Port Douglas


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Nestled in the north of Australia, in the vast state of Queensland, Port Douglas is a sun-drenched pocket of tropical paradise. This seaside resort, only an hour away from Cairns – via the divine Route 44 which stretches along the coast – is situated by the Great Barrier Reef and the deep, dense Daintree Rainforest, and is synonymous with the wonders of nature and enchanting marine adventures.

Port Douglas is an elegant gem: with no more than 1,000 inhabitants, quiet streets, buildings that are neither too old, too new or too tall to make the most of the green and blue horizon. This former fishing town has been transformed into a Zen holiday destination dedicated to promoting a relaxing lifestyle. Fanning out from Macrossan Street, right in the heart of town, there are restaurants, bars, cafés, trendy boutiques, bookshops and art galleries, led by Des Spencer Art and the Australian and Oceanic Art Gallery. Chic, but not too flashy, it’s all about nuances… and relaxation: on Sundays, it’s worth exploring Rex Smeal Park, Wharf Street, and the famous Sunday Markets where you can snap up some, perhaps rather surprising, local products. Culture might also give you a surprise or two, but it’s always accessible: in the small Port Douglas Court Museum, the town’s history is explained, from its foundation to its destruction by a cyclone, in 1911, right through to the present day.

Port Douglas offers pure, unadulterated escapism: even its white houses seem to sink into the naturally gorgeous, untouched landscape. But adventure is never far away: Macrossan Street leads straight on to Four Mile Beach, an idyllic stretch of pure white sand lined with palm trees. A bit further away, towards the Daintree River and its crocodiles, is the Daintree National Park, a cross between an impenetrable jungle and a Garden of Eden, like Mossman Gorge and its pure waters, which you can explore in the company of an Aboriginal guide. Then further north, there are the dazzling immaculate beaches of Cape Tribulation…

Here, nature can be enjoyed in all its splendor on foot, frequently in a 4X4, or even in a helicopter or a seaplane. Viewed from above, the Great Barrier Reef is truly breathtaking. But you can only really appreciate the beauty of Agincourt Reef and Opal Reef in your scuba diving gear. There are regular boats departing from Reef Marina in Port Douglas and they know exactly where to go. Running is another popular way of getting about… well, there’s the Great Barrier Reef Marathon (in November 2016) at least, stretching along the coast. This same coastline also provides the backdrop for the Port Douglas Festival, in the spring, as well as the Sunset Music Festival, which is generally held in October. But the Cairns Festival, at the end of August, is a great excuse to visit this appealingly discreet, almost secret, seaside resort, which lets its hair down one day a year on the 26th January for Australia Day.
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