There’s a saying that goes: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Well, here in Australia during the winter months, you can do as the Australians do and head all the way up Queensland to Port Douglas, the tropical getaway town that many southerners seem to love when it gets too cold at home. It’s also a great place to begin adventures to the low isles and to nearby sites like the very rugged and unspoilt Cape Tribulation and the crocodile-and-cattle-loving Daintree Village. Spend the day at Four Mile Beach and swim inside the stinger-free swimming enclosure. Then head back into town and eat in one of the many dining locations that feature alfresco seating, taking advantage of Port Douglas’ warm nights. There are tours to the many destinations; fishing, sailing and reef trips; and feel free to head into the rainforest for an interactive look at some of Australia’s best-known wildlife. The fun never stops at Port Douglas, so come on up the east coast and see it for yourself!
Cape Tribulation makes up part of the Daintree National Park, one of Australia’s newer protected areas, with an amazing amount of controversial history. The park was added to the World Heritage list in 1988 after years of use by the Queensland timber industry, and the state government is now in the process of buying back private property located inside the park. Cape Tribulation is a particularly beautiful and isolated part of the park, accessible only by cable ferry from Daintree Village or by 4WD from nearby Cooktown.
When visiting this amazing part of the world, remember that it is still an area that is constantly under attack from human intervention. Conservationists are busy all the time removing invasive species, and trying to control the human traffic in and out. You really want to leave behind only footprints, so there are a couple things to remember. First, make sure that the tour you’re going on has eco-certification; all tours that do are going to make sure they leave as little evidence that they were there as humanly possible. Second, walk only on the designated trails and drive slowly to avoid contact with the wildlife. Finally, and most importantly, remember to take any and all rubbish with you when you leave. These three things definitely go a long way in making sure that the National Park remains for many years to come.
There are a multitude of tours heading into Cape Tribulation to see all the sights and splendours of this fantastic landscape, often combining them with white-water rafting or kayaking to give the tour an even bigger amount of excitement.
As with many parts of upper Queensland, this is a great spot from which you can head out to the many reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Hop on a reef cruise from Port Douglas Harbour or spend some time snorkelling off of the nearby Low Isles.
To search for reef dives, select “Reef Cruise” as the style of tour you want, after selecting “Port Douglas” as the destination in the “Activities” widget to the left.
Sure, you can go ahead and stay in Cairns if you want, but why would you want to miss out on staying in Port Douglas if you’re planning on spending more than a day there? There’s a nice amount of accommodations available right in the centre of the town, and if you’re going to do a tour of Cape Tribulation it’s easier to leave from this town than anywhere else on the coast.
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