In January 2020, before COVID19 put travel restrictions into place, we had the opportunity to take the family to Port Douglas, Queensland. It’s a brilliant holiday destination for the whole family and it’s definitely on our list of places we will travel to again.
Where is Port Douglas?
Port Douglas is a coastal town in far north Queensland, approximately 40kms (40 minute drive) north of Cairns. Situated close to the magnificent Four Mile Beach and the Daintree Rainforest, you are literally surrounded by some of the most breathtaking landscapes that Australia has to offer.
What are the accommodation options?
Port Douglas is home to a huge variety of accommodation options to suit just about any budget, ranging from AirBnB, hotels, resorts as well as the most luxurious homes available.
Because we travelled with a large group, we had the opportunity to stay in the magnificent Anjea. Anjea boasts 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms, that sleeps up to 10 guests. The large heated swimming pool was perfect for families, with a great little wading area for smaller children.
Had we not traveled in such a large group, there is no way we would have been able to budget for such amazing accommodation, but there are loads of other choices.
Where to eat in Port Douglas
We had 2 evening meals at Salsa Bar & Grill, both of which were outstanding. The staff were incredibly friendly and very welcoming and accepting of the children (even when my youngest smashed a glass within seconds of us being seated at our table). Like most restaurants in Port Douglas, Salsa can get very hot and stuffy due to the extreme humidity, however the large outdoor decking gives a great area to cool off and catch the evening breeze from the ocean.
Every day we were there, we had breakfast at Lure Restaurant. The views on the marina were stunning and the staff were incredibly accommodating with the children’s fussy requests. The service was always friendly, fast and the food was really yummy. Highly recommend Lure for meals, especially with children.
Of course there are countless more places to eat in Port Douglas, but these were the main two restaurants we ate at during our 4 day stay.
What are the attractions in Port Douglas?
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures
We took the short 25 minute drive to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, which was an absolute hit with the whole family. Hartley’s caters for the whole family and the little boat that takes you around the lagoon, gets you up close and personal with some of the park's crocodiles. Hartley’s is one of Australia's longest operating attractions, opening in 1934.
It was a real treat for the children to see the crocs not only on the river banks but also doing their famous feeding shows, which gets the croc up and out of the water, leaping into the air, to reach the food being dangled above their heads.
Helicopter rides over the Great Barrier Reef
GBR Helicopters do a wide range of helicopter tours over the Great Barrier Reef and we were lucky enough to do a short flight over the reef with the 3 children.
The helicopters have no air con or air flow like a plane, but once we were in the air, the breeze from the windows was enough to keep us all very comfortable throughout the flight. GBR offers packages ranging from a short flight all the way up to full luxury Reef tours, where the helicopter lands on one of the reefs and a designated snorkel instructor, takes you swimming to see the truly breathtaking reef, then a full luxurious lunch is provided, all on the reef. One of these experiences would be once in a lifetime and a magical memory to have.
We did a river tour with Lady Douglas River Tours, which was a fantastic way to see the mangroves and Dickson Inlet via river. The large boat caters for people of all ages, with a toilet on board. The 2 hour cruises are slow and calm with nibbles and drinks provided.
Unfortunately we didn't see any of the local crocs sitting on the banks, but it was a lovely way to sail down the river at sunset. Highly recommended for families as boarding the boat is via The Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, on Wharf St, a short walk from the main street of Port Douglas; Macrossan Street.
Cairns is only 1 hour from Port Douglas and is where the international and domestic airport is located. While in Cairns we took the children to Cairns Aquarium.
The Cairns Aquarium in a recently built attraction that is packed full of underwater delights for the whole family. Our visit was a short stay, just over an hour as we had a flight to catch, but the whole aquarium can be seen in 1 hour. However, if we had more time, there would certainly have been plenty more to explore.
A short walk along a boardwalk brings you to the most breathtaking natural swimming hole you could ever lay eyes on. The water is crystal clear and perfectly cool enough to bring your body temperature down while in the humidity of Port Douglas. The rock pool does have a current that makes it unsafe for children to swim by themselves, but why wouldn’t you want to jump into the crystal clear water with them? I have never seen or experienced anything as stunning as the Mossman rock pools and it’s an absolute must stop destination while in Port Douglas.
So overall, I fell in love with Port Douglas. It's a fantastic place to visit with family and there's plenty to see and do. Next time we head to Port Douglas, we'll definitely be there for more than 4 days! Tell me about your Port Douglas adventures, I'de love to hear what your favourite attraction was!
Love you all, Dee