How Many Days Should I Spend in Port Douglas? A Local’s Guide to Maximising Your Visit

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If you’re planning a trip to Port Douglas, you might be wondering how many days you should spend in this beautiful tropical paradise. The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, including your budget, your itinerary, and your personal preferences. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key considerations to keep in mind when deciding how long to stay in Port Douglas.

One of the first things to consider when planning your Port Douglas itinerary is how you’ll be getting to and from the town. If you’re flying into Cairns Airport, you’ll need to factor in the time it takes to travel between Cairns and Port Douglas. This journey can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your mode of transport. If you’re short on time, you might want to spend fewer days in Port Douglas to make the most of your trip.

Another factor to consider is what you want to do while you’re in Port Douglas. If you’re planning to explore the town itself and soak up the laid-back tropical vibe, you might only need a few days to see the sights and relax on the beach. However, if you’re keen to explore the surrounding region and take part in activities like snorkeling, diving, or hiking, you’ll need to factor in more time. Ultimately, the length of your stay in Port Douglas will depend on your priorities and preferences.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider your travel time when deciding how many days to spend in Port Douglas.
  • The length of your stay will depend on your itinerary and what you want to do in the area.
  • Take your budget and personal preferences into account when planning your trip.

Getting to and from Port Douglas from Cairns Airport

If you’re travelling to Port Douglas, Cairns Airport is the closest airport to the town. The airport is located about 67 km south of Port Douglas, and there are several ways to get to and from the airport.

Shuttle Bus

One of the most popular ways to get from Cairns Airport to Port Douglas is by shuttle bus Transfer. Port Douglas Airport Shuttle operates a direct, no stops, door to door bus transfer from Cairns Airport direct to Port Douglas accommodation. The shuttle bus service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The journey takes around 60-90 minutes depending on the number of stops and the traffic.

Hire a Car

If you prefer to have more flexibility and independence, you can hire a car from Cairns Airport and drive to Port Douglas. There are several car rental companies located at the airport, and the journey to Port Douglas takes around 60-90 minutes depending on the traffic. Keep in mind that you’ll need an international driving license if you’re not from Australia.


Taxis are also available at Cairns Airport, and you can take a taxi to Port Douglas. The journey takes around 60-90 minutes depending on the traffic, and the cost is around AUD 200-250.

Public Transport

There is also a public bus service from Cairns to Port Douglas, but it’s not a direct service, and it can take up to three hours to get to Port Douglas. The bus service is not recommended if you’re in a hurry or have a lot of luggage.

In conclusion, there are several ways to get to and from Port Douglas from Cairns Airport. The most popular option is by shuttle bus, but you can also hire a car, take a taxi or use public transport. Choose the option that suits your budget and travel preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some recommended day trips from Port Douglas?

There are several great day trips from Port Douglas that you can take to explore the surrounding areas. Some of the popular options include:

  • Daintree Rainforest: Take a guided tour of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
  • Great Barrier Reef: Explore the stunning underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef by taking a snorkeling or diving trip.
  • Mossman Gorge: Take a walk through the breathtaking Mossman Gorge and learn about the indigenous culture and history of the area.

What are some unusual things to do in Port Douglas?

If you’re looking for something different to do in Port Douglas, here are a few suggestions:

  • Visit the Wildlife Habitat: Get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most iconic animals, including kangaroos, koalas, and crocodiles.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride: Soar above the stunning landscape of Port Douglas at sunrise on a hot air balloon ride.
  • Visit the Sunday markets: Browse the stalls at the weekly Sunday markets and pick up some unique souvenirs and locally made crafts.

Is it better to stay in Port Douglas or Cairns?

Both Port Douglas and Cairns have their own unique charm, so it really depends on what you’re looking for. Port Douglas is a quieter, more relaxed destination with a focus on luxury and nature, while Cairns is a bustling city with more nightlife and a wider range of accommodation options. If you’re looking for a more laid-back holiday, Port Douglas might be the better option for you, but if you want to be in the heart of the action, Cairns might be a better fit.

What is a good 5-day itinerary for Port Douglas?

If you have five days to spend in Port Douglas, here’s a suggested itinerary:

  • Day 1: Explore the town of Port Douglas and relax on Four Mile Beach
  • Day 2: Take a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Day 3: Visit the Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge
  • Day 4: Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise and visit the Wildlife Habitat
  • Day 5: Spend the day at Cape Tribulation and enjoy the stunning scenery

How should I spend 3 days in Port Douglas?

If you only have three days in Port Douglas, here’s what we recommend:

  • Day 1: Take a snorkeling or diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef
  • Day 2: Visit the Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge
  • Day 3: Relax on Four Mile Beach and explore the town of Port Douglas

How many days do I need to fully experience Port Douglas?

To fully experience all that Port Douglas has to offer, we recommend spending at least five days in the area. This will give you enough time to explore the town, take day trips to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, and enjoy some of the other activities and attractions in the area.

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