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Port Douglas: A tourist Phoenix
Port Douglas has had a chequered life. It had its name changed several times, and it saw booms and busts many times. It rose as a township when gold was struck, but its run under the sun was short. In 1960 the town had reached its nadir when it was no more than a fishing village with a population of 100! But then gold of a different variety was struck, and the sun became the greatest attraction. It was only in the last 20 years that Port Douglas discovered it had something few places had – a weather that recalled the Grecian summer, a blue ocean that recalled Sicily, a rainforest that recalled Costa Rica, and an infrastructure that recalled Toronto.
Situated in Tropical Far North Queensland, Port Douglas is well connected by land, water and air. A modern harbor attracts yachts, sailboats and bigger ships with a healthy frequency. It is just over an hour’s drive from Cairns through the breathtaking coastal road that hugs the ocean throughout, giving spectacular glimpses of pristine forests and beaches, a patterned reef showing a thousands shades from maroon to aquamarine, undulating hills and a beautiful meandering road. Few other drives are as pleasurable as the one that takes you through two World Heritage Sites. With a pleasant tropical climate where the temperatures remain within the comfortable zone throughout, you can afford to pack lightly. Port Douglas might be a small town with a few thousand population (there are always more tourists than residents), but its geography ensures that you are witness to the bevy of nature’s creations – from the most enchanting to the most exciting, from the most enjoyable to the most philosophical. And there are dozens of places you can see or things you can do. Situated nearby is the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, a tropical jungle with probably the largest species count among all places on earth. At 135 million years, it is one of the oldest rainforest in the world.
Mossman gorge, cut by the Mossman River which flows through the Daintree, is one of the most popular tourist haunts, and is very famous for its various trails that take you near and through the ageless forest and fauna. It is home to many rare species of birds, and bird-watchers take keen delight in locating the various bird calls. The Daintree River, home to crocodiles and other predators, offers enchanting and thrilling river rides through dark waters that are placid at one place and bustling at another. Cape Tribulation is another nearby hotspot popular with tourists, having many celebrated trails. Some of these trails take you to the summits of hills like Mt. Sorrow that gives a wonderful lookout into the blue Pacific. Well furnished with bathrooms and even barbeques, many of these trails provide opportunities for picnics. Here you get close to the indigenous population and get an enchanting entrance to the ageless rainforest.
Port Douglas is a marvelous launching pad to a world of adventure. Port Douglas is ideally situated for tours to Cairns city, the SkyRail Rainforest Cable, the Kuranda Scenic Railway and village, the Mareeba wetlands, the Tjapukai Aboriginal Park, or if you fancy to look East, to the wonderful experiences of the Reef or the nearby islands. There are plenty of adventure activities in store for the enthusiastic, including white water rafting, kayaking, snorkeling, bungee jumping, river and reef fishing, or trekking. Situated within wine country Port Douglas has its own eclectic collection of wine. There are aerial tours on seaplanes, hot-air balloons or helicopters. And the shopaholic can find many hours excitement in the well-stocked shopping malls and Sunday markets. Of course, Port Douglas is also famous for its cuisine and restaurants. In short, a trip to Port Douglas is a hectic one, with romance and adventure mixed with the tropical holiday spirit.
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