Hi everyone! I really want to tell you a little about this place as it is a really beautiful spot in Australia and I am so glad I got to experience here with my parents. We were here last month for the main reason being to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef 🐠.
Port Douglas is a small town on the Coral Sea in the tropical far north of Queensland, Australia. It is famous for its beach resorts and provides a good base for visits to both the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system, and Daintree National Park, home to an amazing rainforest and Mosman Gorge. The main street in Port Douglas has many little boutique shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. It is a quaint little place with lots of character and summer feels. The people here, from what we had seen, were extremely friendly and hospitable.
We took a flight from Sydney to Cairns. From there we hired a car and drove to Port Douglas. It is only about an hour away by car from Cairns and the journey is spectacular. It is very much a coastal drive with amazing ocean views. You will find yourself wanting to stop, take in the views and capture a few photographs (seems to be the norm).
There are tons of roundabouts on the way to Port Douglas but it’s more or less straight the whole way and there are sign posts everywhere. Google maps is also helpful for when you arrive in the small town in order to find your place to stay.
We decided to stay in an Air BnB that we had found using the app. It was a fantastic 2 bedroom tropical town house. It couldn’t have been better and was located perfectly, only a short walk into the town. The hosts were easy to contact and very accommodating. I would definitely stay again and use the Air BnB app again. Having your own pool is a real bonus, considering the humidity in tropical North Queensland 😅.
So asides from chilling out, checking out the town for shopping and exploring, dining out and having some sociables, the 2 main things we wanted to do in Port Douglas were snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef and visiting the rainforest.
For snorkelling we went with the company Low Isles Sailaway. You find details of their tours Here. The team were amazing, very friendly and knowledgeable. The boat itself was pretty cool and lots of room onboard.
They provided you with tea and coffee on arrival, a hot buffet lunch, snorkelling equipment and tour (2 tours in water and an island tour) and a glass bottom boat option if you prefer not to snorkel for a second time. I wanted a company that offered smaller tours in order to have more interaction and gain a better insight of the reef. I think this could have been the case had there not been so many kids or parents who hand over their responsibilities of the kids to the skippers🙊🤦🏼♂️.
The reef itself is exciting to see and explore, however, it isn’t all that you would expect it to be. Yes there is coral and yes there are fish. We didn’t see any coral bleaching that seems to be a hot topic at the moment but rather the coral was dull and nowhere near as colourful as you see on Finding Nemo. The main reason for this is that under the sea is not like a Disney movie. It doesn’t appear as colourful as the glossy magazines would show either. I think this is the reality that things often don’t appear as they seem. I compare this to the time we were on the Amalfi Coast. The buildings there were amazing but nowhere near as colourful as photography would have shown. I guess photos and videos can be edited to show more colour. That isn’t to say that you wouldn’t see more colourful and lively reef elsewhere. It just wasn’t the case for us. We did, however, manage to see a few turtles and swim in their vicinity. That was awesome 🐢. Being underwater, the boat, blue skies, the wildlife, the ocean, all make the trip to the reef so worth while and I’m stoked we were able to glimpse part of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Daintree Rainforest is something we also wanted to see, being the oldest rainforest on the planet and largest tropical rainforest in Australia. Not too far from Port Douglas you can enter Daintree National Park. It provides access to the rainforest, tour guides, buses to the rainforest and access to Mosman Gorge.
We decided to do our own thing and opted for one of the shorter walks through the forest. Even at that, it seemed like a long enough trek. Some the views were really outstanding and it was an exciting experience to be walking in the middle of an actual rainforest 🤣.
At times when you find yourself alone with no people about, it can be fairly daunting. You wonder if you’re continuing on the right path and pray there are no dangerous animals or creepy crawlies in your midst 🙈. It is tropical so prepare to get sweaty. The best way to cool down is to take a dip at Mosman Gorge. The water is so refreshing and provides a great location to swim in the wild but remain in safe waters. To be honest, for us, this was the highlight of the rainforest.
For more information about the gorge and rainforest click here. It is definitely worth a visit when and if you ever head to North Queensland.
Overall this was a great trip and we can now say we have seen the Great Barrier Reef and been to the Daintree Rainforest. Something else checked off the bucket list ✅.
Thanks for reading!!