There is a wealth of world-class attractions, events and things to do and see in Port Douglas region north of Cairns. It’s a thriving local and tourism community with a unique depth of arts and culture, weekend markets, live music and entertainment, food and wine, sporting and lifestyle festivals. Check out the highlights and book your Great Barrier Reef holiday to coincide with an ideal event or festival.
June – August: Whale Watching is popular as the winter humpback, and dwarf Minke whale annual migrations offer sensational viewing experiences and the chance to swim alongside them.
December – April: The Wet “Green” Season brings the waters and rainforests to life. It’s a magical time to visit the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef as the sunny days, and lush greenery creates picture-postcard backdrops. Fewer crowds and amazing deals on tours and accommodation make it pretty unique, too!
September – December: Famous for black marlin game fishing, the warm waters stretching from Cairns to Lizard Island are a delight for marine-life enthusiasts. From September through to late December, the giant female black marlin arrives to spawn along this stretch of the Great Barrier Reef.
November – December: Time for the fantastic annual spectacle of coral spawning, critical to the health of the reef ecosystem.
There’s a carefree, fun mood generated at the local markets in Port Douglas region. It stems largely from the friendly attitude of stallholders, the fresh and locally grown produce they sell to tourists and locals, and the fantastic range of creative arts and crafts on offer. There are two weekly markets in Port Douglas and one on the highway further north in the sugar-growing heart of the region at Mossman.
The ‘must-see’ market is held every Sunday morning in Port Douglas on Rex Smeal Park at the end of Macrossan Street. Located on the waterfront in the Anzac Park precinct overlooking the Coral Sea, ocean breezes keep it fresh, the palm trees offer shade, and the carnival spirit is infectious as visitors and locals stroll through the many stalls.
Exotic fruit and veg, books, coffee, arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing, can be purchased at reasonable prices. Bartering is possible and suits the good-natured style of the cheery stallholders. Most of the operators make their products, so they are proud and passionate about ensuring you are buying top quality.
The other Port Douglas market operates mid-week at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina on Wharf Street. It’s open from 11 am to 5 pm and overlooks the enticing Dickson Inlet where a range of reef and other tours depart and where cruise ship passengers disembark. The stalls feature a variety of purely local goods that suit the needs of all types of shoppers and live music keeps the holiday energy pumping.
Local organic produce, handcrafted items, homemade cakes and jams, essential oils, plants and veggies are offered at the Saturday morning Mossman Markets under the huge Raintrees in Foxton Avenue. Get there at 7 am for the opening and snag a breakfast snack before snooping through the latest goods on sale before the hordes arrive. It’s a relaxed country market with many stalls and is situated next to historic St David’s Church. Visitors claim the local produce is presented with ‘tender loving care’ by friendly people who love to talk to tourists.