Port Douglas is a coastal town, built on what used to be ocean floor. Much of the township runs along Four Mile Beach - as you drive into Port Douglas from the highway, the road runs parallel to the shoreline, about 200m on the right.
The highest point in Port Douglas (and a primo lookout spot) is Flagstaff Hill, at the very end of the main road. You will definitely want to head up to the viewpoint at the top for an amazing view of Four Mile Beach, and the surrounding area.
Inland from Port Douglas is the Macalister Ranges which form the eastern edge of the Atherton Tablelands. One of the highest nearby peaks is Black Mountain, at 1053m. There are many great walking trails throughout the Mowbray and Kuranda Forest National Parks.
Port Douglas is a tropical destination and as such doesn't have the full four seasons. Rather, the year is broken into two main weather patterns - the wet season and the dry season.
The wet season runs from November to April, and is the hot, humid time of year with thunderstorms and sometimes cyclones. You can expect some very high temperatures in Port Douglas, with some of the hottest days reaching the high 30s, almost 40 degrees. Luckily, the town is right on the coastline and the ocean breeze keeps Port Douglas cooler than some of the inland towns.
Dry season creeps in around May, and is spectacular. With long stretches of cloudless days, amazing sunrises and starry nights. The temperature in Port Douglas can fall below 10 degrees celsius in the peak of the dry. The best time to visit Port Douglas is mid June to late August, when the dry season is in full swing and you can be treated to amazing clear views of Four Mile Beach.
If you're heading to Port Douglas, chances are you'll be coming from Cairns. Port Douglas is roughly a 45 minute drive from Cairns City, along some amazing coastal sections of the Captain Cook Highway. That particular stretch of road is widely considered one of the greatest drives in Australia.
There is no airport in Port Douglas. The nearest airport is the Cairns International Airport, which is roughly a 45 minute drive from Port Douglas.
While there are rail tracks throughout the region, these are used almost exclusively by the local sugar industry to transport harvested cane to refineries and sugar mills in Mossman. There is no passenger rail between Cairns and Port Douglas, although the Bally Hooley railway still operates as a sightseeing rail tour for the Port Douglas township, and is worth a ride when you visit.
Bus Cairns to Port Douglas
Many hotels in Port Douglas will offer free transfers from Cairns International Airport so check with your accommodation if they have this service before you go searching for bus tickets.
There are many private shuttle services offering transport between Cairns and Port Douglas. Cheap bus tickets from Cairns to Port Douglas will usually cost around $40. Here are some companies that can get you to Port Douglas:
Con-X-ion Charters provides frequent transfers between Cairns and Port Douglas. You can quite easily book on their website. The pick up from anywhere in Cairns and provide a great shuttle.
BTS Port Douglaswww.portdouglasbus.com.au
BTS offers frequent door-to-door shuttle services between Cairns and Port Douglas. Their one way adult ticket is only $39, possibly the cheapest from Cairns.
Port Douglas is relatively flat, and is quite small and scenic, so people-powered locomotion is most definitely the recommended mode of transport. Let's start with renting a bike in Port Douglas.
Bike Shop and Hire Port Douglaswww.bikeshopandhire.com
A large range of bikes, good prices and good gear. You can find Bike Shop and Hire on the downhill side of Coles, in the center of town behind Seabean Cafe. They also offer bike tours to some secret spots in the region so make sure to ask about those if you're interested in seeing the hidden parts of Port Douglas.
Bike n Hikewww.bikenhiketours.com.au
High quality well maintained bikes with all-day prices, and plenty of gear provided. Bike N Hike also offer some great guided tours of the region.