The morning greeted us with rain, but in Daintree National Park, it was not unexpected. As we stepped out of our trailer, we felt the fabric drenched with water like a sponge, a familiar feeling in this rainforest region. However, the warm temperature kept our spirits high, and we did not complain.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to travel far on this rainy day. Our next destination, Port Douglas, was only 65 km away from our current location at Lync Haven. Despite the damp start to the day, we were excited to explore what the coastal town had to offer, from its beautiful beaches to the vibrant local culture.
Port Douglas luxurious holiday town
Nestled in a tropical paradise, Port Douglas is a charming small town that has an impressive array of restaurants and luxurious hotels.
One of the main attractions of the area is Four Mile Beach, a stunning stretch of coastline perfect for any beach activity. However, visitors must be aware that saltwater crocodiles are known to roam the area, making it essential to exercise caution when swimming or enjoying water activities. Additionally, toxic jellyfish can pose a threat during summer months and may cause severe injuries if not treated promptly.
One of the highlights of Port Douglas is the Sunday Market, which takes place from 8 am to 2 pm. It’s a must-visit destination for foodies and art lovers alike. The market is a vibrant hub of local produce, freshly baked goods, and artisanal crafts. You can taste some of the finest fruits and delicious food that the region has to offer, while also picking up some locally crafted souvenirs to bring back home.
Apart from the Sunday Market, Port Douglas exudes a unique charm that never fails to captivate visitors. It’s a laid-back coastal town that offers plenty of opportunities to unwind and relax. The idyllic surroundings, complete with turquoise waters and pristine beaches, provide a perfect backdrop for a peaceful getaway. It’s no wonder that Port Douglas has become one of our favorite destinations for a rejuvenating break.
We were thrilled to arrive at Tropic Breeze Caravan Park, which was situated only 200 meters away from the picturesque 4 Mile Beach and a stone’s throw from the bustling town center. The location was ideal and exactly what we had hoped for.
To our surprise, as soon as we arrived, the weather took a turn for the better. The sun started to break through the clouds, and we were excited to explore Port Douglas and see what had changed since our last visit two years ago.
To our delight, we found that the town had retained its unique charm, and everything was just as we remembered it. The pace of life in Port Douglas seemed to move at a leisurely and relaxed pace, giving us the perfect opportunity to unwind and enjoy our surroundings.
As we strolled through the town, we couldn’t resist trying my favorite toasted coconut ice cream, and it was just as delicious as we remembered. It was like being transported back in time, and we were grateful to experience the same familiar sensations and tastes once again.
Four Mile Beach Sunset
As we watched the sun set over the mountains from the lookout at Four Mile Beach, we couldn’t help but be envious of the stunning mansions nestled on the surrounding hillsides. It was easy to imagine ourselves living there, soaking up the incredible views of the beach and the surrounding landscape.
Four Mile Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Australia, offering a vast expanse of golden sand and crystal-clear waters. During low tide, the beach is especially impressive, with its broad stretch of sand and clear blue ocean stretching out as far as the eye can see.
Although Four Mile Beach is not suitable for 4WD driving, it is a popular destination for those who enjoy a leisurely walk along the shore. You can see many people strolling along the beach, enjoying the fresh ocean air and taking in the spectacular views. And if you’re a dog lover, you’ll be happy to know that dogs are permitted on the beach, making it a great spot to enjoy some quality time with your furry friend.
Port Douglas holiday mood
Port Douglas is a holiday destination that has laid-back vibe. The tropical weather and stunning scenery make it easy to slip into vacation mode and forget about the stresses of everyday life.
The town is surrounded by lush rainforest and sits adjacent to the crystal-clear waters of the Coral Sea, providing a picturesque backdrop for a holiday filled with beach walks, outdoor adventures, and lazy days spent lounging by the pool.
Whether you’re sipping on a refreshing drink at a local bar or indulging in some retail therapy at the Sunday market, the holiday mood in Port Douglas is infectious, and you can’t help but feel relaxed and rejuvenated during your stay. As for us – we love it.
Mossman Gorge walks
On our second day in Port Douglas, we decided to explore the stunning Mossman Gorge.
As we drove towards the gorge, we could already sense the natural beauty that awaited us. However, finding a parking spot proved to be a bit of a challenge, as it seemed like many other tourists had the same idea.
Once we finally found a spot, we went on a series of Mossman Gorge walks that took us through some of the most breathtaking scenery we had ever seen. The Mossman River moved slowly through dense rainforest vegetation, with sharp gorge edges and round boulders adding to the dramatic landscape.
As we hiked deeper into the gorge, we were awed by the sheer size and scale of the towering trees and the vibrant hues of the tropical flowers. The sound of cascading waterfalls filled our ears, and we were discovered hidden swimming holes where we could take a refreshing dip in the cool waters.
We discover that swimming in the crystal-clear waters of the Mossman River is permitted. However, we also learned that doing so comes with some risks, as the water conditions can change unexpectedly. Nonetheless, we couldn’t resist taking a refreshing dip in the cool waters.
As we continued our Mossman Gorge walks, we came across several lookouts that offered breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Here, we were able to take a break from our hike and simply relax while soaking in the stunning scenery. The peaceful sounds of the flowing river and the gentle rustling of the trees added to the overall tranquility of the area.
Rainforest Circuit Track
As we continued on the Rainforest Circuit Track, we came across several species of exotic birds and plants that are unique to the Daintree Rainforest. The towering trees and lush greenery that surrounded us created a mystical atmosphere, making us feel like we were in a different world.
The sound of the rushing waterfalls and the chirping of the birds added to the serene ambiance of the rainforest. We took our time, enjoying every step of the way, taking in the natural beauty of our surroundings. As we reached the end of the trail, we felt a sense of achievement, having completed the Rainforest Circuit Track and experiencing the wonder of the Daintree Rainforest.
Marius, on the other hand, had a close encounter with a dark-colored snake that was sunbathing on the path. Luckily, when Marius backed away, the snake slithered away as well. We suspected it might have been a red-bellied black snake, but it moved too quickly to be certain.
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
The next day, we were excited to visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures and see these ancient reptiles in action.
Harley’s Crocodile Adventure is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Port Douglas.
The park was fascinating, with an array of different crocodile species, including some of the largest and most fearsome salties. We watched in awe as they snapped their powerful jaws, revealing their razor-sharp teeth, and we even had the chance to hold a baby crocodile.
Beyond the crocodiles, Harley’s Crocodile Adventure also features a range of other Australian wildlife, such as kangaroos, wallabies, and snakes. The park is beautifully landscaped, with lush tropical vegetation and winding pathways that lead visitors on a journey through the Australian rainforest.
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures spans over 10 hectares of land and is divided into four distinct zones:
- The Wetlands – where you can witness an array of bird species, ranging from jabirus and brolgas to egrets and herons, in their natural habitat. You can also get a closer look at the crocodiles as they bask in the sun on the banks of the lagoon.
- Crocodile Farm – In this zone, you can see crocodile hatchlings and learn about the crocodile farming industry. You can also watch the crocodiles being fed and get an understanding of their hunting techniques.
- Wildlife Discovery Trail – This trail takes you through the forest where you can observe various Australian wildlife such as cassowaries, koalas, kangaroos, and wallabies. You can also learn about the habitat and behavior of these animals from the informative displays along the trail.
- Adventure Trail – This zone is perfect for those who seek thrill and adventure. You can zip-line over crocodile enclosures and even hold a baby crocodile. You can also enjoy the beautiful views of the rainforest and surrounding mountains from the treetop tower.
At Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, we had a great time exploring the different zones and learning about the diverse wildlife.
It was fascinating to see how crocodiles are bred and raised, and we even got to witness a feeding session. Nell was thrilled to be able to feed and interact with kangaroos and wallabies, and we enjoyed watching the birds of prey in action during a live show.
One thing that stood out to us was how crocodile farming is a profitable industry. We learned that male crocodiles are preferred over females because they yield more skin, which can be sold for high prices. It was astonishing to hear that crocodile bags can cost up to $30,000 each.
Koalas own fans
We couldn’t help but be amused by the koala at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures who had his own private fan. It was clear that he knew how to take advantage of modern technology, positioning himself perfectly to ensure that his fur was properly ventilated. Watching him bask in the cool air made us realise how much these animals have adapted to their new habitat in captivity.
We returned to Port Douglas completely exhausted, feeling like we had walked for miles and miles. However, Nell was still full of energy, bouncing around like a little kangaroo. She even made a new friend at the caravan park, just a few trailers down from us, and they played together for a little while, giving us some much-needed time to rest.
We loved Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures and seeing the animals up close and personal, including the koala with his own private fan, which gave us a good laugh. Overall, it was a great day filled with adventure and learning.
Fishing in Four Mile Beach
The next morning, we headed out for a fishing. The high tide was in our favour, and the whole beach was almost completely submerged in water. We grabbed our fishing rods and began casting. I was getting bites and Marius was getting increasingly frustrated while I was ecstatic with each catch. Meanwhile, Nell was running around us, full of energy and excitement. It was a fun and memorable experience, and we couldn’t wait to try our luck again.
I hooked large snapper twice. Unfortunately, both times the line broke, leaving me empty-handed.
I still managed to catch smaller fish which I released back into the water. Determined to have a successful catch, we went to a nearby store and purchased a new line. Soon I will give it another go!
However, Marius didn’t give up and tried again the next evening. He even bought some fresh bait from a local fisherman. As the sun began to set, the water started to stir, and he finally felt a tug on his line. He reeled it in and to his surprise, he had caught a huge barramundi!
Excitedly, he brought it back to their accommodation where Nell was eagerly waiting to see the “big fish” that she had asked for. They prepared and cooked the fish for dinner, enjoying every bite of their well-earned meal.
On the way back from the beach, I stumbled upon a nice-sized fresh coconut lying on the ground. Excitedly, I picked it up and shook it, hoping to hear the satisfying sound of liquid sloshing inside. To my disappointment, after we opened it the juice seemed to have fermented, probably due to the coconut falling and becoming unsealed.
Strong sun in Port Douglas
In the evening, I noticed that I had gotten a bit sunburnt during our fishing trip. My hands were tanned up to the elbows and my whole face was red.
It was strange because there wasn’t much sun when we were fishing, and I had been wearing sunglasses all day. Now I looked like I had been sunbathing with goggles on.
UV rays can be reflected off of open water because of this you can get a sunburn in the shade.
Port Douglas Market
The next day, which happened to be a Sunday, we decided to check out the Port Douglas market. When you’re in northern Australia, visiting markets like this is a must-do activity.
The Sunday market is a vibrant and lively place to spend some time enjoying the tropical atmosphere and sampling exotic fruits or delicious food from various stalls.
The market is situated in Rex Smeal Park in Port Douglas, close to the pier and the quaint St Mary’s by The Sea church. It opens at 8 am and closes at 2 pm, so we made sure to get there early to make the most of it.
When we arrived, we bought some freshly squeezed pineapple juice and started wandering among the stalls. There was a diverse range of unique items available for purchase: art pieces, innovative crafts, tropical clothing, hats, and of course, an abundance of different exotic fruits and food stalls.
In the background, we could hear a local musician playing an instrument, adding to the already great atmosphere of the market.
We ended up buying some small souvenirs to keep our memories fresh, and then we headed back to the pier to take in the beautiful views once again.
Cyclone season preparation
The next day, we purchased a local newspaper and found a news article on the front page about the unfortunate incident where a dog was taken by a crocodile (as mentioned in the final part of our previous post).
A tourist was able to capture a photo of the crocodile dragging the poor dog ashore with the intention of eating it. It was a disturbing sight and left us with a feeling of unease.
I kept reading the local newspaper, and there was a huge article on preparation for the coming wet season and the possibility of cyclones.
Before cyclone checklist
In summary, in preparation for the incoming cyclone you should:
- Check and secure all items that may fly
- Fill rubbish bins with water
- Flood the garden furniture in the pool or put it inside
- Refuel the car
- Check the first aid kit
- Fill water canisters
- Inform the family which part of the home is the most durable and what to do in the event of a cyclone or evacuation.
- Check the batteries in the portable radio,
- Go to your neighbours and check if they are prepared for the incoming cyclone – older people may need some help.
- When the cyclone warning is issued: put on decent shoes (not thongs) – Australian love their thongs and wear them even in the most extreme conditions
- Turn off electricity and gas.
- If there is an evacuation outside the city, take basic things and pets with you
- If the evacuation takes place to a municipal shelter, you have to take mattresses with you and leave food and water to the animals.
What to do during the cyclone
If cyclone hits and you are in the house be mindful of the following:
- Hide in the basement, hall or bathroom
- If the house begins to crack (!) you can enter a bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress or stay under a solid table
- If the wind weakens, do not assume that the cyclone has already passed. You could be actually sitting in the middle of the cyclone eye that is a very calm place and there is no wind there. You may think the cyclone is over but you could be standing right in the cyclone eye that will move soon and strong wind and rain returns.
What to do after the cyclone
- Please wait for the official information to confirm that the cyclone has passed your area. Before you turn on the electricity or gas installation, check if it is not damaged.
- Don’t go to see the damage, but instead go to your neighbours first and ask if they need any help.
- Finally, don’t make unnecessary phone calls. Remember many people may be calling for help and you don’t want to block the line.
Gosh, you can get the goosebumps reading this, but for those who live up north, it’s just a part of their reality. Being prepared for anything is crucial in these areas, but at least they can enjoy good weather all year round, except during cyclone season.
From red dirt to tropical rainforest. Ten places anyone should add to their bucket list. Subscribe and receive ten colourful infographics.