Port Douglas

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Port Douglas for grey nomads
Port Douglas ... a stunning tropical paradise Photo by: Tourism Queensland

As grey nomads criss-cross their way across this mag­nificent country, just about everywhere has something of interest to offer … but there are a few destinations that just jump off the map the way Port Douglas does.

Just an hour or so north from Cairns along a spectacular coastal road, this Coral Sea paradise stretches along the gorgeous golden sands of Four Mile Beach. The spectacular setting, the relaxed village atmosphere, and the near-per­fect dry season climate make this a grey nomad mecca. The town’s permanent population of some 3,500 all but doubles as tourists flood in during the May–September peak season.

The marina, filled with bob­bing yachts, adds colour and interest to the fabulous natu­ral harbour. This is a lovely place to stroll, as is Macrossan Street with its mix of shops, galleries, and interesting buildings. The town was founded in 1877 and, while there are some historic struc­tures to enjoy, there might well have been a lot more if a cyclone hadn’t demolished all but two buildings in 1911.

Events-wise, grey nomads will enjoy the lively Sunday markets and the Port Doug­las Carnivale held at the end of May is a lot of fun, as are the Sunset in the Park Music Festival and Porttoberfest beer festival held later in the year,

Of course, Port Douglas is also a great place to venture off to have a look at the un­derwater paradise that is the Great Barrier Reef.

A second, World Heritage area, the Daintree is also within easy reach. Most peo­ple simply can’t resist a stop at Mossman Gorge to cool off at the freshwater swimming hole there. But it is the rainfor­est itself – believed to be the oldest in the world – that is the star attraction. Its unique habitat means it is home to plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet.

If this whets your appetite, the two-hectare Wildlife Habitat exhibit back near town is a great place to learn more. Visitors can wander along elevated boardwalks, observ­ing up close a huge range of flora and fauna as birds fly and roam freely.

Many artists and artisans have made their homes in this tropical paradise and there are some fascinating – and surprising – attractions to discover. For example, border­ing on the Daintree World Heritage National Park is the Hoglund Art Glass which boasts an amazing collection of hand-blown glassware. Incredible.

While visitors to Port Doug­las can certainly ‘expect’ to have a fabulous time in one of the most beautiful places on earth, they also quickly learn to ‘expect the unexpected’.

There’s a good reason not many grey nomads plan a short stay.

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