks to the 1870s to 1890s gold rush at the nearby Palmer goldfields. The town’s impressive botanic gardens date from this period.
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