We came to Queensland to see the Great Barrier Reef, but in this area you also find white beaches, topical rainforest and prehistoric animals.
Stay: We had the most amazing night at Daintree Eco Lodge. You really feel like sleeping in the middle of the rainforest, the constant rushing of water, wind and rain are so calming and relaxing. Also the food which is prepared with many local ingredients is delicious. A very nice accommodation in Port Douglas are the Retro Apartments. They have a fun design and are well equipped. It takes about ten minutes to walk into town so it’s best to come with a car.
Do: We did the classic Great Barrier Reef tour with Quicksilver and enjoyed it very much. They offer all kinds of activities right on their own platform. The underwater world is breathtaking, you can glide through it with little submarines or get snorkeling equipment and swim along fish and corals, we also saw sea turtles and dolphins! The ship departs from Port Douglas which is a vibrant, friendly town with chic restaurants and little boutiques. Relax on Four Mile beach or go up to the Trinity Bay lookout overlooking palm trees and the blue sea. For a holiday feeling it certainly is a much nicer place to stay than Cairns. It’s about an hour drive from the city, which is mainly a junction for tourists and not really charming. The Centre of Contemporary Arts is worth a visit tough. Palm Cove is a pretty suburb of Cairns with giant palm trees, white beach and bright cafes. A great trip through the tropical landscape of Queensland is driving from Port Douglas to Mossman Gorge and further north into the Daintree national park. The small town Mossman is good for a quick stop and a coffee at Temptations cafe. In the Daintree rainforest you can stop at Mossman Gorge and hike through the wonderful nature along the river. The drive further north leads through an amazing landscape with dark green hills, palm trees and cane plantations. Or stop at one of the white, empty beaches like Newell beach just off the road. Furthermore, the region is famous for its salties, the crocodiles in the Daintree river. From Daintree village you can take short cruises on the river and most likely spot some of the wild animals. But the whole scenery around the water is beautiful too, you see rare plants, birds and mangroves. Afterwards make your way across the river on the Daintree ferry and drive along the stunning road through the rainforest up to Cape Tribulation. Stop at Alexandra lookout and enjoy the fern and palm framed view of the Daintree coast. The million years old rainforest truly is beautiful, you can learn more about it at the Daintree Discovery Centre or at Mason’s store. Here you also find the Swimming Hole which is a safe place to hop into the water for a swim. Unfortunately other creeks and beaches can be dangerous because of crocodiles and jellyfish. But there are also harmless animals, watch out for Cassowaries or tree kangaroos two very rare, prehistoric species.
Eat: At Zinc in Port Douglas they cook a modern cuisine in an elegant but also relaxed and welcoming setting. The barramundi is fresh and delicious and the desserts are great. The Mexican is a colorful restaurant with a great atmosphere. Also not to miss are the mouthwatering pies at Mocka’s Pies. In Cairns you find Caffiend on Grafton street, it’s a stylish cafe with a delicious lunch menu. The Julaymba Restaurant in the Daintree Ecolodge serves delicious combinations with local ingredients like barramundi or crocodile. On Cape Tribulation you have to stop at Daintree Ice Cream Company and taste the delicious, freshly made flavors. They use local fruits from the orchard around, like jackfruit, wattle seed or soursop.
Shop: The main street with nice shops in Port Douglas is Macrossan Street, here you find the nice bookshop and cafe Whileaway Books. All around the Daintree area you can find tee and coffee plantations and also buy it at many shops.
Getting around: There are shuttle buses from Cairns to Port Douglas but for exploring the hinterland it’s best to rent a car at the airport in Cairns, for example.