Port Douglas: Get There & Stay Where?

Updated: October 2021

OVERVIEW

Port Douglas is easy to get to via Cairns airport and a 1hr transfer.

Hotels are a plenty in Port Douglas - tourism is the lifeblood of the town - with everything from luxury resorts down to youth hostels. Out of town, you can find some unique and incredible accommodation nestled amongst the rainforest.

Take a look below for all the different ways you can get to Port Douglas and some information on the best locations to look for a hotel and the different types of accommodation available.

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How To Get To Port Douglas

 

Flights To Port Douglas

 

The closest major airport to Port Douglas is Cairns airport, located around 1 hour drive south, which has direct routes to most major cities in Australia.

 

Major domestic Airlines flying into Cairns include Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar. There are also several smaller airlines flying to regional areas.

Note: The following is an indication of flights at the time of writing. Due to snap border restrictions, this information may be incorrect. Similarly, if restrictions are eased, expect the number of flights to increase.

From Sydney

Currently Virgin fly direct once per day, Qantas twice and Jetstar 3 times per day. 3hr flight time.

Virgin are flying 3 times per day, Qantas once and Jetstar 4 times.

3hr20min flight time.

From Brisbane

Both Virgin and Qantas fly up to 5 times each per day and Jetstar 3 times. 2hr20min flight time.

From Gold Coast

Jetstar have one direct flight per day. 2hr25min flight time.

From Adelaide

One direct flight per day is currently running with Jetstar. Qantas and Virgin usually have routes too. 3hr flight time.

From Perth

Jetstar have a single direct flight per day. Both Virgin and Qantas would normally fly too. 4hr10min flight time.

From Darwin

Airnorth and Jetstar have direct flights. 2hr25min flight time.

From Canberra

Qantas may have flights. 3hr flight time.

From Hobart

Unfortunately there are no direct flights from Hobart. Try flying via Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane for the most flight time options.

From Regional Towns

Flights are often scheduled from the following regional centres through Rex, Skytrans, Alliance and Airnorth: -

Newcastle, Sunshine Coast and Toowomba, plus far north queenland and NT regional areas - Bamaga, Cloncurry, Edward river, Gove, Groote Eyelandt, Horn Island, Kowanyarna, Lockhart River, Mackay, Moranbah, Mount Isa, Normanton, Townsville and Weipa.

Ready to check Flight rates and availability?

Virgin Australia are up there with Qantas in terms of quality of service and they have an extensive number of routes across Australia. Click the image to see what options they have for you to experience an exemplary start to your trip.

If you want to check up on Jetstar, it is best to book through their site directly at jetstar.com as this gives you the best price and full availability. Just remember that checked luggage costs extra.

For flights with Qantas, try looking at auntbetty.com which is operated by Flight Centre. It's an easy to use flight search website that gives you the true price (unlike others, that show dodgy prices) and back-up support from your local Flight Centre store.

Travel Unpacked is supported financially by affiliate links. This means that, should you click on a link to a hotel or airline website, for example, we receive a small commission. The price that you pay is not affected by this. Find out more about this on our About page.

"These links are recommended because I use them myself. They are easy to use sites, offer excellent service, and are sites that I would suggest to my friends and family if they asked."

Christopher Jubb, Travel Unpacked Founder

Getting from the Airport to the city

Port Douglas is 1hr drive north from Cairns airport via the incredible Great Reef Drive - a winding coastal road with plenty of beaches, lookout points to stop at and Palm Cove, a popular tourist town you may want to drop in to. There are no public transport options.

Shuttle bus operators are the easiest and most sustainable option and take you directly from the airport to Port Douglas and to your accommodation. There are a dozen or more operators and you can expect to pay upwards of $40 per adult each way. Private transfers are also available.

All the major car hire companies are located at Cairns airport, so if there are a few of you and you plan to use the car to take some day trips out of Port Douglas, this can be a good option, which also allows you to make some stops on the Great Ocean Drive along the way.

Sustainability Tip

Avoid flying at all costs and take the train or a coach instead. If there is more than one of you, driving is lower in carbon emissions too.

If you have no choice but to fly, at least offset your carbon emissions.

Read our 'How to travel sustainably' guide for more tips and information.

Train travel, Australia
 

Train travel, Australia © Josh Nezon

Train

You can avoid flying and take the train to Cairns from Brisbane which in turn can be accessed from the other major Australian mainland cities. The journey will be a long one though - several days in fact.

From Brisbane

The Spirit of Queensland train travels overnight five times per week and takes around 24hr to get from Brisbane to Cairns, where you can then transfer to a shuttle bus to make the final journey to Port Douglas. Fares are from $390. More info here.

From Far North Queensland

If you are in Townsville or Rockhampton, the train is a good option using the same service as the one from Brisbane.

For information on train travel throughout Australia, try Seat61.

Coach

 

Regular coach services run up the Queensland coast to Cairns. On the journey from Brisbane to Cairns they make a lot of stops, so it can take up to 30 hours to get there. More info on Premier Motor Service here. Tickets are $220+.

Greyhound have a hop on hop off system that allows you to travel across the East coast via coach, so you can reach Cairns from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, the Gold Coast and Brisbane. More info here.

Drive

 

From Brisbane

It is around 1750km from Brisbane to Port Douglas with a driving time of over 20hours, so it would be around 3 full days of driving. Of course there are some great places to stop at along the way, including the Whitsunday's.

Port Douglas marina

Port Douglas marina © Travel Unpacked

Cruise Ship

 

There are a number of cruise ships that make it to Port Douglas. Usually these are either coastal Australian trips with Port Douglas as it's most northerly point, Reef trips or longer tours that are going to/from the northern Australian coast or to Asia.

Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Princess, P+O and Royal Caribbean all have cruises scheduled to visit. The cruise ship tenders dock at the marina, so it's just a 5min walk to Macrossan street, where most of the shops and restaurants are located.

 

Departure points for cruises that visit Port Douglas include Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

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Where To Stay In Port Douglas

Hotels In Port Douglas

 

In Port Douglas you can find some fantastic options. There are large resorts with massive lagoon swimming pools and lots of amenities, smaller and quieter hotels, adult only resorts, self catering options and some very unique hotels outside of town in the rainforest.

Location is an important decision to make as the town is long and thin, so you need to decide if you want somewhere that is within walking distance to the town centre or accept that you will use the shuttle bus (see getting around). Having said that, the town is not that big, so you can still walk if you don't mind it being a slightly long one. This is made easier by the fact that Four Mile beach stretches the entire length of the town.

Ready to check Hotel rates and availability?

Booking.com is one of the most popular hotel booking websites, they have a wide range of accommodation types and they often have free cancellation, so you can always book and lock in your room with the option to cancel it later. Click the image to see what amazing hotel you could be staying at soon.

We also like Hotels.com who offer an excellent user friendly website, good service, and a good loyalty program where you get a free night for every 10 nights you book through them.

Travel Unpacked is supported financially by affiliate links. This means that, should you click on a link to a hotel or airline website, for example, we receive a small commission. The price that you pay is not affected by this. Find out more about this on our About page.

"These links are recommended because I use them myself. They are easy to use sites, offer excellent service, and are sites that I would suggest to my friends and family if they asked."

Christopher Jubb, Travel Unpacked Founder

Air BnB

 

There are some options on Air BnB, so it's worth checking what they have available, although expect a bit of overlap with the hotel booking websites with some of the apartments listed.

Backpackers

 

Port Douglas is pretty popular with Backpackers. There are three hostels to choose from, all within easy walking distance of the town centre.

  • Global Backpackers is right on Macrossan street. More info here.
     

  • Port Douglas Backpackers is close to town too. More info here.

  • Port Douglas YHA/Coral Lodge is around 1km walk from town. More info here.

Camping

 

There are three campsites in Port Douglas with more in the surrounding area.

Tropic Breeze Caravan Park is right next to the town centre and close to the beach. More info here.

Pandanus Tourist Park is only a 1km walk from the town centre and, as with any place within town, is also close to the beach. More info here.

The Big 4 Port Douglas caravan park is outside of town and you need to drive to get anywhere but the facilities are better. More info here.

Further north there are a couple of caravan parks right on the beach at Newell and Pinnacle.

Cape Tribulation has a camping ground in a stunning location, right on the beach. More info here.

 

There are also some rainforest based campsites and national park camping at Noah Beach. More info here.

Need the detailed information? Go to the third page of our guide for all the 'Essential info' like getting around, food, shopping, and much more.

Or go back to page 1 to discover all the 'Things to do'.

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AUTHORED BY

Christopher Jubb, Founder of Travel Unpacked

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