Top 10 Attractions
Discover the Great Barrier Reef and Port Douglas through our selection of the very best Things to Do and See for visitors and locals. The standout attractions in the area are the Reef and the world heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, both of which are must-see and experience icons. The lively village of Port Douglas is a focal point for accommodation, hospitality and access to the Reef and Rainforest. Most of the significant Reef experiences and adventures can be undertaken from the Marina, and the town is a key staging point for road tours to the Daintree, nearby Mossman Gorge and the hinterland. Port Douglas has a laid-back style and typical Aussie culture that can be experienced through its local bars, eateries, accommodation and markets and virtually offers something for all types of visitors, including families.
Check out the following Top 10 Attractions in and around the town and nearby region.
- Explore Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: Find an opportunity to explore this world heritage-listed world wonder from the starting point of Port Douglas, the source of a plethora of exciting trips and activities that can maximise your up-close-and-personal experience of colourful reef formations in crystal clear Coral Sea waters. Consider snorkelling, diving, staying overnight, or doing a day-tour to the islands. Or simply just swim with the unique schools of fish between coral reef outcrops in this amazing marine aquarium. In its entirety, the GBR has around 3,000 reef and coral cays, more than 1,500 fish species, 400 types of coral and some of the world’s best tropical islands.
- Visit Daintree Rainforest: The Daintree is the largest continuous area of tropical rainforest on the mainland. Take the chance to walk between towering trees, swim under waterfalls, check wildlife with expert indigenous guides, or take a river cruise among the crocs and mangroves. It is a ‘must-do’ activity when visiting the region because, as part of the world heritage-listed Wet Tropics, it preserves significant stages of the earth’s evolutionary history and offers a unique discovery experience. Less than an hour drive to the north, it is conveniently accessible from Port Douglas.
- Walk Four Mile Beach: A beautiful strip of sand lapped by crystal clear water is the ideal place for a peaceful stroll and the iconic Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas is the perfect location. Take a drive up to Flagstaff Hill Lookout to appreciate its magnificent curving vista framed by swaying palms and then head downtown to walk it, swim in the shallows or do some kitesurfing.
- Tour Macrossan Street: The beating pulse of Port Douglas can be found in Macrossan Street, the retail, dining and tour booking heart of the village. Follow it down to the waterfront past art galleries, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, pubs and boutiques, marvelling at its eclectic buildings, easy style and friendly people.
- Enjoy the Sunday Market: Visitors are guaranteed full immersion into local culture and hospitality at these weekly markets on Wharf Street where it is possible to mingle and chat with the vendors of art and craft, fresh produce, souvenirs, clothing and jewellery. They are held near the St. Mary’s by the Sea chapel which dates to 1880.
- Slip off to Cape Tribulation: Cape Tribulation is the meeting point of the turquoise sea hosting the Great Barrier Reef and the green jungle of the Daintree Rainforest. It’s a 45-minute drive from Port Douglas and includes spectacular wilderness that is a feast for photographers and nature lovers in its uniqueness as a merging point for these two heritage-listed sites. On the scenic drive north, stop at Mount Alexandra Lookout breath-taking views over the Daintree River mouth and nearby islands. Thrill-seekers can access activities such as ziplining, snorkelling, diving, horseback riding, bungee jumping, and kayaking.
- Visit Wildlife Habitat: A staple feature on the road into Port Douglas, this family-friendly sanctuary is home to koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, colourful Australian birds, pythons and the occasional cassowary. Visitors can breakfast or picnic ‘in the wild’ as unusual native species fly around the enclosure. After dark, a guided tour encounters wallabies and spies on possums, owls and gliders. Selfies with koalas are encouraged.
- Escape to Mossman Gorge: The Gorge is part of the Daintree National Park and is an easy half-day trip from Port Douglas. It features the Mossman River cascading over huge granite rocks into pools of clear water that are perfect for recreational swimming. The well-signposted rainforest trail includes an aerial walkway through the trees that are home to birds and butterflies. An interpretive centre has a cafe and art gallery and the traditional landowners, the Kuku Yalanji people, offer guided tours.
- Take a Low Isles Cruise: Book a sailing catamaran trip to a reef tour on Low Isles for a round of snorkelling off the white sand beach and the chance to see green sea turtles. Then try a glass-bottom boat tour or a semi-submersible to see the full glory of the underwater world. Full-day tours include buffet lunch and options such as a sea walker helmet dive.
- Book a Helicopter Tour of the Reef: There are several helicopter ride options out of Port Douglas that will take you to the Reef, many packaged with boat tours. Some charter boats will also book a short ride from the reef pontoon. Various scenic chopper tours fly along the coast, over the Mowbray River and back to base, landing on a pad in the heart of the town.