Port Douglas, Queensland
December 30, 2017 - January 4, 2018
* 4 mile beach
* Trinity Bay Lookout
* The Mexican. Pork belly tacos. Pork Belly, Tropical Banana Glaze + Pepitas + Crema + Lemon O.M.G.
* Macrossan Street (the place to go to eat and shop)
* Douglas Sunday Market
* Mossman Gorge
* Cape Tribulation
* Outback Tasting Tour!!
* Flame of the Forest
* Sail to Low Isle
* No swimming in the beaches in December. Happens to be salt water crocodile mating season.
* The crocodiles are really dangerous and can rush out from the ocean. No walking on beaches at night. Period.
* Killer jelly fish
* December is summer in Australia and it gets very HOT in Queensland, temps range from 23.6 - 31.4°C (74.5 - 88.5°F)
* After having the fear being killed by a crocodile driven into my brain, I was disappointed I never saw a crocodile!
Over Christmas 2017, I had a friend from MN visit me. We had a really ambitious itinerary, but I'm glad we did! Every day was action packed. I think we over estimated all the driving in the first leg of the trip, it was too much and most of the scenery BUT we did see some really cool things we would not have seen if we flew.
When it came time for the Great Barrier Reef portion of our trip I have to say, I preferred Port Douglas to Cairns. I found it a lot easier to get around, everything was close by, lots of activity. Next time I'm in that area however, I'll likely stay at Palm Cove! Palm cove is a great hidden little beach area with a strip of restaurants, shops and activities which is between Port Douglas and Cairns.
Now our activities in Port Douglas, kept us busy. Our first day was a full day out at Low Isle snorkeling and a bit of hiking and touring in a glass bottom boat. Lots of food, lots of sun. Really nice day trip. We went on Wave Dancer, which was an big sail boat, but not as big as some of the other vessels that were touring the area.
The next day was New Years Day, we had booked a crocodile tour, on the Lady Douglas. There were only a few people on the boat which was nice. We didn't see any crocs, but being out on the water and zooming through the channels was nice. It was so HOT. We just wanted to be in the water, which is not an option. We heard Mossman Gorge had a swimming hole and decided to go check it out. SO GLAD WE DID. Loved this park, there are some hike's nothing crazy. The temperature in the rain forest was nothing like the Port Douglas, it was several degrees cooler and absolutely lovely. There were signs everywhere noting the danger level was red in the water because of recent rains and to enter the water at your own risk. But every Australian on the East Coast must have been at Mossman that day and in the water. It was packed. It was lovely and the perfect way to end a hot day after a pleasant hike.
After getting the hiking bug from such a great experience at Mossman, we decided to day trip up to Cape Tribulation the next morning. It's about a two hour drive. We stopped at the Daintree Ice Cream Company , a scenic little ice cream shop that has it's own fruit orchards on site and makes fresh ice cream daily. Ice creams was served in a 4-scoop cup so that you get to sample 4 flavors of the day. They don't serve standard flavors as their focus is the world of weird and exotic fruits. So be prepared to try some black sapote ice cream or even the roasted wattleseed (which was delicious by the way!).
To get to Cape Tribulation you do need to take a small ferry - and I mean SMALL. It's $25, which gets you a return ticket as well. The road up Cape Tribulation is a sealed road and the trip is very easy. Along the way are a number of look out points and very small quick hikes. All of then are lovely and peaceful. Some even are on raised wooden platforms. We thought it would be fun to do a stand up paddle boarding tour while we were there, but when we called, we were informed they no longer are running due to the crocodiles. Freaking crocs, ruining everything fun. Anyway, instead, we found our way to a cute little fish and chips shack, which was adjacent a path that lead out to a giant gorgeous beach. We took a leisurely walk and enjoyed the peacefulness. It's quite exhilarating to walk from the cool fresh, damp rainforest, on to a pristine wide open sandy beach. A lot to take in, makes you stop and appreciate this crazy world we live in.
On the way back from Cape Tribulation we stopped at another known swimming hole, this one is on private property and donations are optional. This watering hole was behind a famous cafe called Masons. They are known for their exotic meats and you are encouraged to pick your animal for your meal: wild boar, emu, crocodile or kangaroo. Since we just had stopped at the fish and chips place we didn't get a chance to try these but they sure sounded interesting, I think I could have been down for some wild boar burgers had I known they existed. The swimming hole itself was quite small, nice and cool. LOTS of curious fish. People were feeding them fruits and they were swarming everywhere. Really quite cool!
The last day in Port Douglas we found our way down to the one location in town where you can swim. It's cordoned off to protect everyone from crocs and stingers. There are lifeguards on duty and it's quite safe. It was nice after all our busy days to have a nice leisurely day to relax, lay in the sun and float in the water. Sometimes you need those too and trips!
Our crazy itinerary:
Day 1, 12/24 Arrived in Melbourne
Day 2, 12/25 Christmas, we drove to the 12 Apostles (do not do this, there were so many people we could not even enjoy it.)
Day 3, 12/26 drove to Port Lincoln.
Day 4, 12/27 SHARK DIVING! We caged dove with Great White Sharks!
Day 5, 12/28 drove to Kimba and stayed in Stone Hut
Day 6 ,12/29 drove to Adelaide and stayed overnight
Day 7, 12/30 flew to Cairns, drove to Port Douglas (great drive, stopped at a resort with the most amazing views for lunch)
Day 8, 12/31 sailed to Low Isle went snorkeling and spend NYE at Iron Bar with a live band playing some old, fun hits
Day 9, 1/1 hung over (do NOT recommend) did a crocodile tour on the Lady Douglas, saw no crocs because it was too HOT! Went hiking in Mossman Gorge.
Day 10, 1/2 drove to Cape Tribulation
Day 11, 1/3 spent the day in Port Douglas relaxing and swimming
Day 12, 1/4 drove to Cairns, and went to the Flames of the Forest dining experience
Day 13, 1/4 Outback Tasting Tour
Day 14, 1/5 spent the day at the Lagoon and as luck should have it a band was playing in the park
Day 15, 1/6 took the train to Kuranda the day there, took the skyrail back
Day 16, 1/7 Whitewater rafting on the Barron River
Day 17, 1/8 went to Palm Cove, stand up paddle boarding
* Have a beer at Hemingway's
* Outback Tasting Tours
* Flame of the Forest dining experience
* Go to Macrossan Street (food and shopping galore)
* Day trip to Cape Tribulation and on the way have ice cream at the Daintree Ice Cream Company
* Mossman Gorge - go, go, go - hike (easy hike) and then go swimming!
10 Port Douglas Blogs:
- 17 of the BEST things to do in Port Douglas, Australia
- Complete Guide to What to do in Port Douglas Australia
- Tips for a weekend in Port Douglas
- Guide to Eating Out in Port Douglas
- 18 reasons to love Port Douglas
- 72 HOURS IN PORT DOUGLAS
- Visiting Port Douglas? Start Here.
- ROAD TRIP FROM PORT DOUGLAS TO CAPE TRIBULATION IN THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST
- Live like a local in Cairns and Port Douglas
- Port Douglas or Cairns? Where to stay if you want to visit the Great Barrier Reef