Port Douglas, Australia
Another post from earlier this year… I realized I had this fully written in my drafts already, so I figured I might as well post it! It’ll be good for me to remember what I did here, and hopefully provide some useful info to anyone who is planning on visiting.
Next stop on the Australia trip, Port Douglas! As Port Douglas isn’t really a city with plenty of things to do, I’ll be structuring the format of this post a little differently than the Melbourne one! This post will be sectioned by day.
Port Douglas is a small, tropical town a couple hours’ drive north of Cairns in Queensland. We flew from Melbourne to Cairns Airport, and from there we had a shuttle bus that took us to where we were staying, the Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort & Spa. Port Douglas has a lot of these resorts, where the rooms include kitchens, and the resorts always have pools and dining options on their premises.
We didn’t do much on the first day, since we arrived in the afternoon, and it was getting pretty stormy due to cyclone season. We just ended up relaxing and unwinding on the balcony of our suite until dinnertime. Another group that we traveled with was going to the Port Douglas town center to get food, so we followed suit. Unless you’re in the town center, Port Douglas isn’t really walkable. It seems that the common mode of transportation is shuttle. The front desk called one for us, and it was around $10 AUD per person per trip.
We ate at Rattle N Hum, a pretty typical bar & grill. For food, we ordered a margherita pizza, jalapeño poppers, and the seafood rattler, which was a combination platter of various seafood dishes like calamari. The food was yummy, and so was the alcohol, which was also incredibly affordable compared to the states. I don’t remember the exact wine we got, but we got a whole bottom for less than $35 AUD.
Since it was a little inconvenient to get to the Port Douglas town center, we walked to the nearby supermarket after dinner to pick up some groceries for dinner the next couple of days. There was a liquor store next to the market, so we picked up some wine and beer as well.
First, breakfast! The breakfast at the resort was complimentary, and like most breakfasts that I ate in Australia, it consisted of the core foods eggs, baked beans, and mushrooms. After breakfast, we met up in the lobby for the day’s itinerary. Everyone was going to be spending the day by the Great Barrier Reef. The group I traveled with was going to split into two - scuba diving and snorkeling, and I went with the snorkeling group. The trip started off nice, since the sun was out, and we had a private charter boat. Unfortunately, by the time we got to Low Isles, the island that we were going to snorkel from, it was so stormy that we didn’t have any visibility of the reefs underwater. We ended up getting a tour of the Low Isles and learning a bit of its history before sailing back to Port Douglas. Dinner was some Shin Ramen that we picked up from the supermarket the day prior, and we spent the rest of the night relaxing and drinking beer and wine.
Day 3 was definitely my favorite day in Port Douglas.
We started off the day at the Wildlife Habitat. It was incredible - animals were pretty free to roam around. You’d walk past an emu like it was no big deal. There were wallabies and kangaroos everywhere! Some would even walk up to you, though I was pretty hesitant to get too close because of their extremely strong legs. We also were able to take pictures holding a koala! Apparently, koalas are only allowed out of their enclosure 30 minutes a day so as not to disturb their schedules too much, so there’s a limit to how many people can take pictures with them each day.
Next stop was the Daintree Rainforest. Our first location in the Daintree Rainforest was the Botanical Ark, a privately owned piece of the rainforest which actively practices conservation and promotes its diversity of plant life. The Botanical Ark was started by a couple, Alan and Susan Carle, 35 years ago, and it is incredible. They have various tropical plants from around the world, and Alan gave us a tour of the property and explained to us some of the real values of tropical forests. It was really inspiring to listen to! We also had a lunch featuring these tropical ingredients, cooked by Susan and some of the couple’s friends.
The last stop of the day, also in Daintree Rainforest, was the Jindalba Boardwalk. Our guide led us through the beautiful boardwalk and pointed out many animals and plants indigenous to the region as well as the area’s significance to the aboriginals there.
Dinner was room service, and we tried to go swimming in the large pool at the resort, but it was storming too hard outside. We were leaving before dawn the next day, so we went to sleep early.
I’ll have two more posts out for the next two spots on this trip, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Sydney, to close out this series before starting my Denmark series.