Rex Smeal Park

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Things to do in Port Douglas

TNQ Writer

Don’t let its flop and drop reputation fool you, there are many things to do in Port Douglas. From hunting with Traditional Owners & exploring the Great Barrier Reef, to river floats & wildlife parks. Here’s how to spend your time in Port Douglas.

Add these 8 must-dos in Port Douglas & Daintree to your list

Great Barrier Reef

Low Isles

Calypso Reef Cruises at Agincourt Reef

Quicksilver Pontoon & Wavepiercer Catamaran Agincourt Reef

Sailaway can take you to Mackay Cay

Over a dozen tour operators depart for the Great Barrier Reef daily from Port Douglas. Venture out to the outer reef to discover a vivid tapestry of corals overflowing with marine life or to the Low Isles for a relaxed island getaway just off the coast with Sailaway Port Douglas for a full day or Calypso Reef Cruises for a half day. Sailaway is also the only Port Douglas operator to journey to Mackay and Undine Cays while Calypso offers both snorkel and dive tours to the outer reef. If you’re looking to experience the reef as part of a smaller group, ABC Snorkel Charters limit group sizes to a maximum of 12 passengers. This also means they can prioritise leaving no footprint behind by meticulously managing their tours for a smaller crowd.

Dive into the deep blue with Blue Dive! From vibrant coral reefs to mysterious shipwrecks, Blue Dive takes you on unforgettable adventures beneath the waves. With experienced guides, top-notch equipment, and a passion for marine conservation, you’ll be diving in style while discovering the hidden treasures of the ocean. 

Looking for a nautical adventure on a historic beauty? Look no further than The Shaolin! This charming vessel is a true masterpiece that guarantees a one-of-a-kind sailing experience to the Lowe Isles. Get ready to set sail and immerse yourself in the magic of The Shaolin!

Quicksilver Cruises’ Wave-piercer Catamaran is a smooth ride to the outer reef – perfect for landlubbers who get seasick. At the Agincourt Reef pontoon, partake in a range of activities including scuba diving, snorkelling, helmet diving, glass-bottom boats and visiting the underwater observatory. More interested in the snorkelling? Join Wavelength cruises where they have 18 exclusive use moorings which have been selected exclusively for the requirements of snorkellers. 



Mossman Gorge

Cassowary spotting on the beaches and in the rainforest of the Daintree National Park

Two World Heritage Areas meet at Cape Tribulation

Treetops Adventure Cape Tribulation

Just north of Port Douglas, you’ll find the most famed area of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, the Daintree Rainforest. You’ll find the crystal-clear waters of Mossman Gorge a short 20 minutes drive from Port Douglas. Be welcomed to country with a traditional smoking ceremony and discover the culture and traditions of the Kuku Yalanji Traditional Custodians on a guided Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk that meanders through the rainforest surrounding Mossman Gorge. 

To head further into the depths of the Daintree, jump aboard a day tour from Port Douglas with Daintree Tours or Jungle Tours & Trekking. These explore highlights of Daintree and Cape Tribulation including Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation Beach, Mount Alexandra Lookout and croc spotting tours; all the while keeping an eye out for the elusive dinosaur-like bird, the Southern Cassowary

Want a  bird’s eye view? The Daintree Discovery Centre offers an immersive experience of the forest floor to the canopy. Climb the 23-metre-high Canopy Tower for stunning  views and a chance to spot the diverse wildlife. Up for a thrill? Join Treetops Adventure in Cape Tribulation for a 2 hour zip line tour where you’ll be 15 metres above ground. With knowledgeable guides, learn about the unique flora and fauna of this UNESCO World Heritage site while having a blast. So buckle up, unleash your inner Tarzan or Jane and zip line through the rainforest!

Visit Janbal Aboriginal Art Gallery in Mossman, Kuku Yalanji country to learn about the art and culture through hands-on painting and storytelling experiences. Join co-owner and local Aboriginal artist, Brian “Binna” Swindley, for painting classes and workshops  Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.


River Drift Snorkelling

The Cathedral

Relaxing float

Exciting float

Relaxation has taken on a new soundtrack drifting down the Mossman River with a chorus of birdsong, the gentle babble of the river and soft hum of cicadas filling the air. You’re on a raft floating down translucent water which gains its only colour from the reflection of nature’s cathedral – the rainforest canopy above. Dive below the surface, where you can explore the underwater world with a mask and snorkel to spot turtles and over 33 species of fish. 

Tip: The experience of river drift can vary based on the water levels, sometimes it is fast and exciting, other times slow and relaxing – both are equally captivating.


Walkabout Cultural Adventures

Go hunting for mud crabs

The fruits of the hunt will be cooked up for you on the tour

Learning about ochres

Guided rainforest walk

Long before Port Douglas was a lazy flop and drop town, it was home to the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal People. Their relationship with the land and sea dates back tens-of-thousands of years and local Aboriginal guides can show you through their country on an intimate guided tour. Full or half-day tours venture into coastal and rainforest environments where you can learn about history, culture and traditions whilst sampling bush tucker and testing your spear and boomerang throwing prowess. 

Get lucky: You might catch a mud crab or some seafood which is cooked by your guide for you to enjoy whilst on the tour.

Hook- A-Barra


Get hooked on a good time with Hook-a-Barra! Enjoy an hour of catch and release Barra fishing, complete with all the gear, bait, and expert tuition you need. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, Hook-a-Barra has tackle options for everyone, including fly-fishing for the pros. And even if you’re not into fishing, non-fishing guests with general admission can still enjoy the facilities, picnic area, and viewing tanks. It’s an experience that’s suitable for all ages and abilities, so come join the fun!

Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

Hartley’s Lagoon cruise

Croc feeding demonstration

Crocodile farm tours

Having existed for 200 million years, it should come as no surprise that crocodiles are as fascinating as they are fearsome. At Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures you’ll be as educated as you are entertained as you wander through the park at your own leisure, pausing for a number of wildlife demonstrations including the “Big Croc Feed” where you can personally participate. No trip to Hartley’s is complete without a cruise on Hartley’s Lagoon to observe crocodiles in their natural ecosystem of the coastal melaleuca wetland.

While you may think the park is dominated by the ancient reptile giants, visitors can learn about and interact with an array of other unique Australian wildlife within the Cassowary Walk precinct, Tropical Walk Through Aviary or the Gondwana Gateway that take guests on a journey through the evolution of some of Australia’s most intriguing flora and fauna.

Tip: Plan to dine in at Lilies Restaurant overlooking Hartley’s Lagoon where the menu features their reptile namesake.

Wildlife Habitat

Fancy breakfast with the birds? Lunch with the Lorikeets? Or perhaps you would prefer to cuddle a koala and pat a kangaroo? At Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, you can explore five distinct habitats including the Nocturnal Habitat, where special lighting reverses nocturnal animals’ sleeping patterns so that visitors are able to witness Striped Possums, Bettongs, Mahogany Gliders and more at their most active during the day.

Other areas replicate woodland, wetlands, rainforest and savannah environments with a vast array of bird, mammal and reptile species to discover. Test your courage and swim with the salties and snorkel eye to eye with a giant saltwater crocodile separated by only a glass panel.

Tip: Join a tour or presentation to learn more about the animals and watch them feed.

Dine & sip with a view

Hemingway's Brewery Port Douglas

Osprey's Restaurant, Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Aluco, Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple & Spa

Naturally, when on holiday you’re after the restaurants with the best views. At Thala Beach Nature Reserve’s Osprey’s Restaurant, dine amongst the treetops with unparalleled views over the coral sea. Here you can taste the flavours of Tropical North Queensland with a focus on seasonal local produce. 

Along Dickson Inlet, you’ll find The Tin Shed, a veteran restaurant of Port Douglas with a history dating back as far as 1877. While the building has since been through many iterations, it’s still an old favourite for locals and tourists and features views over the mangroves and to the mountains of the Daintree. Meander up to Hemingways Brewery at Crystalbrook Marlin Marina, for a great selection of locally brewed beers and a casual bite to eat. 

Dine around two of Port Douglas’ most famous pools at multi-award-winning Harrison’s By Spencer Patrick at Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort or Aluco at Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple & Spa celebrating Tropical North Queensland produce.

Looking for a bit of zest? Choo Choos is the ultimate celebration of fresh, tropical flavours in a menu that’s sure to tantalise taste buds. Nestled at the end of the Crystalbrook Super yacht Marina and alongside the historic Bally Hooley rail station, this eatery boasts one of the most breathtaking dining views in all of Port Douglas! A perfect spot to relax with friends, and hey, furry pals are welcome too!

The award-winning Devil’s Thumb distillery is surrounded by lush cane fields, and boasts a majestic view of the pristine Daintree Rainforest and the iconic Devil’s Thumb peak. This craft distillery is a haven for those who appreciate handcrafted spirits with a punch of flavour. Let the tasting be-gin!

Sunset Sail

Sailaway Sunset Sail

Sunset Sail

With the tune of Enya’s Orinoco Flow playing in your head, hop aboard Sailaway’s Luxury Sunset Sail. Relax and unwind as you set sail around the coast of Port Douglas, watching the sun fade behind the mountains of the Daintree Rainforest. You’ll be welcomed aboard with a complimentary drink and a selection of hot and cold canapes. 

Want a whole two hours to bask in the glorious sunset vibes? Then the Indigo 2 is for you. And guess what? They’re the only ones who let you bring your own drinks! Cheers to that! With a cozy capacity of just 12 guests,  Indigo 2 ensures a Port Douglas sunset cruise that’s all about you. Get ready to sip, sail, and soak up the sights!

Market hop

Pick up a bite to eat at Port Douglas Markets

Mossman Markets

Fresh coconuts at Port Douglas Markets

Beneath an avenue of raintrees more befitting to a Game of Thrones location, each Saturday morning in Mossman you’ll find an array of stalls stocking locally grown produce, handmade goods and food. On Sundays, the famous Port Douglas Markets overtakes the Port Douglas waterfront at ANZAC Park. Whether you’re a window shopper, after some mementoes from your Port Douglas getaway, or are in it just for the food, you’ll love the laidback vibes of these markets. 

Tip: Don’t forget to bring a hat and wear sunscreen.
Details: Mossman Markets – Saturday 7am-1pm, Port Douglas Markets – Sunday 8.30am-1:30pm

Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail

Flagstaff Hill Lookout

Four Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hill

Rex Smeal Park Port Douglas

Flagstaff Hill sign at Little Cove

Linking Four Mile Beach to Rex Smeal Park and Little Cove, the 1.3km walking trail of Flagstaff Hill is an easy and spectacular way for you to get the body moving after your holiday indulgence. You’ll be greeted with views over the Coral Sea, to the Low Isles and Snapper Island, and the golden sands of Four Mile Beach. 

Tip: Wear walking shoes. While the trail is graded easy, it does get steep in parts and good shoes are welcomed.


Learn to kitesurf

River Magic stand-up paddle

With the Coral Sea just a stone’s throw away and rainforest streams nearby, no trip to Port Douglas is complete without hitting the water. Windswell offers an array of aquatic options, raging from wild to mild. Those looking for an adrenaline fix can try foilboarding, wakeboarding or tube riding. You can even embark on a kiteboarding “crash course” over a series of three lessons on the aptly named Zero to Hero Package. Not feeling the need for speed? Turn down the tempo and opt for stand up paddle boarding. With a Daintree Rainforest stream, Low Isles, Snapper Island and Four Mile Beach to choose from, all you need to do is pick your paradise.

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