TNQ is a destination that delivers the best the natural world has to offer and deserves time to explore
The climate allows for year round enjoyment of the surrounding natural environment. From the warm winter sun with mild starry nights to the warmer tropical summers with balmy nights and often spectacular storms, TNQ is a stunning place to visit at any time of the year.
There are many world class attractions and venues, natural and man-made, that can take a lifetime to explore. So how do you spend a week or a month or more in paradise?
To help you with this planning we provide a comprehensive set of suggested itineraries and self-guided tours for our guests to explore the region. These range from 7 - 14 day itineraries and from 1-4 hour walking tours around Port Douglas to full day driving tours to the Daintree Rainforest, Atherton Tablelands and beyond. You will find these at The Villa Port Douglas on your arrival or we can email them to you once you’ve booked your stay.
However to get you started, below are a few suggestions for you to consider on your visit. There are many hundreds of different tours, venues and activities to do in TNQ so you certainly won’t run out of new things to do and new places to go.
Port Douglas is the jewel in the crown of TNQ. This five-star international destination is nestled between the dual World Heritage areas of the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tablelands and with many other world class attractions and venues within easy reach.
The Great Barrier Reef should be on the top of your "must do" list. There's no shortage of vessels ranging from small sailing boats to large, fast catamarans to take you there. You can swim, snorkel, dive, water ski and even experience the whales (in season). "Migaloo", an extremely rare white whale, often makes an appearance off Port Douglas in whale-watching season.
See our Helpful Links page for a selection of the available reef tours.
The Daintree Rainforest is also a must see and again is served by a large number of tourist venues and activities.
The easiest / closest venue to get to is Mossman Gorge for a close-up view of the rainforest and the often raging waters of the Mossman River. You can do this as a self-guided tour or go on an organised tour with the traditional owners, the Kuku Yalangi.
North of the Daintree River you can explore Cooper Creek, part of the oldest rainforest on earth.
While north of the Daintree River you can visit many fantastic eco-tourisism options in the rainforest itself. Experience living mangroves, the Daintree Discovery Centre, tropical fruit farms, even a tea plantation and an ice-cream factory.
You can see saltwater crocodiles close up in the wild (north of the Daintree River) or at the famous Hartley Creek Crocodile Farm (south of Port Douglas).
There is also much to do in and around Port Douglas.
Why not start by watching the sun rise over beautiful Four Mile Beach or take a long romantic "stroll" at dusk on this world famous beach.
A visit to the region is not complete without a visit to the multi-award winning Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary where you can have breakfast with the birds, lunch with the kangaroos or dinner with the koalas. You can also view dangerous saltwater crocodiles close up but in complete safety.
Take a helicopter ride for a bird's eye view of the Rainforest and the Reef. How about a hot air balloon ride at dawn over the ranges. An ultra-light flight along the beaches or maybe hang-gliding or bungy jumping is more your style.
Then there’s the Atherton Tablelands. You can't miss the fantastic Skyrail rising up from the coastal plains over the Great Dividing Range (about 1,000 metres / 3,000 feet high) and then skimming over the rainforest canopy to Kuranda. Return via the Kuranda Scenic Railway (or vice versa).
There are also many other historic villages, lakes, waterfalls, plantations, outback attractions and other tourist activities in the region spread over a very large area. This alone can take days or weeks to explore fully.
"Retail therapy”, did I hear you say? Spend some time in Port Douglas village or Marina Mirage village at the many boutiques and arts and crafts galleries. There's a bargain inside every door. And don't forget to visit the Port Douglas Market each Sunday. You can buy just about anything from the hundreds of artists, crafts people and growers who enjoy the day just as much as the visitors.
What about some fishing? Take your pick, beach, rock, estuary, reef, blue-water, you name it, we've got it. There are charter boats big and small to take you where the action is, or you can just find a quiet wharf, beach, river or rock to sit on and ponder while chasing a feed. And don't forget about the famous "mud crab", a real delicacy in Port Douglas.
Into sport ? A game of golf - there are 6 manicured courses within easy reach to test out that new driver or putter. Go-kart racing, white-water rafting, catch a local "footy" game (Aussie Rules or Rugby), para-sailing, horse riding, horse racing, cycling, and yes, even cane toad racing. The list is endless.
But above all else, Port Douglas is about dining. Have breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of the many world class restaurants or simply enjoy a casual "pub meal" watching the boats come and go. Fine dining in the rainforest or a snack and a beer (or a mango daiquiri) on the balcony of the Courthouse Hotel or the Combined Services Club, and everything in between. The cuisine is international, specialising in the best seafood in the world (yes we are biased but for good reason).
And when you thought you've done it all, the night clubs open their doors and rage to the wee small hours every night.
But of course you can always just sit, read, watch a good movie or game, sleep, stroll, drink (it's good drinking weather) or otherwise simply relax. There's nothing wrong with that and plenty do it. And with over 80% of the shire still in its natural state, there's plenty of room to do it in.
A popular saying around here is "We came for a week and stayed for a lifetime". So do yourself a favour and don't miss Tropical North Queensland on your next trip down under..