Australia’s leading tropical holiday destination is the seaside town of Port Douglas which is located just north of Cairns in Far North Queensland. Port Douglas was, for years a tiny tropical village which serviced the local agricultural industry until a man with a vision decided to put it on the tourism map. Christopher Skase came to Port Douglas in the eighties and recognised its fantastic tourism potential. The city had everything Skase needed to build his Mirage resort. There is a beautiful long beach, dense rainforest, a protected estuary and a quaint town centre that became a superb tourism hub.
Skase transformed the town. He built the Sheraton Mirage resort on the beachfront, complete with resort golf course. Skase purchased a palm oil plantation and transplanted the magnificent trees to line the main road into town on either side. Skase also built the marina and its accompanying shopping plaza and brought in tour operators to provide tourist access to the Great Barrier Reef which lies close offshore. Since that time dozens of four and five star resorts have been built to provide the best in local accommodation.
The village centre and its main street known as Macrossan Street, have developed into a trendy avenue of luxury resorts, boutique shopping arcades and great cafes and alfresco restaurants. Port Douglas really came of age and became recognised internationally as a premier resort destination when the incumbent president of the USA, Bill Clinton, brought his wife and family to Port Douglas for a week’s holiday.
Port Douglas is surrounded by internationally recognised tourist attractions. To its north is the pristine remains of the Daintree rainforest and the historically important town of Cooktown. To the east lies the coral ramparts of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and to the south is north Queensland tourism capital, the tropical city of Cairns. Cairns and Port Douglas are connected by one of the words most spectacular coastal drives. The road follows along the bays, beaches and headlands of this magnificent stretch of coast line and the views over the Coral Sea are amazing. Cairns has an international airport and regular transfers are available to Port Douglas.
Other tourist attractions in the Port Douglas region include the “Habitat “ rainforest display, the Hartley’s Creek crocodile farm, cruises on the Daintree River to see the wild crocodiles and day trips to the Low Isles and their surrounding reef systems. Close to the town of Mossman is the superb Mossman Gorge where a fast running mountain river flows through a rocky, rainforest lined, gorge and provides a fantastic place for a cooling swim and a barbecue on the river bank.
Port Douglas has countless tours that operate from the town and there are many activities and sports that the visitor can take part in. Diving on the Great Barrier Reef is one of the great attractions and there are dozens of options that include full training for those who are not qualified. The weather in Port Douglas is tropical and the wet season extends from early December through until April. The weather during the winter months is superb and Port Douglas is always full of holiday makers at this time of the year.