Port Douglas, Australia

melissa carne and sam gill snorkelling in the great barrier reef in australia

Port Douglas, Australia

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog. This week it is all about our time in Port Douglas, Australia. Port Douglas is in Queensland located an hour away from Cairns. You may have heard of the area because it is famous for the Great Barrier Reef. 

We decided to stay in Port Douglas rather than Cairns as our friends who had done more or less the same trip a year and a half ago recommended that it was better and less touristy. Also one of the advantages of staying Port Douglas rather than Cairns is that it is slightly closer to the reef.

While in Port Douglas we stayed in a Aparthotel once again called Port Douglas Retreat which was lovely. The receptionist were very helpful in booking our trips. From their recommendations we went on two reef trips. One to the outer reef and one to the inner reef as they both have different things to offer. We also visited Hartley’s crocodile adventures and took a trip out to the Daintree Rainforest, all of which were great. So this is how our schedule looked:

Day 1 – Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure

Now Hartley’s is something I knew we had to do as my parents had visited here 20 odd years ago and it didn’t disappoint. We got to see salt water and fresh water crocs up close, koala’s, kangaroo’s and cassowary’s.

crocodile jumping out of the water at hartleys adventure park in port douglas in australia
man taking film on gopro in the great barrier reef in australia
sea turtle in the great barrier reef in australia
coral at the great barrier reef in australia
clown fish in a sea anemone at the great barrier reef in australia
koala in tree at hartleys adventure park in australia

The crocodile’s were extraordinary and fearsome to watch. Did you know their bite is more powerful than any other animal on earth, even a great white shark!? Not to mention the many horror stories we were told of people being eaten…

Day 2 – Exploring Port Douglas

The weather the second day wasn’t the best so we decided to explore the little town we were staying in. Port Douglas itself is mostly a tourist location with many hotels, restaurants, trips and an amazing four mile beach. On this day we had a walk around the headland and a walk on the amazing beach.

Day 3 – Daintree Rainforest

We booked a trip with Daintree Discovery Tours. We had a full day exploring Mossman Gorge,  the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation beach. The only place in the world where the rainforest meets the reef and finished off the day with a swim in the creek (no crocs of course!) Followed by a crocodile river cruise. This trip was fantastic as you get to see and do a lot in a day. Sam and I debated about staying a few days in Cape Tribulation but, actually I think the way we did it (staying in Port Douglas and taking a trip out) more than sufficed. Especially if you weren’t going to rent a car.


low island at the great barrier reef in australia
bat fish reflection in the great barrier reef in australia
ray in the great barrier reef in australia
coral at the great barrier reef in australia
man snorkelling in the great barrier reef in australia

Day 4 – Port Douglas Market

Every Sunday Port Douglas has a cute street market where you can pick up some really interesting gifts and lovely food. If you’re around on a Sunday I would highly recommend checking it out and making it a rest day for in between your trips.

Day 5 – Outer Reef

The weather improved dramatically towards the end our stay (which of course the weather in a rainforest can be unpredictable) to coincide with our reef trip. We used the company Wavelength as they were recommend by the hotel. The company takes out a slightly smaller group of people than most, although I would say it was still around 60 people. Wavelength also only did snorkelling which was good for us as that’s all we wanted to do and therefore, you don’t waste time on divers if it is a mixed trip which a lot tends to be. It took us an hour and half to get out to the reef and we had 3 one hour sessions in the water. The reef was absolutely incredible, I have never done snorkelling quite like it. We had marine biologists on board which gave us lots of information and could answer any questions we had, we also had lunch included.

Day 6 – Inner Reef

Day 5 consisted of a trip to the inner reef otherwise known as the low isles. We did the trip with Sailaway, which use a luxury catamaran. On this snorkelling trip we got to see the amazing island which looks like

melissa carne on beach with palm tree at daintree rainforest in cape tribulation in australia
view of daintree rainforest in cape tribulation in australia

paradise, baby reef sharks and we even spotted a turtle! We picked this trip again because it was a small group (around 30) and it was purely focused on snorkelling. The boat ride out the isles was about an hour long. However, the sea was very calm and the boat was lovely which made it a very enjoyable ride.

Day 7 – Four Mile Beach

Finally on day 6 we just relaxed on the beach and by the pool because snorkelling really does take it out of you! The weather was lovely and the sea was so warm but, just a caution do not go swimming in the sea on a non lifeguarded beach! There’s crocs, sharks, jellyfish etc you don’t want to end up being a horror story… That night we also went to see the one and only cane toad racing which was hilarious! Basically you could put your bets on which toad you thought would be the quickest. The commentator really made it, you can listen to the video above! No toads were harmed in race, in fact the commentator worked at Hartley’s.

summary and Other posts

So that’s it for Port Douglas, it was definitely a highlight of our trip with many once in a lifetime experiences. Again if you have any questions about our travels please DM me on social media. 

If you haven’t checked it out already you can click the Instagram story opposite to see a quick round up of Port Douglas. I also currently have a blog post up all about Sydney which you can read by clicking here. Come back again next Sunday for a post about Melbourne.

Lots of love, Melissa x

Videography – Sam Gill


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