Perfect way to spend a day in Port Douglas

From birdsong-filled sunrise to evening beach stroll, days are idyllic in the town where the rainforest meets the reef.

View over beautiful 4 Mile Beach from Flagstaff Hiil in Port Douglas Queensland, Australia
  • Paul Bugeja
  • June 2018


Rise early, care of your Tropical North Queensland alarm clock: a symphony of birdsong, sunshine and warm, soft air. Slip out of your hotel room and head out for a morning coffee – Sparrow Coffee Co if you’re after a takeaway (and a walk on the beach) or Four Mile Roasters, AKA Origin Espresso (on Warner Street) for the best java jolt in town.

TIP: Take a bag of house-roasted coffee beans from Origin Espresso roastery home with you.


With a coffee under your belt, head to The Little Larder opens in new window on Macrossan Street for breakfast. Get there early for an outside table and watch as the rest of the town slowly rises from its dreamy slumber. The Onesie (one egg, oven-roasted tomato, a slice of bacon and a single slice of toast) is the ideal light breakfast.

Coral reef community and fish, Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Enjoy a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas


For newbies to Port Douglas, a day out on the reef is a must. Sailaway, Calypso and Poseidon opens in new window are some of the top-rated cruise companies offering swimming, snorkelling and diving. If staying on land is more your thing, head to Four Mile Beach and claim your private patch of paradise (there’s plenty for all). If it’s a Sunday, don’t miss the market opens in new window near historic St Mary’s By The Sea chapel for fresh produce, great gifts and friendly locals.


Located opposite lush mangrove swamps, On the Inlet is a Port Douglas institution. Order a bucket of prawns, hang around all afternoon if you’re feeling lazy and at around 5pm you might get a glimpse of George the 250kg groper as the café’s staff try to entice him up from the depths. Or drop by Whileaway Bookshop & Café opens in new window where you can grab a coffee, a light bite and pick up some holiday reading.


If you haven’t already indulged in a day trip on the reef, a sunset cruise offers an opportunity to see the beauty of the coast as the sun goes down. Jump aboard the vibrant-red-sailed Shaolin opens in new window, a restored Chinese junk, and take in a magnificent TNQ sunset with a Champagne, beer or soft drink in one hand and a canapé in the other as you keep your eyes peeled for turtles and dolphins.


The heart of every country town is its pub, and The Court House opens in new window is the soul of Port Douglas. There’s nothing urban or gentrified about this grand old beauty – and it’s the perfect place to wind down after a relaxing day with a cold drink and a hearty meal. The seafood basket will make you swoon.

TIP: Monday night is parma night #ParmaHeaven; Wednesday night is fish ‘n’ chip night with battered barra.


Finish off the perfect day with a gelato from Shakes Gelati Bar opens in new window maybe the roasted coconut, salted caramel or mango sorbet – followed by a slow walk back to your room in the still warmth of the night.