My grandmother took me on a cruise on the Dawn Princess which is a cruise ship based out of Australia with mainly Australian passengers. The Dawn Princess goes around Australia and to various places in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Our cruise stopped at Port Douglas - it was a tender port which meant that the ship anchored or stopped outside the port and we went in to the port in a lifeboat or tender.
The ship was comfortable and had good food and it didn't cost all that much. We could hang our clothes up in the closets and not have to pack and unpack
It’s a competitive market carting tourists from Cairns airport the 65 kilometres to Port Douglas and I should say it is a very spectacular road. Touted to be one of the best ocean side drives in Australia it is all but deserted and if the same road was in Europe, there would be an almost unbroken line of towns and condominiums – perhaps that almost deserted drive is indicative of the vastness of Australia and the low population density.
I had been quite fortunate in hearing about a web site where membership is free, but there are savings to be had on a range of goods and services. Suggest signing up with Benefits Direct so you can take advantage of a 10% discount on transport to/from Cairns airport to Port Douglas.
We used ‘a seat in a coach’ with Exemplar 3 times and found they were very professional and, importantly, on time. Highly recommend and particularly when the price is $A30.60 per person per trip – a savings of around $5 on their competitors.
Note – photo has been taken from exemplar’s web site – unfortunately my camera decided to have a “bad hair day” the day I used their coach service.
If you are coming to Port Douglas with the purpose of getting out on the reef and enjoying what is on offer, then I would recommend taking a trip on the Quicksilver WavePiercer.
This vessel can handle 39 nautical miles per hour across the reef waters, and actually provided a very nice ride out to the outer reefs without too much jolt like the second trip we took.
This boat was about 45 metres long, and used four Detroit Diesel engines.
On board were also bar and foodstuff options, so you could keep fed on the 45 minute cruise to the outer reef.
If you're not travelling too far, i.e. your hotel to Macrossan St, then the best way to travel is by foot. Port Douglas is beautiful and clean and there's not much traffic so why not soak up the scenery with a walk.
If you're travelling a little further afield (the Rainforest Habitat for example) then you can catch mini buses from around various points in P.D. - the easiest place being Macrossan St. Our mini bus driver was a lady with a crazy laugh telling us about the crocodiles she spotted at the rocks one day!
Port Douglas is located in Far North Queensland, an hours drive north of Cairns. As this part of the country is a long drive from any of the major cities, most people arrive by plane. The airport at Cairns has been expanded recently and is now the 5th busiest airport in the country for international arrivals and the 6th busiest airport overall in Australia.
There are several domestic flights a day to Cairns from each of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with fewer from other centres such as Perth and Darwin. International flights arrive directly into Cairns from places like Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Papua New Guinea.
Once you arrive in Cairns, you can catch an airport shuttle bus up to Port Douglas. Or alternatively, as most people do, hire a car from the airport and drive up yourself. As you will really need one to explore this part of Queensland it may be easy to just hire one on arrival.
Port Douglas is located roughly 100km north of Cairns, which is most likely where you will fly into when visiting. Since it is this far away, you will most likely want to rent a vehicle unless you are thumbing a ride.
Sarah and I chose to rent a 4x4 under the advisement that sometimes in wet season places can be flooded. This turned out to be a good call when we headed up north from Port to Cape Tribulation on the dirt roads.
We chose to rent from Avis, as it also provided us with American Airlines points for dollars spent.
A great little bus that has regular stops outside most of the resorts at Port Douglas.It runs very regularly and you just pay $2.00 for the ride in to the main street. It works in reverse as well, so you can get home. If you drink too much, the driver seems to know where to let you off!! Very clever drivers in Far north Queensland!!!!!
Starting from the Airport. You can get the shuttle bus to Port Douglas. This is approx $27.00 one way. There is an option of hiring a car from there, Thrifty has an outlet at the airport and at Port. There could be a drop off fee, but if you have more than one person this could be an less expensive way to do it.
If it is dark when you arrive please drive carefully as the road can be dangerous if you don't stick to speed limits.
There is the option also of booking a taxi from Port. They will be there and it is approx $130.00 per car.
Ok if you have four or more people.
There is a local bus service around Port. This goes on a regular basis and is a good service.
Also most of the bigger resorts that are out a little out of the main area have shuttle service (free)
Then there are numerous Taxis that you can use.
There are around 4 hire car places. If you use Thrifty while there, they will not charge you a drop off fee at the airport, this may be a good way of getting back o the airport.
If you are there in the high season or school holidays you must book ahead as you may be out of luck.
Althogh it is possible to get around by public transport, due the large distances involved in Queensland, it is probably best to hire a car.
We hired ours from Europcar in Townsville and drove up to Cairns then on to Port Douglas
If you fly into Cairns and plan to stay in Port Douglas for any length of time, don't bother getting a rental car. You will save money by getting a shuttle transfer up to Port Douglas and then hire a car for day trips into the Daintree or up to Cape Tribulation. Everything in Pt Douglas is walking distance and the weather is amazing in the winter.
Cruise ships don't go all the way in to Port Douglas, so the passengers have to get there by tender. Some of the tenders are really the ship's life boats and some belong to the port.
SUN PALMS SHUTTLE
This is one of the most cost-effective way to get from the Cairns International Airport to Port Douglas, which is about 60 kilometres.
Easy door-to-door service.