Port Douglas is located in Tropical North Queensland
, 70 kilometres north of Cairns and 1,780 kilometres north of Queensland's capital city, Brisbane. A regular shuttle service operates from Cairns airport, and there is also a daily catamaran service between Cairns and Port Douglas. Summer temperatures range between 19 and 36 degrees Celsius, while in winter the range is 11 to 29. The Greening season, December to April, offers high humidity with frequent rain showers, while in May to November the climate is dry, with clear skies and comfortable temperatures day and night.
Originally a gold, silver, tin and sugar town, Port Douglas' fortunes declined in the 1890s with the arrival of the railway reaching Mareeba 80 kilometres to the south. However, in the 1970s, the sleepy fishing port embraced tourism as its major industry. Thankfully it has not become as highly developed as Noosa Heads and Surfers Paradise, and with its lush tropical vegetation and low-rise architecture it has kept something of a small town feel.
Port Douglas is blessed not only by its tropical climate, but also by its proximity to nature at its finest. It is an ideal point from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef, and it is gateway to the Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation and Daintree National Park, which at its southerly end is about 30 kilometres by road from Port Douglas. There is a wide range of operators in town offering such activities as horse riding and reef, rainforest, 4WD and coach tours. Four Mile Beach is the place to swim and relax, while Macrossan Street has a good collection of cafes, restaurants and shops. Another collection of food and shopping outlets can be found at Marina Mirage, a 5 minute walk from the town centre. Other attractions worth seeing are the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ben Cropp Shipwreck Museum. The former is a multiple environment tourism award winner, where you can wander through rainforest, wetland, woodland and grassland habitats. The centre hosts a large variety of fauna, including wallabies, kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles, and birdlovers will not be disappointed by the sanctuary's collection.
Please note that care must be taken when choosing a place to swim in this region. At beaches between November and April marine stingers inhabit the waters close to the shore. Four Mile Beach is patrolled by the Surf Life Saving Association, and safe enclosures are provided in the danger period. Saltwater crocodiles are also to be found in some of the waterways in Tropical North Queensland, so take notice of any warning signs.
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