How to Spend 48 Hours in Port Douglas
Nestled away in Tropical North Queensland, showered in sunshine and neighboured between the ocean and the rainforest, is the town of Port Douglas. The area is known for being the only place on earth where two world heritage sites meet: the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. If that’s not enough to entice you, there’s so much more to Port Douglas – the word ‘paradise’ springs to mind. It’s the perfect spot for some rest and relaxation, yet by contrast it’s also an ideal base for an array of thrilling adventures. For a small town it has so much to offer, but if you’re short on time then see how this itinerary suits you to experience the best of Port Douglas in just 48 hours.
Begin your trip by flying into Cairns. Rent a car from the airport and set your compass to north for the one hour drive. As you twist and turn up the Captain Cook highway, try not to get distracted by the shimmering turquoise ocean to your right, or the tropical rainforest and mountains to your left. Make sure to pull over at Rex’s lookout so that you can safely take in the breathtaking view.
Lunch: Silky Oaks
If you arrive before 2pm, the chances are that you won’t be able to check in yet, but that’s ok. For lunch, drive to Silky Oaks lodge, where you can indulge in a high-quality, fine-dining meal in the Treehouse Restaurant, surrounded by the rainforest and overlooking the glistening Mossman River. Enjoy modern Australian cuisine made from fresh, locally-sourced seasonal produce, with a side of fantastic service.
Afternoon: Mossman Gorge
Venture through the town of Mossman to Mossman Gorge, located in the Daintree Rainforest. The crystal clear water rolls idly over large granite rocks, surrounded by lush rainforest and mountains. Unwind as you float in the refreshing water and gaze at the stunning, tropical view that surrounds you. Take the 400m river circuit loop walk, up to the Mossman River Lookout, and marvel at the exotic flora and fauna, such as strangler figs, the Ulysses butterfly and the endangered cassowary. But there’s more to the gorge than beautiful scenery and exotic wildlife – there’s a rich, cultural heritage story, which you can learn about during your visit.
Check Into Mandalay Luxury Apartments
By the time you make it back to Port Douglas, it will be late enough to check into Mandalay Luxury Apartments. A sanctuary in paradise, Mandalay an elegant, comfortable apartment to unwind in, surrounded by tropical gardens. There are two pools for you to enjoy, and the beautiful 4-mile beach is just a stone’s throw away, through a walkway lined with tropical plants.
Evening: Sailaway Sunset Cruise
Port Douglas is lucky enough to experience some gorgeous sunsets, and what better way to enjoy it than from a luxury boat with a glass of bubbles and some tasty canapés? From 5pm-6:30pm you will be treated to first-class service, and fantastic views of the reef and the rainforest as the sun goes down.
When you return to the harbour, watch the last of the sunset over the water from a prime viewing spot at Hemingway’s brewery, as you sip a cold local beer. If you fancy a bite to eat, order some of their tasty share plates.
7AM: Morning swim
Rise and shine! Sure, not everyone wants to be up at the crack of dawn when they’re on holiday, but it’s so worth it. Head down to four mile beach for an early morning swim over the crashing waves, and a leisurely stroll over the soft, white sand.
Breakfast at Lighthouse Cafe
Right by the beach you’ll find Lighthouse, open nice and early to serve you lovely coffees, fresh juices and delicious breakfasts. Fill up – you’ve got a big day ahead!
9:30AM: Board Wavedancer
Occupying a prime spot at the top of most Far North Queensland bucket lists is the Great Barrier Reef – an adventure not to be missed on even the shortest of visits. You’ll board the luxury catamaran at 9:30 and enjoy morning tea and coffee before you set sail for the picturesque and unspoilt low isles. Spend the day snorkelling from the beach, weaving your way past bright corals and tropical fish, relaxing on the island, spotting exotic sea life from a glass-bottom boat, and taking a guided heritage tour of the island. You’ll also enjoy a tropical buffet lunch aboard the boat. You’ll return to the marina at 4:30, leaving plenty of time to freshen up for the evening ahead.
An icon of Port Douglas for 21 years, and recently named the best contemporary restaurant in North Queensland, Salsa is the place to go for delicious food, tropical cocktails and friendly service. Their seasonal menu features fantastic dishes made from the best local produce, and enticing daily specials, whilst their cocktail menu has something for everyone with daily specials making the most of seasonal tropical fruit. Finish your meal by indulging in a decadent dessert tasting plate for a true taste of heaven.
Photo source: Salsa
Cocktails at Jimmy Rums
If you’re not quite ready for bed, enjoy a cocktail at Jimmy Rums Mixing Lounge. Relax on a luxurious, comfortable sofa as you browse the drinks menu featuring a wide variety of tried and tested classics alongside their latest innovative creations. You may be lucky enough to catch some live music from one of Port Douglas’ talented local musicians as you cheers to a holiday you’ll never forget.