Port Douglas, located about one hour's drive north of Cairns, was formerly a sleepy little fishing village on a quiet harbor and surrounded by lush rainforests.
In the 1980s the town was greatly redeveloped into an upmarket tropical tourist destination with the Sheraton Mirage Resort and the Radisson Royal Palms Resort being built there. These resorts which accommodate the visiting rich, fashionable and famous (U.S. President Bill Clinton stayed at the Mirage in 1996) are accompanied by the appropriately exclusive boutiques, outdoor restaurants, shopping malls, gold course, marina and heliport.
The town of Port Douglas (often referred to simply as the Port) is built around the main street, Macrossan Street. Some of the key attractions of the town include:
-- the whitewashed church, St Mary's by the Sea
-- Anzac Park, which hosts an outdoor market every Sunday morning
-- Ben Cropp's Shipwreck Museum
-- the Rainforest Habitat, an enclosed structure with an artificial rainforest environment along with many species of birds and butterflies.
Port Douglas' huge beach, 4 Mile Beach, is a place where many tourists spend a lot of their time. But in addition there are a number of offshore reefs (such as the Low Isles, Chinaman, Tongue, Opal and Agincourt Reefs) which are worth visiting (a whole range of day trips out to the various reefs are on offer).
Port Douglas is also a great place to enjoy diving and you can use your visit as an opportunity to undertake an open-water diving certificate course.
Whether you are a person with a lot to spend or are a budget backpacker, you will find that Port Douglas is a great place to spend some time before moving on to visit the Mossman Gorge, to inspect one of the sugar refineries in the Mossman district, or to go further: to the Daintree River, Cape Tribulation and Cooktown.