Oh, Tropical North Queensland, you have my heart. Here’s my advice for how to spend 3 days in beautiful Port Douglas, based on what we got up to during our visit.
Day 1: Arrive at Cairns Airport and take the 1 hour, very scenic shuttle to your accommodation in PD. Explore and taste your way through Macrossan Street, the main street in Port Douglas. Step back in time and experience a true Aussie pub.
We stayed at the Sheraton Mirage. I recommend booking your shuttle in advance. I used this website and was very happy with the service. Our favorite spots on Macrossan Street were Ironbar and Court House Hotel. We also liked the happy hours at Paddy’s Irish Pub and Rustle & Hum Backpacker’s. A few of the pubs are inside historic Queenslander buildings–some built in the 1800s. I definitely felt like I was in Australia!
Day 2: Rise and shine–it’s time to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef! Then treat yourself to craft beers on the pier at Hemingway’s Brewery.
We did a full day tour with Wavelength Reef Cruises that went from about 7:30 am-4:30 pm. When visiting one of The Natural Wonders of the World, you want enough time to take as much of it in as possible. I couldn’t have been happier with our day. There were several marine biologists on board to answer questions and share interesting facts (like how blue coral is stressed and not healthy-it should be khaki, brown, burgundy, or dark green). The lunch was delicious. We got an hour to snorkel at three different sites, seeing various reef and fish at each. Wavelength knew where to go and took us to spots no other boats went to, so we had it all to ourselves. Another thing I loved was they had a staff member taking photos throughout the day that could be purchased at the end, so I didn’t feel the need to dish out $300 to buy a GoPro before the trip–and I still got the underwater photos I wanted.
Day 3: After experiencing the GBR from the water, you have to see it from the sky! Then, end your holiday on a relaxing note and spend time at Four Mile Beach or in the pool.
We decided to cross something off our bucket lists and go on a scenic helicopter flight over the reef and the rainforest. GBR Helicopters took us out for an amazing hour over Mossman Gorge, the Daintree River, and the reef (even over the infamous reef where Steve Irwin was killed). It was such a special and unique way to spend the morning-we saw turtles and sharks and sting rays and dugongs galore. After touching down, we opted for lunch on Macrossan Street before returning to our hotel. We then proceeded to spend SIX HOURS in the pool, oh happy days. The Sheraton has about 5 acres of pool, including one with a swim up bar, so we stayed entertained and relaxed the whole time.
In my opinion, Port Douglas perfectly mixes slow-paced and adventurous holiday options. There was so much more we could have done, such as visit Mossman Gorge by foot and drive up to Cape Tribulation. Looks like we’ll have to go back 🙂
To see this all in action check out my Port Douglas vlog!