The history of Port Douglas is based around gold fever. The town was ounded in 1877 but the gold rush meant the population quickly escalated as people arrived from all over the country to try and find their fortunes. As the gold dwindled so did the population of the town and industry virtually disappeared.
The infrastructure was then largely destroyed by a cyclone in 1911 and there seemed little way back for the blighted Port Douglas. However, with its natural beauty and un spoilt beaches it was soon rediscovered and slowly but surely the town gained a reputation as a tourist destination. It is now popular with Australians as well as foreign visitors.
It is very likely that you will need a hire car in Port Douglas and a good idea is to pick up at Cairns airport and use it for your transfers. The search box below is an easy way to secure the best Port Douglas car rental deals.
The beaches around Port Douglas also offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving. There are also various walks and tours into the World Heritage listed rainforest. Port Douglas is probably best known for its pristine Four Mile Beach . The sand on the beach is particularly compact and this, combined with the length of the beach, means it has been used for horse and motorbike racing, as well as sunbathing!
There's not much you say about the Great Barrier Reef that hasn't been said many times before. This is a natural wonder of the world. The largest living organism structure on Earth. The reef is over 2,600km long, bigger than the Great Wall of China and easily visible from space. The Great Barrier Reef has been listed as a World Heritage site since 1981. It's Australia's most sought-after tourist attraction and draws millions of visitors every year.
The obvious drawcard of the Great Barrier Reef is the excellent snorkelling and scuba-diving. Beneath the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean lies a diversity of marine creatures matched by few other places on Earth.
Thirty species of whales, dolphins and porpoises are known to live in the Great Barrier Reef. Sharks, giant rays, turtles and an endless variety of spectacular tropical fish all share their home amongst the reef. It's a diver's dream come true, and if you haven't experienced scuba-diving there's no better place to give it a try.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most phenomenal natural attractions anywhere on this planet, and for Australians it's a cherished national treasure, a symbol of our nation's beauty.
We welcome visitors from all corners of the world who come here to experience the magic of the reef. Because you can't say you've done Australia until you've done the Great Barrier Reef.
Launch yourself into the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas, and make the most of the beauty of the world’s largest coral reef. Travel by high speed catamaran on one of the many Port Douglas tours to dive sites teeming with tropical fish, sea cucumbers and colourful corals. Snorkel or scuba among this living paradise, then enjoy a gourmet lunch on board. Cruise to a secluded coral cay in the middle of the ocean - complete with golden sandy beaches and swaying palm trees - where you can continue your diving adventures or take some time out in the sun. Enjoy a drink from the bar as you sit on the deck and cruise back to port.