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 Islands Information

Place: Port Douglas Australia

Port Douglas - Where The Rainforest Meets The Reef   by Miguel Scaccialupo


Port Douglas is just an hour's drive north from Cairns in Far North Queensland. A magical location where the lush emerald green of tropical rainforest merges into the balmy aquamarine waters of the Coral Sea, Port Douglas the only place on Earth where two outstanding World Heritage listed sites exist side by side: the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree and Cape Tribulation rainforests.

The ideal location for relaxing time out, Port Douglas is an easy-going tropical paradise with a small friendly village atmosphere and sophisticated creature comforts. The warm reef waters of the Coral Sea, the glorious palm fringed sands of Port Douglas Four Mile Beach, and the crystal clear creeks of Mossman Gorge are the place to refresh, restore and revitalise both body and mind. Seductive, balmy days slip seamlessly into tropical evenings under a canopy of clear starry skies. The sights, sounds and tastes of the tropical environment are a feast for the senses; the stunning array of nature and wildlife is awe-inspiring.

The Port Douglas region has become increasingly aware of the value and uniqueness of its natural environment over the past decade. As a result, ecotourism products which focus on the area's pristine World Heritage rainforests, marine environment and ecosystems are now a major component of the Port Douglas and Daintree tour industry. Ecotourism balances the requirements of tourism and conservation, and has been defined by Ecotourism Australia as "ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation".

Ecotourism in Port Douglas offers an authentic ecotourism experience. This includes interacting with the local population, learning meaningful information about the locations you visit, and leaving the lightest possible footprint on the environment as you depart. Port Douglas tour operators are firmly committed to sustainable tourism and are licensed and accredited to conduct operations in national parks and other sensitive protected areas. They have a high degree of local knowledge, employ local people, and support their local economy and community.

There are ample opportunities for outdoor activities in Port Douglas, ranging from walks and safaris through the breathtaking pristine Daintree and Cape Tribulation Rainforests, horse riding, river cruises and white water rafting to swimming, diving, snorkelling, fishing and sailing on the the reef and waterways. Tours are available across the Daintree to Cape Tribulation, and further afield to the Mareeba Wetlands, the Tropical Tablelands, Cairns and Kuranda. Other local attractions include various historical sites, weekend markets, world-class restaurants, nightlife, a fruit winery, indigenous cultural experiences, 4WD safari adventures, world class golf courses, spas, aerial tours by seaplane, helicopter & hot-air balloon, and outdoor cinema and theatre.

At 140 million years old, the Daintree National Park contains the oldest living rainforest on earth. The Park is divided into three main areas, Daintree, Cape Tribulation and Mossman Gorge. Daintree National Park lies between Mossman Gorge and the Daintree River, is known for its long stretch of lush tropical rainforest, and is home to unique bird life and crocodiles. Cape Tribulation is where tropical rainforest and coral reef meet in a scenic coastal setting north of the Daintree River. The area is home to glorious sandy beaches and mangroves environments abounding in wildlife viewing. Mossman Gorge is a steep-sided valley on the Mossman River containing lush tropical rainforest and crystal clear creeks. An excellent location for viewing birdlife and other wildlife. Guided walks visiting Aboriginal heritage sites are provided by members of the Kuku Yalanji Mossman Gorge Community.

About the Author

Miguel Scaccialupo writes regularly on Australian Outback Tour topics including Ayers Rock Tour itineraries and Alice Springs Accommodation options.