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AUSTRALIA

Holidays to Cairns and Port Douglas

Things to do

Kick back in Cairns and Port Douglas

A holiday to Cairns and Port Douglas takes you to tropical North Queensland, where the Great Barrier Reef meets the Daintree Rainforest. Even in a country as rich in natural phenomena as Australia, Cairns and Port Douglas take extraordinary to a whole new level. Not only is this the only places on Earth where two World Heritage Sites collide, this part of Australia is steeped in living Aboriginal culture. It’s also home to the largest Australian National Park island, as well as the immense Mossman Gorge. 

Cairns is known as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, but it doesn’t let the prestige go to its head. Much like its easy-going inhabitants, Cairns is warm, friendly and very much likes the great outdoors. So expect to find waterfront restaurants, pavement cafés, and plenty of sunny shopping streets and markets to browse. It’s easy to get about too. Stay at Pullman Cairns International and you’ll be within strolling distance from the long esplanade, and the town centre’s only a short walk away. 

Just an hour’s drive north of Cairns, Port Douglas is practically on the doorstep of Daintree Rainforest. If you want to talk like a local, call this pretty seaside town ‘Port’ and make yourself at home at Villa San Michelle in the town centre. Outstanding seafood, heritage pubs and oceanfront restaurants are Port Douglas’ signature. But the town also does a nice line in opulent day spa and cruises to the ethereal Low Isles. And your Port Douglas holiday will soon fill up with exciting day trips. You can go on an organised walk through the rich Daintree Rainforest, while the Great Barrier Reef is within easy reach thanks to regular boat trips, snorkelling expeditions and diving excursions. 

It’s warm all year round in this corner of North Queensland, too, so you can holiday in Cairns and Port Douglas anytime you like. Whenever you go, the friendly locals will always be delighted to see you. 

Beaches

Things to do

Days out

Best time to go

Beaches in Cairns and Port Douglas

North Queensland’s tropical climate is made for days on the beach and the stretch of coast between Cairns ans Port Douglas and beyond toward Cape Tribulation are dotted with some of the finest beaches in Queensland.

Cairns has no sunbathing or swimming beach but it makes up for this with a man made lagoon on the shore front. For swimming pretty Trinity Beach close to Cairns is known for its friendly local atmosphere, wide open views and good beach bars. Or, if you want to go truly tropical, head to Palm Cove. Just 30 minutes from Cairns, this shoreline is trimmed with stately palm trees and brushed by the beautiful Coral Sea.

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Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island regularly wins Australia’s Best Beach Award and it’s easy to see why. As well as having silvery sand and small crowds, it’s set on the Great Barrier Reef and backed by rainforest – what more could you want? 

In Port Douglas the remarkable Four Mile Beach is the town's pride and joy. A broad curve of gleaming sand sheltered by dense greenery, this is one of the loveliest beaches in the area.

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Things to do in Cairns and Port Douglas

Holidays in Cairns and Port Douglas are very outdoorsy. But there’s culture, history and heritage in the mix too. 

Cairns and Port Douglas are gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. Naturally, there are a raft of snorkelling, sailing and diving expeditions to choose from, and you can even fly or sky-dive. But if you crave a unique experience, Cairns also has day trips on mini-submarines and Scubadoo underwater scooters. Or you can suit-up, boot-up and take a Seawalker stroll right along the ocean floor.  

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Back on dry land, visit the Daintree Rainforest and search for Cassowaries, climb the Mossman Gorge and swim in rock pools. Once you’ve cruised down Daintree River and seen saltwater crocodiles, you’ll be in the perfect mood for a soothing few hours at a rainforest spa. After a busy day, don’t miss Dreamtime Walks with Aboriginal Kuku Yalanji guides, or after-dark wildlife-watching along the mid-canopy Aerial Walkways.

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Show Less

Days out in Cairns and Port Douglas

Cairns and Port Douglas holidays are almost as famous for their island-hopping experiences as their World Heritage Sites. Sail to Fitzroy Island in just 45 minutes from Cairns and spend a day walking rainforest trails and sea kayaking on the Great Barrier Reef. Or try Hinchinbrook – Australia’s largest National Park Island and the place for mangrove forests and flawless beaches. Then make for Port Douglas and sail to the Low Isles to discover two of the prettiest coral cays in the entire reef.  

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You can also catch the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway just outside Cairns and soar up to Karunda, a colourful mountain village known for its art markets and cute indie shops. Then mix up the transport and ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway back down to Cairns.

For culture of another sort, head to Daintree and learn about bush medicine and wildlife-tracking on a Walkabout Cultural Adventure with Aboriginal guides. 

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Show Less

Best time to go to Cairns and Port Douglas

North Queensland is tropical, so you can expect year-round warm weather in Cairns and Port Douglas. If you want a very dry holiday, it’s best to avoid summer. From December to February, it’s hot with average temperatures of 29°C, but there’s more rain than any other time of year.  

Between March and May, skies are clear and temperatures are around 25°C. There’s little rainfall in autumn, but it can get windy on the coast. Winter – from June to August – is the coolest season, but the average temperatures of 23°C mean you can still hit the beach. Humidity’s also lower, too, and there’s almost no rain, so it’s a popular time of year for a Cairns holiday. 

September to November is coral spawning season on the Great Barrier Reef so, despite a rise in humidity and some rain towards the end of spring, it’s a great time to visit Cairns and Port Douglas. 

Show More
Show Less

Beaches

Beaches in Cairns and Port Douglas

North Queensland’s tropical climate is made for days on the beach and the stretch of coast between Cairns ans Port Douglas and beyond toward Cape Tribulation are dotted with some of the finest beaches in Queensland.

Cairns has no sunbathing or swimming beach but it makes up for this with a man made lagoon on the shore front. For swimming pretty Trinity Beach close to Cairns is known for its friendly local atmosphere, wide open views and good beach bars. Or, if you want to go truly tropical, head to Palm Cove. Just 30 minutes from Cairns, this shoreline is trimmed with stately palm trees and brushed by the beautiful Coral Sea.

Show More
Show Less

Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island regularly wins Australia’s Best Beach Award and it’s easy to see why. As well as having silvery sand and small crowds, it’s set on the Great Barrier Reef and backed by rainforest – what more could you want? 

In Port Douglas the remarkable Four Mile Beach is the town's pride and joy. A broad curve of gleaming sand sheltered by dense greenery, this is one of the loveliest beaches in the area.

Show More
Show Less

Things to do

Things to do in Cairns and Port Douglas

Holidays in Cairns and Port Douglas are very outdoorsy. But there’s culture, history and heritage in the mix too. 

Cairns and Port Douglas are gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. Naturally, there are a raft of snorkelling, sailing and diving expeditions to choose from, and you can even fly or sky-dive. But if you crave a unique experience, Cairns also has day trips on mini-submarines and Scubadoo underwater scooters. Or you can suit-up, boot-up and take a Seawalker stroll right along the ocean floor.  

Show More
Show Less

Back on dry land, visit the Daintree Rainforest and search for Cassowaries, climb the Mossman Gorge and swim in rock pools. Once you’ve cruised down Daintree River and seen saltwater crocodiles, you’ll be in the perfect mood for a soothing few hours at a rainforest spa. After a busy day, don’t miss Dreamtime Walks with Aboriginal Kuku Yalanji guides, or after-dark wildlife-watching along the mid-canopy Aerial Walkways.

Show More
Show Less

Days out

Days out in Cairns and Port Douglas

Cairns and Port Douglas holidays are almost as famous for their island-hopping experiences as their World Heritage Sites. Sail to Fitzroy Island in just 45 minutes from Cairns and spend a day walking rainforest trails and sea kayaking on the Great Barrier Reef. Or try Hinchinbrook – Australia’s largest National Park Island and the place for mangrove forests and flawless beaches. Then make for Port Douglas and sail to the Low Isles to discover two of the prettiest coral cays in the entire reef.  

Show More
Show Less

You can also catch the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway just outside Cairns and soar up to Karunda, a colourful mountain village known for its art markets and cute indie shops. Then mix up the transport and ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway back down to Cairns.

For culture of another sort, head to Daintree and learn about bush medicine and wildlife-tracking on a Walkabout Cultural Adventure with Aboriginal guides. 

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to go to Cairns and Port Douglas

North Queensland is tropical, so you can expect year-round warm weather in Cairns and Port Douglas. If you want a very dry holiday, it’s best to avoid summer. From December to February, it’s hot with average temperatures of 29°C, but there’s more rain than any other time of year.  

Between March and May, skies are clear and temperatures are around 25°C. There’s little rainfall in autumn, but it can get windy on the coast. Winter – from June to August – is the coolest season, but the average temperatures of 23°C mean you can still hit the beach. Humidity’s also lower, too, and there’s almost no rain, so it’s a popular time of year for a Cairns holiday. 

September to November is coral spawning season on the Great Barrier Reef so, despite a rise in humidity and some rain towards the end of spring, it’s a great time to visit Cairns and Port Douglas. 

Show More
Show Less

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